FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 14, 2020 – Surrey, BC
It is becoming clear that hundreds of millions of dollars will soon be required to elevate a portion of Edmonton’s Metro Line LRT that was constructed at street-level, now considered a major design flaw as it has caused major issues in the surrounding community.
This week, never-before-seen emails and video animation clips were released by Global News in Edmonton showing that if train frequencies on the city’s surface-running Metro Line LRT were increased to every 5 minutes, several intersections “will fail” and surrounding roads will face daily traffic jams in excess of 1.5 kilometres long. These emails also reveal that the City of Edmonton was fully aware that the at-grade construction of the Metro Line in this area would choke surrounding roads with congestion, yet decided to proceed with an at-grade design anyway.
Since 2015, SkyTrain for Surrey has frequently drawn attention to major issues in Edmonton that are a direct result of decisions by their planners and City Council to build all future expansions of Edmonton’s LRT system at street-level. Not only is the Edmonton LRT system now known for causing serious congestion issues in local communities, but its at-grade design has prompted numerous deadly accidents; the system has also failed to deliver on promised peak-hour service frequencies, and is failing to change commuter habits—overall transit ridership in the city isn’t growing.
With plans to expand the Metro Line LRT to the city’s north and west, it will be necessary to tear down an existing surface portion of the light rail line and replace it with an elevated viaduct or tunnel in order to carry busy trains into the city without the congestion mayhem in surrounding neighbourhoods—making the surface portion of the Metro Line LRT one of the most expensive mistakes in Edmonton’s history.
This is a mistake that must not be repeated here in Surrey.
As the City of Surrey begins the process of creating a new transportation plan, important questions must be raised about the future of rapid transit in the city, including expansions and new lines that will be built after the 16-kilometre Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. It was not long ago that City of Surrey planners rejected all SkyTrain expansions and attempted to obtain Council endorsement for a criss-cross grid of surface LRT lines. Edmonton’s experience with extensively surface-running LRT shows that this kind of vision would be unacceptable for our growing city.
SkyTrain for Surrey is the community organization that advocated for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, which was adopted by the City of Surrey and the Regional Mayors’ Council in 2018. Since our establishment in 2012, our efforts to make this extension a reality have included a 6000-person petition calling for the scrapping of a street-level LRT proposal, and campaigning to make SkyTrain a 2018 municipal election issue in Surrey and Langley. We continue 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]