Rendering of Surrey's proposed light rail lines

Toronto planning boss pitches LRT in Surrey

Jennifer Keesmaat says the light rail transit has the benefit of creating livable places along its route

A Toronto planning expert is in Surrey this week laying out the benefits of light rail transit (LRT).

Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s chief planner, spoke at city hall on Wednesday night, elaborating on the benefits of light rail.

One of the biggest advantages is the that it contributes to “place making,” creating areas at rail stops which create a warm and inviting feeling of place.

Her team of planners is working on the construction of Toronto’s $7-billion Eglington-Crosstown LRT project.

She has successfully recommended several transit offerings for Toronto, including rapid transit, standard rail and LRT.

“You can never solve all your problems with one project,” Keesmaat told The Leader in an interview Wednesday. “You always have to look at how your network works.”

Rapid transit is great for when you want to get people great distances at a high speed.

Local transit requires a lighter touch.

“It’s about place making, it’s about affordable housing, it’s about local commerce, it’s about creating main streets,” Keesmaat said.

“I would argue that if Surrey, or any other suburban municipality, wants to begin to transition into becoming a place where people can work and play, then don’t put some high-speed infrastructure in the sky, start creating destinations in your city you can access from excellent transit.”

Surrey has been working to get the LRT lines along 104 Avenue into Guildford and to Newton from City Centre, known as the L-Lines. In addition, the city is hoping a line down Fraser Highway, connecting Surrey City Centre, with Fleetwood, Clayton and the Langleys.

Finding the $2.7 billion to pay for it has been a challenge so far.

And the plan has opponents.

SkyTrain for Surrey advocate Daryl Dela Cruz proposes SkyTrain to Langley on Fraser Highway – which would get riders boarding in Langley to Waterfront Station in under an hour – and bus rapid transit instead of light rail on other corridors.

Light rail on King George would be only one minute faster than the existing 96 B-Line express bus to Newton, he said, while 104 Avenue would end up more congested with the loss of a lane of traffic to LRT.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

Tejwant Danjou was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna

New collective debuts with Crescent Beach show

Nela Hallwas and Lyn Verra-Lay team for ‘Flow’

Former students’ mural showcasing Delta elementary school’s new logo on hold, for now

Ashriya and Karam Purewal painted the spirit logo last spring; formal logo mural delayed due to COVID

Police ask for help to identify suspect in alleged Surrey break-and-enter

Surrey RCMP say two men ‘kicked down the front door’ of the home

Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

Compared with city’s 2019 weekly average, deepest volume reduction was in late March with up to 46 per cent less vehicles

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read