FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 16, 2018 – Surrey, BC
SkyTrain for Surrey is disappointed to learn that the Regional Mayors Council’s Phase 2 Transit Plan has retained the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT line, meaning that the region has signed on to make one of its most expensive transit mistakes, ever.
SkyTrain for Surrey called for the Regional Mayors Council to remove the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT line from the 10-year-vision, and reinstate the project as a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, in light of poor business case estimates and other major issues for the LRT proposal.
By retaining and incorporating the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT line as part of the Phase 2 plan, the Regional Mayors’ Council has approved a plan that will not reduce congestion in Surrey and will not move people faster than existing transit is capable of today. Our region has signed on to make an expensive mistake on a scale significantly larger than BC Ferries’ ill-fated FastCat program in the late 1990s.
Furthermore, by focusing on the SNG LRT line and failing to advance a second-phase rapid transit project from Surrey to Langley, Fraser Highway-area commuters in Fleetwood, Clayton, Cloverdale and Langley are being forced to wait longer for desperately needed rapid transit.
A SkyTrain extension from Surrey to Langley is desperately needed to address growing congestion and mobility needs. Fraser Highway commuters cannot wait another 5 years for rapid transit.
1 – It will be one of the slowest LRT systems in Canada
At an average operating speed of just 21.4 km/h (less than half as fast as the SkyTrain Expo Line), the Surrey-Newton-Guildford line will be one of the slowest rail rapid transit lines in this country.
2 – It will not carry that many people
The ultimate design capacity of 4,080 people per hour per direction (pphpd) is just 27% of the ultimate design capacity of the SkyTrain Canada Line. Capacity on opening day is even lower: just 2,040 pphpd.
3 – It will not decrease your commute times
According to TransLink’s own estimates, Guildford and Newton riders save only 2 minutes on end-to-end commutes, and only 1 minute on commutes to and from downtown Surrey.
4 – It offers no practical advantages over buses in dedicated lanes
Buses running in dedicated lanes can offer all of the same features and comforts as an LRT system
5 – It will be prone to traffic accidents and service disruptions
Because Surrey’s light rail is situated entirely on city streets, much of its reliability depends on both pedestrians and drivers not making errors in judgment ahead of an approaching train.
6 – It will congest our streets, divide our parks and disrupt our local neighbourhoods
Roadway projects related to LRT have already cut into important city parks and green spaces, such as Hawthorne Park and Green Timbers Urban Forest.
7 – Experts from across the country are advising against LRT
An independent study from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy has suggested that the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT should not be built as Light Rail because of a poor business case, and should be built as a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line instead.
8 – It will be one of the most expensive mistakes in our region’s history
Capital costs were last estimated at $2.6 billion for the full 27km network. These costs, approaching $100 million per km, are comparable to the costs of previous SkyTrain expansions, such as the Canada Line ($104 m per km) and the Millennium Line: Evergreen Extension ($121 m per km).
SkyTrain for Surrey is the community organization that advocated for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, and continues to push for high-quality rapid transit projects in Surrey and Langley. We began as a petition calling for the scrapping of a street-level LRT proposal, which eventually amassed more than 6,000 signatures, and later contributed to making SkyTrain an election issue as a registered third-party advertiser. SkyTrain for Surrey continues to call for high-quality projects that offer a positive return-on-investment and recognize the rapidly increasing demand for transit.
Daryl Dela Cruz – Founder, SkyTrain for Surrey
Phone: +1 604 329 3529, [email protected]