FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 10, 2020 – Surrey, BC
SkyTrain for Surrey applauds Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel’s recent announcement that the Quebec provincial government will withdraw provincial funding for a proposed $3.3 billion street-running light rail transit system in Quebec City.
This comes after Quebec’s environmental review board (BAPE) gave the proposed LRT system a failing grade, noting that “the proportion of citizens who would use public transport there would remain the same as before, which appears modest compared to the planned investments of $3.3 billion.” The BAPE’s report states that the proposed system “does not prove its ability to best respond to the city’s mobility challenges, and more broadly to those of the metropolitan area.” Specifically, it notes that the largely surface-oriented and street-running LRT system would NOT deliver significant travel time savings, which would be required to attract riders from the suburbs of Quebec City.
The BAPE has also encouraged the consideration of dedicated busways, or a combination of bus rapid transit and a driverless rail system similar to Montreal’s Réseau express métropolitain. (*a note that Quebec generally calls R.E.M. style systems ‘light-rail’ whereas street-running LRTs are called ‘tramways’.)
Hmmmm. This sounds familiar.
In fact, the BAPE’s conclusion is a direct reflection of the failure of surface-oriented light rail proposals to deliver solid business cases and strong local enthusiasm, a topic that our organization has frequently drawn attention to since our founding in 2012. Across North America and the world, LRT systems with a largely surface-oriented design have contributed to the prevalence of major issues such as:
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. The Quebec government’s decision to scrap the proposed surface light rail in Quebec City shows why we should not re-consider an at-grade LRT system in Surrey on corridors such as King George Blvd, where a much high standard of service is necessary—such as through grade-separated rail.
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]