SkyTrain for Surrey, not LRT!

LRT construction header

IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Apr 12, 2016 – Surrey, BC

SkyTrain for Surrey is raising questions on the City of Surrey’s supposed engineering expertise on Light Rail Transit, after finding the City’s Rapid Transit manager’s claim that on-street LRT construction won’t disrupt local businesses to be misleading.

In an interview with Business in Vancouver, City of Surrey Rapid Transit Manager Paul Lee claimed that the construction impact of a Light Rail Transit line would be minor compared to SkyTrain, saying: “We won’t be digging a big hole; we will be laying tracks so people will continue to have access to the businesses while this is ongoing”. This is incorrect.

Building LRT in the median of an arterial roadway is not a simple matter of laying tracks on top of the street. Underground utilities must be dug out and moved so that they can be accessed and maintained as needed without disrupting LRT service. The street must also be widened, redesigned and reconstructed to ensure that others users such as pedestrians, cyclists, cars and local buses continue to be accommodated.

This can require edge-to-edge street closures for weeks or even months at a time during LRT construction, a phenomenon we have seen with the on-street LRT expansions in Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto and other Canadian cities (pictures below).

Daryl Dela Cruz, our founding director, said:

“We are curious why someone who should have so much expertise has conveyed so little knowledge on the Light Rail construction process.”

LRT construction will also require more property acquisitions on both sides of the corridor, a factor that Paul Lee has previously admitted to have resulted in a $500 million cost increase for the LRT project. All of these requirements will have a major impact on local businesses.

SkyTrain for Surrey is advocating for an elevated SkyTrain extension on Fraser Highway, which would fit in a narrower right-of-way and  actually have less impact during construction than an on-street LRT. Much of the elevated guideway is built off-site – final on-site assembly is of the pre-built segments, and is completed in less time and with less disruption. As an example, the elevated Evergreen Line SkyTrain construction on Coquitlam’s North Road was completed quickly and did not require a full street closure.

SkyTrain for Surrey is also advocating for Bus Rapid Transit on King George Blvd. and the “L Line” corridor, which could be built more gradually and with far less construction impacts – while offering superior safety and reliability over at-grade trains.

What on-street LRT construction actually looks like…

langley-extension-concept-bare-1-largerAbout SkyTrain for Surrey

SkyTrain for Surrey is a local grassroots organization calling for a SkyTrain and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network instead of the currently-proposed on-street Light Rail system in Surrey. Our campaign has called on decision-makers to build the Langley Extension of the SkyTrain Expo Line, in conjunction with an extension of the 96 B-Line to Coquitlam Centre and White Rock.

Our campaign directors: Daryl Dela Cruz (Surrey, chair), Benedic Dasalla (Surrey), Jacky Au (Surrey), Spencer Whitney (Langley)

For further information

Daryl Dela Cruz, Campaign Chair, Phone: +1 604 329 3529, E-mail: [email protected]

Surrey LRT construction will disrupt local businesses