Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How to turn 9km into 56km

I was doing a quick scan in the local papers, seeing if there was any buzz about rail and roads in the Fraser Valley. As I suspected, there was. Here are two letter that were of particular interest to me. The first letter was published on today in the Abbotsford Times. The second letter was published today in the Langley Times.

I find it hard to believe that we're only now waking up to this.

Our people in Victoria and on the TransLink Board cannot be accused of seeing ahead.

How hard can it be to figure out that we don't need the expense of Skytrain - just find a way to mate it with a light rail system and make use of what we already have.

All we have to do is look east to Calgary and Ralph's Choo-Choo - we don't even have to go as far as Europe.

How many miles of LRT could be built for the price of a roof on Robson Square?

Let's quit sending dumbkoffs to Victoria.

Gill Picard,


Editor: I hear all about going green and how Langley wants to do things about it. Here are a few suggestions that might help.

Traffic in and around Langley is getting worse every day. Coming down 200 Street from Highway 1 is very bad. There is a light at almost every intersection.

How about this: Let’s build a new overpass with an off and on ramp at Glover Road and Highway 1. Widen Glover to four lanes all the way to the Langley Bypass, and have an overpass built over the railway tracks.

The gas mileage would get better on the car, and less fumes would be sent into the atmosphere. Please don’t let them put malls or other stores on Glover Road, so that more traffic lights go up.

When you have to stop at every light, the best car gets really bad gas mileage. A lot of us want to go home after work. This bypass would be greener. It would save time and maybe cut down on accidents, due to everyone trying to make all the lights.

For those of you who do need to go shopping, you can still use the 200 Street exit. And please don’t say we need more buses. Sorry, but you will never see me on a bus, and I think that goes for a lot of people.

The buses just don’t work for all of us. I’m in construction and don’t know where I will be day to day.

We need to work on the roads in the Lower Mainland and then, at the same time, the buses will work. But if we only try and improve bus service, it will mess everything up.

Trust me, that’s what’s happening now.

John Peterse,
The first letter speaks for itself. There is no reason to waste money on SkyTrain for the South Fraser. While I don’t know the costs of the proposed Expo SkyTrain line expansion, I’ll assume that it’s the same cost of the Evergreen line that is now $127,000,000 per km. The 2020 proposed Expo Line expansion would be about 9km from King George Station to 160th Street.

9km x $127,000,000/km is $1,143,000,000. What could we do for that kind of money?

Well, we could get the Interurban line up and running from Scott Road to 264th Street for $200,000,000. That leaves us $943,000,000. The average cost of new light rail is about $35,000,000/km in North America. So, if we divide $943,000,000 by $35,000,000 we get 26km of light rail. 26km of light rail could build a line from the 160th Street Interchange, down 104th Avenue to King George Highway, then from King George Highway, all the way down to White Rock. What would you like to see? The 30km of Interurban line being restored and 26km of light rail in Surrey, or 6km of SkyTrain?

The second letter shows how there is general confusion about transportation in the general public. Building bigger roads simply will not reduce congestion. The key to getting people out of their cars is building people friendly and transit friendly communities, and providing good public transit. The author of the second letter has a few good points. He said, “Please don’t let them put malls or other stores on Glover Road” when talking about building Glover Road as a bypass. The problem is, and Langley Bypass is a prime example, busy roads in urban areas have a hard time staying bypasses. Also, he’s correct that not everyone will take transit, but if we could get 25% of Langley on transit compared to the 2% we would see a huge impact on congestion.

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