Friday, November 11, 2011

Light Rail for Surrey and Langley closer than we think?

There was an interesting story in the Vancouver Sun yesterday claiming that the "Province eyes light rail options for Surrey, Langley". According to the article:
In a letter to Watts this week, Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said the province is “examining the use of LRT as well as the potential for bus rapid transit and SkyTrain technology to provide frequent, fast, reliable services to communities south of the Fraser.”

“I recognize that Surrey is growing quickly and understand how important transit connections to the community will be as we work to build a more efficient and effective transit network in the Lower Mainland,” the letter said.


Surrey is exploring light rail transit routes along 104th Avenue between 152nd Street and City Centre; City Centre to Newton, with an extension to South Surrey; and along Fraser Highway, between City Centre and Langley.

Fassbender said a transportation study is already underway and he expects work on a route could begin as early as next year.
What is interesting about this article is that the Province and TransLink are talking about building rapid transit in Surrey and the City of Langley with money from the gas tax and future long-term funding solution in the next few years. Also interesting is that there isn't much talk about the Township of Langley. One has to wonder if it has anything to do with the adversarial approach that the current Mayor of the Township has taken with TransLink and the Province over transportation.

It is also good to see that the Province is talking about building rapid transit in the South of Fraser ahead of or at the same time as the UBC SkyTrain line. This well help shape the South of Fraser into a more sustainable area. It would be a mistake to wait any longer to build rapid transit in the South of Fraser as the sub-region is in the process of a massive renewal of first-generation suburbia. At this point it can go either to more suburbia or to a sustainable, walkable region. I believe that the next decade will set the path for the South of Fraser for the next 50 years and that is why we have to build a transportation system that gives people choice.

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