Friday, October 15, 2010

TransLink Public Consultation on Surrey Rapid Transit Study

Last night, I attended the first in a series of public consultations on the Surrey Rapid Transit Study in Langley. You can check out TransLink's website for a complete list of workshops and information on the upcoming webinar.

The event was well attended and TransLink provided a list of several rapid transit alternatives for us to go over from Bus Rapid Transit to Light Rail to SkyTrain. One final alternative was called “Best Bus” which seemed to be the baseline that all other alternatives could be compared to. All the alternatives focused on providing rapid transit service along Fraser Highway, King George Boulevard, and 104th Avenue.

We were split into four tables and each table spend 20 minutes each listening to experts and providing feedback on the different rapid transit technologies and alternatives. This first phase of the public consultation was not about picking the best alternative, but to make sure that TransLink captured all the possible alternatives.

One question brought up by several tables was why the Interurban was not included as a possible corridor. Also, I had a question about why the rapid transit connection to Langley City seemed to get the most BRT treatment while 104th Ave/King George seemed to get the most rail treatment in the alternatives. This confused me because according to the study area data, Surrey City Centre will see huge population growth and the Langley Regional Centre will see equally large employment growth. In fact, Langley will see more employment growth than Guildford, Newton, Fleetwood, and South Surrey/White Rock combined! By 2041:

Surrey City Center
Population: 82,000
Employment: 54,000

Population: 38,000
Employment: 25,000

Population: 8,400
Employment: 3,000

Population: 25,200
Employment: 16,000

White Rock/South Surrey
Population: 21,600
Employment: 13,300

Langley Regional Centre
Population: 39,000
Employment: 68,000

A wise planner once told that in order for rapid transit to be successful, it needs to go to major employment areas. Langley is a major employment area and I believe it deserves a higher quality of transit service.

It will be interesting to what TransLink comes back with in the spring as the alternatives get refined.

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