LETTER: Surrey’s light rail poll is suspect, as is affect LRT would have on lanes

Surrey says it has taken a poll of 600 and trumpets that 80 per cent of residents agree with LRT. I have some concerns...

Is LRT right for Surrey? Email edit@thenownewspaper.com.

The Editor,

What’s best for Surrey, LRT or SkyTrain?  Much has been written about both.

I keep looking at the City of Surrey’s web page for some answers and other than a few general drawings of where the LRT lines and stations may be, I’ve seen no drawing of what it will actually look like on any of the roads it is proposed to be built on.

Surrey says it has taken a poll of 600 residents and trumpets that 80 per cent of residents agree with LRT.  Six hundred out of 500,000 residents gives you 80 per cent in favour?  Did any of those polled actually see what LRT will look like say at the intersection of Fraser Highway and 160th Street or any other intersection?

I have some concerns. Although I will use the above intersection as an example, it could be applied elsewhere.

Currently, Fraser Highway at 160th Street has two east- and two west-bound lanes and two opposing left turn lanes for a maximum of five lanes. If Fraser Highway is to remain a four-lane road with left turn lanes, now add two rail lines down the centre and you now have, not five lanes as it currently is, but eight lanes.

With LRT you will have two through lanes on either side, a left turn lane on each side of the tracks in the middle and the east and west rail lines and somewhere in all this is a station at ground level.

How will adding all these lanes affect the business at that intersection? Where will all the property come from to widen the intersection? How will pedestrians cross eight lanes safely?

One way to decrease the width would be to make Fraser Highway only one lane each way instead of two thus making six lanes wide instead of eight.

I don’t think that option would be too popular.

If my idea here becomes fact, when making a left turn, you will have to cross two tracks and two lanes of traffic, where presently, you only cross two traffic lanes.

I have seen articles talking about other cities adopting or have adopted LRT as a solution.  Calgary and Edmonton both have LRT which, if you check it out, run mostly on dedicated rights of way and not down the centre of the street as proposed for Surrey.

Ottawa is building LRT but using their busway roads for the trains. San Diego, Portland, and Seattle have LRT but also have dedicated rail lines.  I’ve ridden on the San Diego lines which are at-grade only in the city centre. Their new line from downtown via the football stadium to El Cajon is on a dedicated right of way.

As I understand it, none of Surrey’s proposed LRT will be built on dedicated road beds.

Keith Wilson, Surrey

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