Don't believe the Light Rail Lie! [CLICK HERE] to find out more

The LRT Reality

Surrey’s transit needs have always been underestimated

and with the recent push by the City of Surrey for a Light Rail Transit (LRT) expansion over SkyTrain, that hasn’t changed. The City of Surrey does not actually have a proper case study that proves in any way that LRT is the city’s best rapid transit option. At the same time, SkyTrain has been dismissed, has been dubiously labelled as a “community splitter”, and is not being properly recognized for the benefits it will deliver. While LRT has been touted as the solution for transit woes in the City of Surrey, the reality is that it will fall far short of addressing city-wide transportation needs.

Below are the reasons why Light Rail doesn’t deliver what we need, what building Light Rail will mean for Surrey, and why we must oppose Light Rail as the proposed solution to address a Surrey transportation crisis that will be unfolding within the next few years.

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Don't believe the Light Rail Lie! [CLICK HERE] to find out more

The LRT Reality

Surrey’s transit needs have always been underestimated

and with the recent push by the City of Surrey for a Light Rail Transit (LRT) expansion over SkyTrain, that hasn’t changed. The City of Surrey does not actually have a proper case study that proves in any way that LRT is the city’s best rapid transit option. At the same time, SkyTrain has been dismissed, has been dubiously labelled as a “community splitter”, and is not being properly recognized for the benefits it will deliver. While LRT has been touted as the solution for transit woes in the City of Surrey, the reality is that it will fall far short of addressing city-wide transportation needs.

Below are the reasons why Light Rail doesn’t deliver what we need, what building Light Rail will mean for Surrey, and why we must oppose Light Rail as the proposed solution to address a Surrey transportation crisis that will be unfolding within the next few years.

Better Surrey Rapid Transit = SkyTrain for Surrey! [CLICK HERE] to learn more about why LRT is not the right answer

Get the Facts



SkyTrain for Surrey NOW! Click here to learn more about the case for SkyTrain

The Case for SkyTrain

There is a real solution for a future transportation crisis,

…..but it’s not what is being asked for by the Mayor and Council. It’s not being properly recognized for the benefits it will deliver, and it is being labelled a “community splitter” when it will do the opposite by linking our communities with quality transit, building our communities, and addressing city-wide transportation needs.

Above are the reasons why we’re advocating. What the City of Surrey wants is LRT. What the City of Surrey really needs, on the other hand, is SkyTrain. We want the City of Surrey and TransLink to be prudent in planning for a system that’ll be ready for our needs in 30-50 years as well as today.

Don't believe the Light Rail lie! We're working hard on a new and improved website that will reveal EVERYTHING about the Light Rail lie.

We’re updating the website! [CLICK HERE] to learn more

We’re working hard on a new and improved website that will reveal EVERYTHING about the Light Rail lie.

In case you haven’t noticed, Light Rail lie is one of the new taglines for our Better Surrey Rapid Transit (SkyTrain for Surrey) campaign. We’re working on condensing our extensive research to a few main points – such as the ones suggested by our taglines – to simplify our message and extend our reach.

Light Rail lie is also the name of an upcoming report we are working on that will do as we say – reveal the Light Rail lie. This single-read report will contain everything you need to know about why you should be concerned about the City of Surrey’s current rapid transit proposal and the “Light Rail lie”, why Light Rail isn’t good for the future of the city, and what is the option Surrey needs to approach moving forward.

Our rough website layout is already up. Feel free to play around with the new design. Our original pages and petition (the petition is going nowhere, by the way) are still up for your viewing pleasure – use the links on the top menu bar to access them.

REALITY CHECK: Surrey light rail coalition massively misleads public

A Light Rail opposition group in Surery is displeased that a coalition for Light Rail Transit in Surrey is massively misleading and manipulating the public again.

A Light Rail opposition group in Surrey is displeased that a coalition for Light Rail Transit in Surrey is massively misleading and manipulating the public again, according to a media report by the Business in Vancouver report.

The report claims that Light Rail Links members saw problems with expanding SkyTrain versus building light rail.

“SkyTrain, in our opinion, does not build communities. It separates them with the big, tall concrete structures,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, a backer of the Light Rail Links coalition.

(From Business in Vancouver)

Light Rail Links members and supporters all over Surrey seem to think that SkyTrain separates communities with its visual impact, yet study after study and statistic after statistic has found that SkyTrain has done the opposite; in spite of its visual impact, it has had a phenomenal impact in shaping dense, transit-oriented communities and neighbourhoods throughout the region, and efforts continue to be made to utilize the SkyTrain system to attract dense, transit-oriented development. Major centres near SkyTrain such as Metrotown, Brentwood, Lougheed Town Centre, Oakridge, and Downtown Richmond are booming with transit-friendly developments due to their SkyTrain proximity.

In an internationally reknowned thesis submitted to the University of London Centre for Transport Studies, SkyTrain was found to be the most effective system between 20 around the world (including Light Rail systems) in shaping urban growth, and the only system of the 20 which had a significant revitalizing impact on slum areas.

Huberman also made a flawed statement with regards to Light Rail versus buses, reasoning that:

“Buses congest the road. They increase pollution, and they’re not efficient in terms of moving people around.”

(From Business in Vancouver)

This statement completely neglects the possibility that buses can be used in dedicated lanes (as has been planned by TransLink, the regional transportation authority) in the same manner as Light Rail, and can use overhead electric wires (as is done in Vancouver) and electric propulsion to provide emissions-free transportation.

These discrepancies again expose the lack of research and weak case among Light Rail Links coalition backers. On the day of their launch, Better Surrey Rapid Transit (a citizens’ group that opposes Light Rail Links and advocates for SkyTrain for Surrey rather than LRT) launched a REALITY CHECK [CLICK HERE] that revealed that no new research was brought forward by the Light Rail Links advocacy, which rehashes vague reasons that have already been used by other advocates and unproductively adds nothing new to the discussion.

“I am becoming extremely concerned with the amount of misleading information on Surrey rapid transit that is circulating among advocacy groups, and how it’s manipulating the public to accept an option that is clearly not the best option for Surrey, as some would like to suggest” says Campaign Director Daryl Dela Cruz.

The Better Surrey Rapid Transit advocacy has frequently pointed out that Light Rail is not a suitable option for the City of Surrey because it does not meet regional and local transportation goals, and offers transportation benefits that do not exceed the costs, which do not make the option very viable to either TransLink or the provincial government. Light Rail options are slower, less reliable, less attractive, and will fall victim to a service disruption every day. Neither emissions reductions nor mode-share shift from car to transit goals are met with Light Rail Transit options.

Attached to this press release and reality check are a collection of slides from the “Rapid Transit and Surrey’s Needs” report, which was prepared by Better Surrey Rapid Transit and recognized by the City of Surrey in a presentation this last April. (see below)

For more reality checks, [CLICK HERE]

Also see: Why SkyTrain | Why not LRT

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

ABOUT BETTER SURREY RAPID TRANSIT

Better Surrey Rapid Transit

Better Surrey Rapid Transit” (skytrainforsurrey.org) was established because Surrey is in need of a bigger solution than what is proposed. TransLink has proposed options for Surrey that do not meet mode-share reduction targets and are far behind what has been achieved in the City of Vancouver. Mayor Watts’ declaration of at-grade Light Rail Transit (LRT) over SkyTrain also does not make sense. Current options look forward to this city’s transportation needs to 2041 (within 30 years), but do not look forward to what the needs will be in 30-50 years and beyond. We want to tell Mayor Watts and TransLink that the solution that Surrey needs is bigger than what everyone wants, and we’re advocating for that bigger solution that Surrey needs – an expansion of SkyTrain.

Better Surrey Rapid Transit’s advocacy now includes a petition campaign that urges decision makers to plan for better Surrey rapid transit. This petition has beeny launched at [CLICK HERE] and promotion efforts (including new videos, online and on-location canvassing efforts, and associated media advisories) continue to advance.

For more information, please contact:

Daryl Dela Cruz
Better Surrey Rapid Transit – Campaign Director
Website: skytrainforsurrey.org – Email: info@skytrainforsurrey.org

Inside a Portland MAX LRT train

REALITY CHECK: Surrey Board of Trade CEO incorrect about Portland LRT development

Reality check: SbOT CEO small

In a news release by the Surrey Board of Trade promoting Light Rail for Surrey, CEO Anita Huberman stated that “Experience with light rail systems in other cities such as Portland, Oregon shows that housing developments and businesses will invest and build near the easy-to-access, at-grade light rail stations.”

But, a 1996 article in the Oregonian newspaper reports that housing developments near Light Rail Transit in Portland were incentivized with property tax breaks. That is, they were given additional subsidies to go forward because Light Rail and rezoning could not attract those developments on their own.

The article, which reports on the approval of the property tax breaks, notes that former Portland City Commissioner Charlie Hales referred to a map showing large blocks of undeveloped land near light-rail stations, and said that “We have an investment that hasn’t been well capitalized on.” The 10-year tax waiver on developments near Light Rail in Portland was introduced as a response to the lack of development near Light Rail.

This shows that, in the experience with light rail in Portland, attracting pedestrian-friendly development near transit has actually been more than about building at-grade rail. Transit critics in Portland have blamed infrequent service and lower service speeds in on-street sections for a lack of ridership and development demand. During the same decade, the Vancouver SkyTrain system (which provides consistently faster and more frequent service) attracted developments such as the $9 billion Metropolis at Metrotown development, with no extra incentives.

This article can be viewed in an archive at [CLICK HERE].

The disrepancy shows the lack of research and weak case among those like Anita Huberman, who have thrown themselves behind the new Light Rail Links coalition for LRT in Surrey. On the day of their launch, Better Surrey Rapid Transit (a citizens’ group advocating for SkyTrain for Surrey rather than LRT) launched a REALITY CHECK [CLICK HERE] that revealed that no new research was brought forward by the Light Rail Links advocacy, which rehashes vague reasons that have already been used by other advocates.

BSRT Campaign Director Daryl Dela Cruz has criticized Light Rail Links, the Surrey Board of Trade and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Association for not citing research and instead relying on these “vague reasons”.

For more reality checks, [CLICK HERE]

Also see: Why SkyTrain | Why not LRT

ABOUT BETTER SURREY RAPID TRANSIT

Better Surrey Rapid Transit

Better Surrey Rapid Transit” (skytrainforsurrey.org) was established because Surrey is in need of a bigger solution than what is proposed. TransLink has proposed options for Surrey that do not meet mode-share reduction targets and are far behind what has been achieved in the City of Vancouver. Mayor Watts’ declaration of at-grade Light Rail Transit (LRT) over SkyTrain also does not make sense. Current options look forward to this city’s transportation needs to 2041 (within 30 years), but do not look forward to what the needs will be in 30-50 years and beyond. We want to tell Mayor Watts and TransLink that the solution that Surrey needs is bigger than what everyone wants, and we’re advocating for that bigger solution that Surrey needs – an expansion of SkyTrain.

Better Surrey Rapid Transit’s advocacy now includes a petition campaign that urges decision makers to plan for better Surrey rapid transit. This petition has beeny launched at [CLICK HERE] and promotion efforts (including new videos, online and on-location canvassing efforts, and associated media advisories) continue to advance.

For more information, please contact:

Daryl Dela Cruz
Better Surrey Rapid Transit – Campaign Director
Website: skytrainforsurrey.org – Email: info@skytrainforsurrey.org

Metrotown Station in 2006

REALITY CHECK: Green party misleads voters about SkyTrain land use impacts

Reality Check: Green Party misleads voters about SkyTrain land use impacts

The Green Party of BC is misleading voters about the land-use impacts of SkyTrain rapid transit.

(From the Vancouver Courier – Vancouver Votes: Five hot provincial election topics for the city)

Green Party leader Jane Sterk said her party “is not a mega-project kind of party in its thinking.” That said, the Liberals’ idea of a referendum has its merits, she added.

“I do agree with the ability of citizens to have a say in these large expenditures, which is what a referendum does,” Sterk said.

But if a referendum were to take place, she wants to see more research on cheaper transit options such as light-rail and ensure citizens have the details before they vote.

The Greens, she said, favour transit that helps shape neighbourhoods rather than running kilometres and kilometres of SkyTrain track that contribute to sprawl.

The Green Party seems to think that SkyTrain contributes to sprawl. Yet, study after study and statistic after statistic has found that SkyTrain has done the opposite; it has had a phenomenal impact in shaping dense, transit-oriented communities and neighbourhoods throughout the region, and efforts continue to be made to utilize the SkyTrain system to attract dense, transit-oriented development.

In one study conducted by the GVRD Policy & Planning Department in 2002, the amount of population growth within 500m and within 1km of SkyTrain was found to have consistently exceeded the regional average. In another internationally reknowned thesis submitted to the University of London Centre for Transport Studies, SkyTrain was found to be the most effective system between 20 around the world (including light rail systems) in shaping urban growth, and the only system of the 20 which had a significant revitalizing impact on slum areas.

Modern examples of transit-oriented developments that resulted from SkyTrain include Metropolis at Metrotown (Burnaby), Plaza 88 (New Westminster), Aberdeen Square (Richmond), Park Place (Surrey), Coast Capital HQ (Surrey), Brentwood Town Centre redevelopment (Burnaby, upcoming). These developments have added or will add billions of dollars worth of sustainable transit-oriented economic development to the region.

Studies and surveys that support this include:

  1. 2001 CENSUS BULLETIN #1 – POPULATION & DWELLING COUNTS

    by GVRD Policy & Planning Department
    “Between 1996-2001, population growth within 500 metres of the existing SkyTrain line and within one kilometre of existing SkyTrain stations rose at rates of 14.2% and 11.8% respectively, considerably higher than the 8.5% average across the region.”

  2. Urban Rail Systsems: A planning framework to increase their success

    by Ela Babalik, University of London Centre for Transport Studies
    “The most effective system in terms of shaping urban growth is the SkyTrain. The corridor that the SkyTrain runs through became the main development axis of Vancouver with a notably denser urban form after the opening of the SkyTrain. Development densities along the SkyTrain route have changed especially as a result of the rezoning plans of the municipalities. These plans increased the densities at station areas, and encouraged office and retail centres at stations. Some of the SkyTrain stations became the `new town centres’ as proposed in themetropolitan development plan” – page 151

  3. Light Rail, accessibility and land use: a case study of Vancouver’s Light Rail Line

    by Kristin Olson and Faber Maunsell / AECOM (“light rail” refers to SkyTrain)
    “Since completion of Vancouver’s first light rail line, Vancouver has experienced an economic boom, one that is believed to extend to at least 2010, when the city will host the Olympic Winter Games. While it is impossible to link this economic boom directly to with the SkyTrain scheme, the light rail line attracted a greater level of development than the region on a whole.”

  4. Population demographics and transit use patterns in urban areas adjacent to SkyTrain lines

    by Niko Vujevic, Master of Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University
    “The data showed that Millennium Line neighbourhoods have undergone a change since the line opened and attracted new transit riders.”

  5. Rapid Transit Office Index

    by Jones Lang LaSalle
    “The disparity between vacancy rates of the two groups of buildings suggests that tenants are more interested in SkyTrain access than the suburb itself”

The Green Party and Jane Sterk did not mention any source for their claim about SkyTrain. Better Surrey Rapid Transit campaign director Daryl Dela Cruz, the lead statistics analyst of the group, has also found that this is not part of the B.C. Green’s transportation policy on their website.

Better Surrey Rapid Transit demands that the Green Party of BC stop misleading voters, and come clear on where this claim comes from and what is its basis.

For more reality checks, [CLICK HERE]

Also see: Why SkyTrain | Why not LRT

ABOUT BETTER SURREY RAPID TRANSIT

Better Surrey Rapid Transit

Better Surrey Rapid Transit” (skytrainforsurrey.org) was established because Surrey is in need of a bigger solution than what is proposed. TransLink has proposed options for Surrey that do not meet mode-share reduction targets and are far behind what has been achieved in the City of Vancouver. Mayor Watts’ declaration of at-grade Light Rail Transit (LRT) over SkyTrain also does not make sense. Current options look forward to this city’s transportation needs to 2041 (within 30 years), but do not look forward to what the needs will be in 30-50 years and beyond. We want to tell Mayor Watts and TransLink that the solution that Surrey needs is bigger than what everyone wants, and we’re advocating for that bigger solution that Surrey needs – an expansion of SkyTrain.

Better Surrey Rapid Transit’s advocacy now includes a petition campaign that urges decision makers to plan for better Surrey rapid transit. This petition has beeny launched at [CLICK HERE] and promotion efforts (including new videos, online and on-location canvassing efforts, and associated media advisories) continue to advance.

For more information, please contact:

Daryl Dela Cruz
Better Surrey Rapid Transit – Campaign Director
Website: skytrainforsurrey.org – Email: info@skytrainforsurrey.org

Slide 1

PRESENTATION: Rapid transit and Surrey’s needs Executive Summary

Rapid Transit and Surrey’s needs

Examining the modal shift in TransLink’s Surrey Rapid Transit Study alternatives

This is a presentation document that Better Surrey Rapid Transit has prepared for future presentations.

A longer, fully detailed version (which was presented to the City of Surrey Transportation & Infrastructure Committee in April 2013) is available at [CLICK HERE]

REALITY CHECK: Light Rail Links does not have case for LRT.

Tuesday morning was triumphed by the launch of the new Light Rail Links coalition, a membership of different organizations advocating for Light Rail Transit in Surrey, BC.

The new coalition presents four vague reasons for “Why LRT”:

  1. LRT will connect communities south of the Fraser
  2. LRT will create pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods with new developments and businesses
  3. LRT has easily accessible cars that can carry high volumes of passengers
  4. LRT is a cost effective solution that will link the most communities

These reasons are vague reasons and they do not explain why Light Rail in Surrey is a better solution than SkyTrain expansion.

By comparison, Better Surrey Rapid Transit (an advocacy for SkyTrain rather than light rail) has prepared a full case [CLICK HERE] that explains why SkyTrain is the best solution for Surrey, BC. Better Surrey Rapid Transit does not rely on vague reasons for this case. It relies on the facts presented in the Surrey Rapid Transit Study. Key facts that were revealed in the Surrey Rapid Transit Study include:

  1. Even with both a Light Rail system across the city and transportation demand management to raise the cost of driving, 65% of commutes will still be by car
  2. No Surrey Rapid Transit options involving Light Rail will meet 2041 transportation modal shift goals
  3. Light Rail Transit will generate less monetary benefits versus cost, and has the worst business case of all the Surrey Rapid Transit alternatives
  4. Light Rail Transit generates on average of 53% the ridership of SkyTrain on the same corridor

In addition, at-grade Light Rail Transit:

  • provides slower transit compared to SkyTrain and potentially less reliable transit compared to even buses. This provides less options for citizens (esp. young citizens) who, in a time of economic recession, desperately need more options.
  • has a smaller impact on pressing issues like auto use growth because it attracts less modal shift
  • causes traffic mayhem and disrupts communities by taking away road capacity on major corridors such as 104th Ave and creating less auto to transit modal shift.

See pages on Better Surrey Rapid Transit website: Why SkyTrain | Why not LRT

For more reality checks, [CLICK HERE]

ABOUT BETTER SURREY RAPID TRANSIT

Better Surrey Rapid TransitBetter Surrey Rapid Transit” (skytrainforsurrey.org) was established because Surrey is in need of a bigger solution than what is proposed. TransLink has proposed options for Surrey that do not meet mode-share reduction targets and are far behind what has been achieved in the City of Vancouver. Mayor Watts’ declaration of at-grade Light Rail Transit (LRT) over SkyTrain also does not make sense. Current options look forward to this city’s transportation needs to 2041 (within 30 years), but do not look forward to what the needs will be in 30-50 years and beyond. We want to tell Mayor Watts and TransLink that the solution that Surrey needs is bigger than what everyone wants, and we’re advocating for that bigger solution that Surrey needs – an expansion of SkyTrain.

Better Surrey Rapid Transit’s advocacy now includes a petition campaign that urges decision makers to plan for better Surrey rapid transit. This petition has beeny launched at [CLICK HERE] and promotion efforts (including new videos, online and on-location canvassing efforts, and associated media advisories) continue to advance.

For more information, please contact:

Daryl Dela Cruz
Better Surrey Rapid Transit – Campaign Director
Website: skytrainforsurrey.org – Email: info@skytrainforsurrey.org