FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 4, 2018 – Surrey, BC
Today we are disappointed by decision makers at all 3 levels of government, who have announced their intent to continue with a street-level Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT (SNG LRT) despite objections from many locals.
Today’s announcement directs funds away from much-needed rapid transit projects that will offer more meaningful reductions in travel time (including a Surrey-Langley SkyTrain). Instead, a total of $1.65 billion will be spent on a project that will not reduce travel times over existing B-Line bus service.
Public input and previous due-diligence work were ignored in the selection of street-level light rail for all three proposed corridors. As an example, TransLink’s Environmental and Socio-Economic Review Report for the SNG LRT project noted that the expected transit mode-share increase from building the LRT is just 0.6% (less than 1 per-cent). That means that only few more people will use transit compared to today – the automobile will continue to be Surrey’s dominant mode for transportation.
In July 2018, the City of Langley recognized SkyTrain as a superior technology and declared its preference for SkyTrain on Fraser Highway over a street-running light rail. Calls to extend SkyTrain have also won support from several candidates across 3 civic parties running in Surrey for the upcoming elections.
SkyTrain for Surrey has called for the cancellation of the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT project, in favour of the construction of Bus Rapid Transit for a fraction of the cost on King George Blvd. and 104th Avenue.
We will continue to advocate for the cancellation of the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT.
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 travel time 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. Existing bus service on the 96 B-Line is nearly as fast as the proposed light rail service.
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, and the same advantages in reliability.
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. Blocked tracks will stop service with no opportunity to detour trains.
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
The Surrey-Newton Guildford Light Rail line is estimated to cost $1.65 billion. These costs, now exceeding $150 million per km, are higher than 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]