Surrey’s One Percent

A bit of news from Surrey, the Surrey Board of Trade did a survey and like all board of Trade survey’s, it point ts to widening roads, but the following caught my eye.

The survey also found that more people were driving their own vehicle to get to work in 2023 compared to the year prior, with more than 84 per cent driving compared to 79 per cent.

From those surveyed, just over one per cent used transit and one per cent walked to work. More than 11 per cent of respondents worked from home.

Just over one percent surveyed used transit!

Surrey, soon to become metro Vancouver’s largest city sees only about one percent of the population use transit is one hell of an indictment of Ministry of Transportation, TransLink, regional transit planning and the city of Surrey!

If the above thinks that a $5 billion to $7 billion (remember all those add-ons that the Premier, TransLink and the Mayor’s council on Transit refuse to come clean with the public), 16 km Expo Line extension is going to solve the problem, I have shares in Boeing Airlines to sell them.

My observation is this, if the Premier, Ministry of Transportation, TransLink, and the Mayor’s Council on Transit really want to improve transit use in the city of Surrey, they must design a user-friendly public transit system and refrain from planning for very expansive, very grandiose rapid transit lines, strictly for photo-op value at election time.

For the cost of the 16 km Expo line Extension, we could build instead the full Chilliwack to Marpole Rail for the Valley line (under $2 billion), a new multi track rail bridge across the Fraser, replacing the current decrepit rail bridge (under $2 billion) and at least 20 km of a new tram/LRT network in Surrey ($1 billion).

1 Surrey

New survey highlights Surrey choke points, suggests improvements for commuters

Getting around Metro Vancouver isn’t always easy but a new report is highlighting the pain that commuters in Surrey go through daily.

The Surrey Board of Trade (SBoT) is out with its latest Surrey Roads Survey which highlights some of the problem areas.

The SBoT’s survey found widening 132 Street between 72 and 96 avenues, widening 88 Avenue between 156 and 176 streets, and blowing up the 152 Street overpass over Highway 99, are those at the top of the list.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​It also suggests widening 88 Avenue between the city’s Fleetwood and Cloverdale neighbourhoods.CityNews traffic anchor Ryan Lidemark says it’s a no-brainer, as it’s a major east-west-connector for commuters in the region.

“It’s a good shortcut,” he explained. “At 88 Avenue you go through a bunch of farmland. The problem is that when you’re on 88 and you’re going through Fleetwood, once you get east of 156 [Street] it goes down to one lane each way.”

The survey also found that more people were driving their own vehicle to get to work in 2023 compared to the year prior, with more than 84 per cent driving compared to 79 per cent.

From those surveyed, just over one per cent used transit and one per cent walked to work. More than 11 per cent of respondents worked from home.

“We noted that the majority of respondents spend between 15-45 minutes in traffic during their average commute one-way,” the SBoT explained.

However, it wasn’t just vehicular transport the board of trade looked into. They also looked at active transportation, however found that Surrey residents don’t usually feel safe enough to use it as their main transportation.

“Surrey is spread out geographically, and the ability for commuters to use bicycling as a transportation option is not efficient to get to and from work. More respondents were willing to bicycle to work if given safe infrastructure,” the board of trade continued.

The survey respondents also showed support for more rapid transit and curbside pullouts for buses.


2 Responses to “Surrey’s One Percent”
  1. The survey by the Surrey Board of Trade, that suggests adding lanes to reduce congestion fails to take into account the principle of ‘Induced Traffic.’ It should also underscore another point: government spending on road upgrades should be combined with neighborhood revitalization.

    For example, Hastings Street in Burnaby (between Gilmora & Gamma), a regional arterial, bundles six traffic lanes are together without a break. Two tree medians would work wonders to break down the ‘river of asphalt’ into something that pedestrians can cross in safety. Surrey needs to learn from Burnaby’s blunders.

    The principle of ‘Induced traffic’ has been well quantified: Traffic patterns change to absorb all new lane construction. Thus, ‘more lanes’ work to release congestion for a while, until the driving patterns adjust, and congestion is back. Think ‘gridlock’ in the LA Freeways and the NYC Avenues. Building new lanes is not the answer. The key lies in understanding

    —(1) that we need road space for cars, and
    —(2) that one line of NewLRT carries the equivalent passenger load of 35 highway lanes, occupying the place of just 1½ lanes.

    That math can End the Housing Crisis.

    As NewLRT puts more land within reach of the jobs core, the new product puts downward pressure on prices. However, the Crisis has been going on for so long, that more robust interventions may be needed to guarantee the affordability of houses on the NLRT corridors.

    SBoT must become aware that real solutions await one rung up the urban planning ladder. We are ‘Short in Supply’, during a ‘High Demand Era’: folks are looking for livable streets, walkable neighborhoods and guaranteed affordable houses.

    The Towers-and-Skytrian are not providing that.

    This is ‘good urbanism’ in a nut shell—rather than building ‘Tower sprawl’ on corridor plans, we should be building tramtowns, and intensifying neighborhoods, with human scale products.

    What we are after here is:

    1. Understand the causal relationship between Skytrain and the Crisis;
    2. Discover how NewLRT increases the ‘Supply of Land;’ and
    3. Finally Ending the Housing Crisis.


    Skytrain is a ‘People Mover,’ not a ‘Regional Transit Technology.’ Thus, as a direct consequence of a restricted footprint of operation—hemmed in by astronomical costs—the Skytrain effectively restricts the ‘Supply of Land’ during an era of ‘High Demand.’ There is only one place for house prices to go. It doesn’t really matter how much ‘product’ is built. The prices are artificially inflated by buildout at hyper-density, and the Housing Crisis is triggered.

    Since 1986, when the Skytrain was first introduced, the cost of housing in the Lower Mainland has just kept going up and up. If Skytrain-and-Towers was going to lower housing costs, it should have happened by now. Instead, it has become Chrystal clear that the opposite is true. With every subsequent Skytrain extension—Skybridge, Millennium, Canada, Evergreen—house prices kept climbing. What can we expect after the Broadway Tunnel and an SLS extension are built? More of the same. According to Albert Einstein:

    ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results.’

    In economics, Demand follows Supply like night follows day. It is widely reported that the increase in housing costs are ‘all in the land.’ In other words, it is the price of land that keeps going up. Not the cost of construction. Thus, in order to End the Housing Crisis, we have to add land, not towers.

    Clearly, Skytrain is the wrong technology for this job.

    —1.1 Skytrain is a People Mover. After 50 years of planning and construction, it only serves 9% of the Lower Mainland and has 0% chance of reaching the neighboring regions of Squamish-Whistler and the Fraser Valley. That is where there is land in abundance. Where we can sustainably meet and exceed the demand for housing. Let’s just recap that the principles of sustainability were also supposed to extend into the economic sector. A Housing Crisis was NOT supposed to be in the cards. Yet, here we are. And where are the regional planners?

    —1.2 The regional plans were written on the basis of ‘Building Up Instead of Out.’ This was a solution destined to produce a Housing Crisis. Now the very existence of the middle class is under threat of misguided attempts at regional planning.

    —1.3. Last November Victoria put the Cherry on Top by passing the ‘Skytrain-and-Towers’ Act.

    —1.4. Now, we can all agree that the Towers are not affordable. Furthermore, Towers do not provide good housing. And they are even worse performance in the area of sustaining high levels of social functioning.

    Yet, in January 2024, the City of Vancouver approved tiny, 3-bedroom apartments, measuring just 800 SF, with no balconies, and the kitchen, dining room and living room, all combined into one room, to be built as family housing at 2015 Main Street.

    All of this, of course, is taking place in Canada, the largest democracy in the world by land mass. We have not run out of land in Greater Vancouver, but we have run out of imagination. The Regional Plans are having no measurable effect other than bringing misery into the lives of the people it was purportedly designed to serve.

    Meanwhile, government policy will is aimed at extracting revenues from Towers, to ‘Pay for Growth with Growth,’ in a race to the bottom no neighborhood can win.


    NewLRT can go where the Skytrain cannot take us. The Skytrain is limited by high costs, and low passenger capacity. Whereas NewLRT can access land in sufficient quantity to meet or exceed demand, thereby Ending the Housing Crisis.

    2.1 REACH
    — Skytrain serves just 9% of Metro Vancouver.
    — NewLRT can serve a 200 km corridor. A North Shore to Chilliwack service, approximately 140 km long.

    The difference of reach between the two services is gobsmacking. Why have transit engineers not figured this out?

    2.2 COST
    The costs of building the Skytrain limit its range of service. The restricted footprint of service is compounded by the fact there are only 6 highway lanes connecting to neighboring regions: 2-lanes connect to Squamish-Whistler; 2 to Chilliwack; 2 to Mission. The Fraser Highway’s 2 lanes end in Abbotsford.

    —6 Lane Highway
    • $48 million/km ($8 million/km—for one lane)

    • $550 million/km—Broadway tunnel
    • $250 million/km—Surrey-Langley extension (viaducts)

    • $550 million/km—tunnel
    • $45.7 million /km—on grade (per ION line, opened 2019)

    2.3 PASSENGER CAPACITY (pphpd)
    The Skytrain’s low passenger capacity, and high costs of construction, combine with the lack of highway lanes, to restrict access to land, limiting the land supply, and triggering the Housing Crisis.

    • 44,000 — four-car train set, Bombardier Flexity
    • 11,000 — one-car train set, Edmonton Valley Line*
    • 10,040 — one-car train set, Kitchener-Waterloo Line*
    * Today, 3-car limit imposed on these systems by the power supply.

    • 22,400 — Upgraded Expo line (Practical: 18,000 on 109 sec. headways)
    • 7,500 — Broadway tunnel
    • 6,750 — SLS (estimated to rise to 7,560 by 2050)
    • 5,000 — Millennium Line
    • 6,680 — Canada Line

    • 3,780—three single occupancy lanes (in one direction).
    • 2,200—Broadway B-Line


    —3.1 Replacing NewLRT for the Surrey-Langley Skytrain extension:
    • 87.5 km x $45.7 million = $4 billion [NewLRT]
    • 16 km x $250 million = $4 billion [SLS]

    —3.2 Replacing NewLRT for the UBC tunnel extension:
    • 96.3 km x $45.7 million = $4.4 billion [NewLRT]
    • 8 km Tunnel x $550 million =$4.4 billion [UBC Tunnel]

    [3.3 Replacing NewLRT for the Broadway tunnel… would have achieved:]
    • 6 km x $550 million = $3.3 billion [NewLRT tunnel to North Shore]
    • 5 km Tunnel x $550 million =$2.75 billion [Broadway Tunnel]

    —3.4 For the same cost as Langley & UBC Skytrain extensions:
    • 6 km Burrard tunnel (Lonsdale Quay to Grandville Island); • 111.5 km NewLRT;
    • 16 km Pratt-Livingston Corridor upgraded as terms of lease.

    —3.5 NewLRT service:
    • 6 km Burrard tunnel (Lonsdale Quay to G. Island) • 117 km North Shore to Chilliwack
    • 10.5 km UBC|Science World (additional 1.5 km required)

    For the same cost of building the UBC and SLS extensions, we can build a Regional Transit System along the extant interurban line from the North Shore to Chilliwack. An additional $70 million is needed to complete a 12 km line between UBC-Science|World.

    The practical outcome of all of these calculations is that we will End the Housing Crisis by providing over 158 new kilometers of fast and (cost) efficient transit, rather than attempt to stretch a People Mover technology beyond its operational limits.

    Enough land will be accessed by NLRT to meet or exceed all demand. Every door along the interurban corridor will be not more than a 2 hour commute from Downtown.

  2. legoman0320 says:

    1.0 SkyTrain is a crosstown transit service for the lower mainland. The housing crisis is caused by municipalities and zoning restrictions. Vancouver has a unique case where approve and built condo apartment buildings were dominant for middle to upper class. Leaving the first time home buyer out of the market.

    1.1. Not People mover. Classified and built to a metro standard like London.

    1.2 Lower mainland is geographically constrained by mountains and water.
    The only thing left is to go up. Vancouver, at least put in a green space requirement for towers.

    1.4 Modern skyscraper caters to multiple different classes and different equity in the same building. Anxiety with Include spaces or Fear of heights Are exacerbated if they live in a tower. And there’s a difference between a fat tower and a skinny tower on how many people you get to know on floor? Smaller square footages need to be properly planned at. Cote for them to be efficient and comfortable for living.

    For the cost of building the tower and the profit it makes. It has extra money to spare for social benefits.

    2.0 LRT Has it some advantages with having a passenger quality feel for local trips. Province, obesity had to step in remove single family zoning around transit hub. Temporary Band-Aid To the housing crisis. Hopefully the menace apologies can realize they need to resound or up soon. A lot of the city to make it affordable for the first time homebuyer and the learner mainland.

    2.1 EXPO line covers in Northwest to Southeast route. M line West to East. Canada line covers North to South.
    Most of the important directions people want to travel across the Lower mainland.

    2.2 sea to sky highway is 2 lane highway Extra third lane for passing in subsections.
    Highway 1 and 7 have 4 lengths.

    And then there’s the current project of extending the HOV lanes to Chilliwack.

    Road skytrain and LRT have a different operating cost associated once the project finished. Each one of these have a trade-off and benefit respectable applications.

    Operate capacity can change on the fly to meet influxes of demand on any given line.
    With the current upgrades and new trains, the ultimate capacity for now 25,000 pphpd Passenger per 3 square meter. Sky train operates the most frequent services in North America with the lowest cost of operations for a metro service.

    LRT More frequent, the LRT gets more expensive it is to operate. The highest ultimate capacity for an LRT The O Train
    21,500 pphpd People per 6 square meter.

    More crammed and uncomfortable on an LRT trained for long distances compared to the sky train.

    BRT is Fill the gap between the skytrain and regular bus services.

    3.0 Inurban between Surrey and Chilliwack
    Is covered route in between the Lower mainland and Fraser Valley. Missing key destinations like downtown Surrey and Mission. An estimated 90 minutes end-to-end quicker to drive than wait for a train that comes every 20 minutes.

    Bus Route being string going to UBC. SkyTrain will bring the fastest connection UBC and Lower Mainland. LRT at capacity in 40 years.

    Canada line is Underi P3 contract. Until the contract is over, the Short-term plan. Is this slowly had more trains Until 2040. Canada line ultimate capacity 15,000 pphpd Passengers per 6 square meter.

    SkyTrain hasn’t Hit, it’s theoretical capacity yet. Multiple things to end the housing crisis like increasing the amount of people who can build buildings to house people. Digitizing the building permits and approvals New construction. Municipalities to upzone or reason their city for this new group.

    Federal government incentivizing below market Units for rent or ownership.

    There are things that I have not added or forgotten. but we can talk about it some more if we would like?
    Lewis Villegas

    Zwei replies: you haven’t a clue what you are talking about and therefore must work for TransLink. There is no such thing as “London metro Standard” because if you read anything about London’s Underground, you will find it a mixture of Overground, Underground and Tube, in fact the small Tube train can and does operate on regular railway lines.

    Pure nonsense I am afraid.

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