Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Fraser Highway B-Line to cut travel times almost in half with transit priority measures

On Monday night, TransLink’s Daniel Freeman who is the manager of Rapid Bus Projects, presented to Langley City Council on the future Fraser Highway B-Line which will run from Surrey Central SkyTrain to the Langley Centre bus loop on Logan Avenue. There will be a B-Line bus every 8 minutes during peak travel periods, and every 10 to 15 minutes during the rest of the day and night. Real-time next bus information signs will also be installed at all B-Line stops along the corridor.

Proposed Fraser Highway B-Line Stops. Select image to enlarge.

Fraser Highway is a significant transit corridor in Metro Vancouver. Around 27,000 transit passenger a day travel along Fraser Highway. 25% to 33% of people that travel along Fraser Highway between King George and 203rd Street do so on public transit; this is a significant number.

Congestion on Fraser Highway is extreme in the afternoon/evening peak travel period. From personal experience, my commute on transit between Langley and SkyTrain can take double the time in the afternoon compared to the morning. This is reflected in TransLink’s data about the corridor.

Transit and private vehicle travel times today, and with B-Line service in 2019, during the peak PM travel period. Select image to enlarge.

Transit can take between 58 to 69 minutes in the afternoon today. With the introduction of B-Line service, TransLink wants to speed up transit service. The agency has made funding available to install bus priority measures along the Fraser Highway corridor which if approved by Surrey, Langley City, Langley Township, and the BC Ministry of Transportation, could double the speed of transit during the most congested parts of the day.

According to Freeman, TransLink completed an extensive public consultation. He stated that TransLink found that 77% of people, whether in Surrey or Langley, supported adding transit priority measures along Fraser Highway.

Some of the measures that TransLink would like municipalities to consider are queue-jumper lanes (like on King George Boulevard), traffic lights that are timed to speed up buses, bus-only lanes, and HOV lanes. TransLink is also willing to pay for 100% of the costs to implement these measures to speed up transit.

TransLink is looking for Langley City to support adding queue-jumper lanes, HOV/bus lanes, and signal prioritization in our community as shown in the following map.

Transit priority measures under consideration in Langley City. Select image to enlarge.

One of the busiest sections of road in Langley City is Fraser Highway between the Langley Bypass and 200 Street. Our transportation system should be about moving people and goods in the best way possible. I asked Freeman how TransLink was going to ensure that the number of people and goods travelling through that section of road would be able to increase, especially given the at-grade rail crossing.

Freeman stated that they are looking into the advanced train warning system that is currently being installed which will direct people to the 204 Street and 196 Street overpasses when trains are coming. He also noted that Translink will be doing further research to ensure that there is adequate capacity for all modes of travel whether by transit, biking, walking, or driving along the Fraser Highway corridor.

I am looking forward to transit priority measures being implemented along the Fraser Highway corridor as it will give people a way out of congestion, getting people to where they need to be faster.

Langley City council unanimously passed the following motion:

  1. THAT Council receive the Translink presentation (delegation at July 9 meeting), ‘Fraser Highway B-Line Consultation Results & Transit Priority’; and
  2. THAT Council endorse the Fraser Highway B-Line & Transit Priority concept in the City of Langley; and
  3. THAT staff be directed to continue to work collaboratively with Translink and stakeholders to maximize B-Line opportunities for transit priority, assess traffic and possible parking impacts, and address concerns arising from the implementation of the project; and
  4. THAT staff report back with further details of recommended transit priority measures and the implications for all transportation users along the corridor.

Yesterday, I posted about development proposals in our community. Tomorrow, I will be posting about the remaining items covered at Monday night’s Langley City council meeting.

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