FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 23, 2018 – Surrey, BC
Results of the public consultation for Phase Two of the Regional Mayors’ 10-year transportation plan, released by TransLink, have shown that there is significant opposition to Light Rail Transit in Surrey.
The Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT is the least supported transit component of the Phase Two Plan.
Participants in online and paper surveys were asked to rate the importance of various projects included in Phase Two, such as the Millennium Line: Broadway Extension and improvements for existing SkyTrain lines and buses. Of the transit projects, the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT received the lowest importance ratings.
40% of respondents stated that they view SNG LRT as very or extremely important, which is less than the other listed transit items including the Broadway Subway (67%), expansion of the bus system (80%) and expansion of the existing SkyTrain system (83%).
Furthermore, 30% of survey respondents rated the Surrey-Newton-Guildford Light Rail Transit project as “not important at all”. This percentage is far higher than that of any other listed projects – there were no other transit projects that received a “not important at all” response percentage of higher than 10%.
The percentage of respondents who rated SNG LRT as either slightly important or ‘not important at all’ (41%) is higher than the percentage of respondents who rated SNG LRT as very or extremely important (40%). The remainder of respondents either rated SNG LRT as moderately important, or stated that they were unsure.
These survey results, collected by TransLink, were mirrored in an independent scientific survey commissioned by TransLink and conducted by NRG. The questions asked were the same as those asked in TransLink’s survey, but instead used a random sample of 2,000 adults.
While support levels for the SNG LRT project and other projects were generally found to be higher, the SNG LRT once again received the lowest importance rating among the transit projects.
49% of respondents stated that they view SNG LRT as very or extremely important, which is less than the other listed transit items: the Broadway Subway (56%), expansion of the bus system (63%) and expansion of the existing SkyTrain system (63%).
Survey respondents were keen to raise major, fundamental flaws of Surrey’s LRT vision that are similar to those raised and communicated by SkyTrain for Surrey.
Comments in the survey included concerns on the project’s cost-efficiency, perceived lack of benefits (i.e. travel time savings), potential congestion on city roadways, and requests to consider other alternatives (such as extension of the SkyTrain system, and Bus Rapid Transit).
In the independent survey, similar concerns were raised around project cost-efficiency, congestion, and questionable benefits among those opposed to the LRT system. However, the most prominent reason stated was the preference for SkyTrain over LRT for rapid transit expansion in the area.
TransLink recently revealed that the cost to build the first phase of Surrey’s street-running Light Rail Transit system is $1.65 billion dollars. At costs which exceed $150 million per kilometre, SNG LRT will be more expensive – per kilometre – than both the Millennium Line: Evergreen Extension and the Canada Line.
Despite this, all 10.5 km of Light Rail Transit will run entirely at grade-level in the medians of city streets, resulting in a system that is prone to delays, blockages and collisions and offers poor value for the money.
At an average speed of 21.4 km/h, the SNG LRT will be one of the slowest rapid transit systems in Canada.
The Surrey LRT vision is an expensive mistake that local residents will have to live with for decades. Surrey’s LRT vision, by design, will not fulfill transit mode-shift and travel time reduction objectives.
It is time for TransLink, the City of Surrey and the Regional Mayors’ Council to do the right thing: abandon the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT project and scrap the Surrey LRT vision.
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]