Interurban gets rough ride from TransLink

TransLink’s proposed designs for transit expansion in Surrey are an exercise in behind-the-scenes manipulation.Ten designs are presented, and the public is led to believe that because there are so many options to choose from, TransLink must be listening.

In fact, TransLink has ignored one of the main tenets that experts around the world agree is crucial to building a cost-effective transit network: Utilize existing infrastructure where possible. For Surrey, this means the existing Interurban rail line.

The Interurban line has been the subject of extensive study. Years ago, TransLink itself studied using the corridor for a West Coast Express-style commuter rail system. That study found the corridor to be too narrow and too curvy to be feasible for that type of system. This is not at all surprising, since the Interurban line was originally intended with light rail in mind – the line was designed for small Interurbans, not huge WCE trains.

Since then, the line has been well researched, with numerous studies and technical analyses (viewable at www.railforthevalley.com/studies) all concluding the same thing – that the line has the ability to provide needed light rail for Surrey that is cost-effective and quick to implement.

Not only would Delta and Newton be served by the line, the Interurban would also connect Surrey with Cloverdale, Langley and beyond.

How long must Surrey wait? The Interurban is a valuable piece of the Surrey transit puzzle, but the provincially controlled TransLink continues to turn a blind eye to it, even in the face of expert opinion and the support of Mayor Dianne Watts.

For an organization still struggling to fund the Evergreen Line, now 20 years in the planning, and continuing to beg municipalities for more money, TransLink’s obtuseness on the Interurban is unforgivable.

 

John Buker

Rail For the Valley

Surrey North Delta Leader

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