Businesses, residents call for light rapid transit

Group called Light Rail Links forms to push for rail lines down some south-of-Fraser corridors

Business groups are calling for light rail in Surrey.

Business groups are calling for light rail in Surrey.

Business and community groups are lining up behind Surrey’s mayor in a call for light rapid transit along some of the city’s major corridors.

Mayor Dianne Watts has long called for light rapid transit which she argues would be more affordable than SkyTrain along King George Boulevard to Newton, Fraser Highway to Langley, and 104 Avenue to Guildford.

On Tuesday, the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Association (FVREA), the Downtown Surrey BIA, and community groups joined the chorus calling for light rail.

Scott Olson, past president of the FVREA, said the lobbying will be intense.

“We will be talking to everyone our local communities, TransLink and the B.C. and federal governments about the immediate need for light rail south of the Fraser to ensure livable, connected, sustainable neighbourhoods are developed,” Olson said.

“Light Rail Links believes light rail is the most cost-effective and high-quality form of rapid transit to address the needs of our communities and the rapidly increasing population.

SBOT CEO Anita Huberman agreed.

“Experience with light rail systems in other cities such as Portland, Oregon shows that housing developments and businesses will invest and build near the easy-to-access, at-grade light rail stations,” she said.

“Light rail has been good for business in other jurisdictions, and it will be good for business here in Surrey. Light rail is essential for the South Fraser region’s economic development.

Rick Hart, president of the Fleetwood Community Association, said light rail is important in shaping communities south of the Fraser.

“We want to make sure that, as Surrey grows, we create communities that are inter-connected and family-friendly,” Hart said.

Huberman said it’s no mistake this issue is coming up a week before the provincial election.

In fact, it was announced the same day as an all-candidates’ meeting hosted by the SBOT.

The businesses and residents are members of Light Rail Links, which recently formed as a result of the growing movement of individuals and groups advocating for Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Surrey. Light Rail Links is made up of community supporters that represent a variety of interests, including business, community and neighbourhood groups and the tourism sector.

To learn more about the Light Rail Links Community Coalition and its upcoming activities, visit www.lightraillinks.com and follow Twitter at @LightRailLinks.

To learn more about the City of Surrey’s vision for light rail, visit http://www.surrey.ca/city-services/10797.aspx.

@diakiw

 

Surrey North Delta Leader