FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 25, 2019 – Surrey, BC
Good morning, your honourable chair and mayors, thank you for having me here.
My name is Daryl Dela Cruz, I am a 3rd-year SFU student and the founder of SkyTrain for Surrey. Today I am here representing our over 6,000 petition signatories who helped us build local support for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain, which you will be discussing today.
In the early days of our campaign back in spring 2013 we took a look at some of the numbers on things like population growth and transportation mode share, and what we discovered was astounding. According to numbers released by Metro Vancouver and ICBC1, the region’s vehicle registration count—that is the number of vehicles that were registered and circulating around the roads in our region—increased by 24.3 percent between 1999 and 2013. Where the vast majority of these increases took place was South of the Fraser. In the Langleys, there were 80,000 registered vehicles in 1999; by 2013 there were 120,000 – an increase of nearly 40 percent. Surrey saw even higher increases: from 200,000 in 1999 to nearly 328,000 registered vehicles by 2013—an increase of just over 49 per-cent.
Surrey and the Langleys saw more growth in vehicle counts than any other city. In other words, they dragged our regional average up. And, what this illustrates is one of the major issues that Mayors McCallum, Van-den Broek and Froese are probably familiar with: we are car-oriented cities. When you hear about increased congestion on corridors like the Lions Gate Bridge, Kingsway, or the Massey Tunnel, at least part of that is because of what we didn’t do back then to bring high-quality rapid transit into South of Fraser cities.
Our organization has often highlighted the importance of reducing travel times to attract significantly higher ridership. The previously proposed LRT was not oriented around this, unlike the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain, which—whether staged or built in full—delivers significant time savings and a positive benefit-cost ratio. This is more than just a spine: it is our most important opportunity to shift transportation culture in this part of the region so that we can reduce congestion all over the region.
Even a first-stage extension of the SkyTrain to 166 Street in Fleetwood offers massive improvements: commutes that take up to 30 minutes by a bus in rush hour will be reduced by one-third to less than 10 minutes. The Surrey-Langley SkyTrain will reduce overcrowding, offer capacity for future growth, service that moves quickly and reliably between distant town centres, and economic opportunities for many areas.
We encourage you to take any and all steps to move forward with a Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. Our organization, at this point, supports all staged options. Thank you very much.
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]