Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Low Density in the South Fraser is a Red Herring

You might have heard Kevin Falcon or other politicians tell you that the South Fraser does not have the population to support rapid transit or restoring the Interurban passenger rail line. Well the following picture was sent to me, comes right out of the planning office at the City of Surrey, and it totally dispels that myth. This maps was based of current data and produced this year.

First some background information. Surrey and Langley contain both very urban and very rural areas. When you look at the population density of all of Surrey or Langley, it appears to be lower than the rest of the region. What the smart planning people did at the City of Surrey was exclude the agricultural land reserves, regional parks, and rural areas when they did their measurements. Here’s the shocker: there are more people per square kilometer in Surrey than Burnaby. It would also like to point out that even with the flood plain in the City of Langley, its has about the same population density as Burnaby.

Here’s the Breakdown of People per Square Km
New Westminster: 3,899
Surrey: 2,428
Burnaby: 2,387
Langley, City: 2,309.1
Calgary: 2,114

Here’s the Breakdown of Population
New Westminster: 58,549
Surrey: 394,976
Burnaby: 202,799
Langley, City: 23,606
Calgary: 988,193

Here’s the Breakdown of Km’s of Rail Transit
New Westminster: 8km
Surrey: 5km
Burnaby: 15km
Langley, City: 0km
Calgary: 44.8km

Nathan’s Rail Quota
(Km’s of Rail Transit/Population x 10,000)
New Westminster: 1.37
Surrey: 0.13
Burnaby: 0.74
Langley, City: 0
Calgary: 0.45

The next maps shows the Interurban line in purple and the Surrey SkyTrain in red. As you can see, the Interurban line runs through the dense urban areas of Surrey, and (not on the map) the dense core of Langley.

We are not asking for a deluxe system, we are asking for a cost effective community passenger rail system. For less than the cost of 1km of UBC SkyTrain, the provincial government could correct the transit imbalances in this region.

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