Urban sprawl a growing Lower Mainland problem: UBC prof

Surrey ramps up city planning as light-rail transit gets closer




The Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver areas are expected to grow almost 50 per cent within the next 20 years. That’s an added 150,000 people in the Fraser Valley and 1.4 million in Metro Vancouver.

Where will they all go? According to UBC community planning professor Lawrence Frank, it should be city centres easily accessed by public transit.

“One of the biggest problems that we face is that some of the suburban cities are permitting an incredible amount of development away from transit,” said Frank. “The low density development away from transit is car-dependent, making it difficult for transit to work.”

Getting more people to take transit reduces congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Buses fit more people into less space than cars, while rail transit takes passengers off the road entirely.

According to Statistics Canada, one-fifth of Metro Vancouver residents already take public transit to work.

Soon, even more commuters could be taking transit to work, as south of the Fraser communities introduce two light rail lines with 19 stops stretching over 27 kilometres with a projected ridership of 170,000 people per day.

The City of Surrey’s urban planning department has kicked into overdrive with public consultations on light rail, which is part of the regional mayors’ 10-year vision for transportation.

Surrey community planner Preet Heer said the municipality has been working on how to best integrate new transit lines into an ever-expanding city for years. Surrey is the fastest growing city in Metro Vancouver and its population is expected to grow by 300,000 people over the next three decades.

RELATED: Survey says most Surrey residents support light rail

“The fact is that Surrey is diverse and huge and has lots of areas for growth,” said Heer.

Surrey plans out development by identifying frequent transit corridors in its official community plan, Heer said. Frequent transit is any public transit that comes every 15 minutes or less – bus or rail.

Then, city staff try to align growth along those corridors and in its town centres – such as City Centre and Guildford – by setting out density expectation for developers.

Surrey held three open houses in January for the Surrey Central-Newton-Guildford portion of the light rail lines.

“We’re taking a good hard look at exactly what kind of uses there are along that corridor,” Heer said.

Phase one of the light rail would connect Surrey City Centre and Guildford Town Centre along 104 Avenue, and Surrey City Centre and Newton Town Centre along King George Boulevard.

RELATED: Surrey light rail could cost $2.6 billion

Heer said the city has already identified gaps along the City Centre-Guildford Town Centre line.

“We’ve identified 104 Avenue as a place where there could be more density,” she said.

There, the process that will take place will be much like what’s occurred in City Centre over the past few years.

“We just completed a plan showing areas where higher densities would be acceptable, as well as other uses that go along with that,” said Heer. “We’re starting to see changes already around the SkyTrain areas in terms of a mix of higher density residential and commercial uses.”

 

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

Councillor Doug Elford. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Elford to join Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society as a director

Fellow Safe Surrey Coalition Councillors Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Allison Patton will be re-appointed to the board

(Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey council moves to reduce parking along rapid transit corridors

This also targets rental housing developments in Rapid Transit Areas

Big Splash water park is located in Tsawwassen. (submitted photo)
Big Splash reopens Canada Day with changes to keep the water park ‘safe for everyone’

Executive Hotels & Resorts has owned and operated the attraction since 2017

A cyclist stops traffic to allow a gaggle of geese cross the road. (Tino Fluckiger photo)
White Rock man asks motorists to be mindful of wildlife after close call

Impatient motorists drives into oncoming traffic

Elgin Park Secondary students rally for climate change outside of their South Surrey in 2019. (Nick Greenizan photo)
City of Surrey set to host online climate-action panel

June 23 Zoom event to include speakers, question-and-answer period

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read