IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 22nd July, 2014
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts admitted a major weakness of at-grade rail technology in a recent radio interview with CKNW News Talk 980 radio.
“With an LRT system the problems may be different, you would have a driver, and you would be at grade, however if there is an accident there would be some challenges as well,” Watts said in an interview with CKNW that followed a SkyTrain disruption incident caused by human error.
Proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines in Surrey could suffer from a worse service disruption record than the SkyTrain has in recent service meltdowns – made especially vulnerable by on-street running.
Unlike bus services, LRT services do not easily divert: ANY disruptions – trains or no trains involved – that block the track can require lengthy line closures, shuttle buses and severe inconvenience. Daryl Dela Cruz – Lead campaigner for Better Surrey Rapid Transit – pointed out in a recent “Rapid Transit Vision” report that the proposed at-grade rail system in Surrey passes through some of the most dangerous, accident-prone intersections in Metro Vancouver – and that this poses a significant risk to project benefits, business case and ridership.
“88th Avenue and King George Blvd. saw 180 crashes in 2013. Every one of those could disrupt a 4km stretch of the proposed Surrey LRT system, on a fairly regular basis,” says Daryl. “If it’s really bad, the track is blocked and it takes hours to investigate and clear the intersection, then the LRT line has to remain closed for that entire time.”
Other intersections such as King George & 72nd, King George & 104th and 104th & 152nd also experience several accidents yearly. Multiple accidents at once would paralyze transit in Surrey.
Daryl is the lead campaigner for a group pushing for an alternate, more practical vision for Surrey Rapid Transit involving investments in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and an Expo Line SkyTrain extension to Langley. He has voiced active opposition to the Surrey LRT proposal since its announcement by Mayor Watts in 2011.
Study information indicates that this vision has the opportunity to generate twice the benefits – including twice the new transit trips – at a lower capital cost than the LRT plan.
“If we continue with the Light Rail alternative, shuttle buses and rider frustration are going to become a weekly ordeal for Surrey transit riders,” says Daryl.
For additional information, please visit skytrainforsurrey.org or contact:
Daryl Dela Cruz, lead SkyTrain campaigner – Better Surrey Rapid Transit
Cell: (604) 329-8082; E-mail: email@example.com
We advocate SkyTrain because evidence shows that the City of Surrey’s decision to plan at-grade rail and oppose elevated SkyTrain rapid transit was not based on legitimate facts, statistics, or logical reasons. It made absolutely no sense. Learn more: visit our website at skytrainforsurrey.org.