This is an open letter to Mayor Derek Corrigan, chair of the Mayors’ Council:
I am writing in support of Surrey’s Light Rail Transit project.
In fact, the Surrey Board of Trade would like to see all 27 kilometres of the proposed light rail to be built as soon as is feasible. In our most recent Surrey Road Survey, more than 80 per cent support to strongly support the building of the “City Centre-Guildford-Newton” and over 85 per cent support LRT along Fraser Highway through to Langley City.
Surrey is growing rapidly, and as it grows, the opportunity exists to shape it into a world-class destination in its own right. With nearly 1,000 new residents coming monthly, the need for a vision has never been more necessary. The LRT provides an opportunity to consider how to manage the growth, where to densify, how to move people, and how to create commercial space while achieving an attractive streetscape.
Businesses are on board with creating an economically viable city that is attractive to clients, customers, and employees alike. LRT sparks development along its corridors, a mid-rise, medium density, mixed-use type of development that will attract both families and business to the area while also maintaining affordability.
|Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.|
We have done our due diligence and read through all available reports. We have had roundtables and panel dialogues. We have had all of our advocacy team members review material and provide feedback (12 teams with over 400 volunteers). We’ve reviewed the number of technology and route alternatives that were examined using multiple metrics to evaluate their effectiveness.
The Surrey Board of Trade has taken the position that the project should be completed in one phase to capitalize on lower construction costs and LRT fleet vehicles, and the simple fact that waiting for phase 2 will unnecessarily delay needed transit through Surrey.
We are concerned that those who oppose LRT in favour of increased buses and a SkyTrain down Fraser Highway are not fully considering what they are saying no to, or conversely what they would be saying yes to, if they in fact succeed to influence decision-makers.
Three things we know will occur if there is no support for LRT:
- Increasing B-line buses will very quickly increase congestion on those routes as more and more would be required to move commuters, but they would still not be sufficient to meet anticipated future population growth as quickly as the LRT on its dedicated lanes — and within 10-15 years would need to be replaced with LRT to meet the demand.
- The cost of the Surrey-Langley line is nearly a billion dollars more to build SkyTrain than LRT, money that can be spent elsewhere on needed infrastructure and services.
- The ability to quickly adapt to growing town centres and expand the system through the large Surrey geography will be severely compromised by putting all available and future funding into one option.
With over 400 LRT systems worldwide, we know that this is a system that has proved itself many times over.
Without doubt, the LRT is the best system, dollar for dollar, for Surrey and South of Fraser.
Anita Huberman is CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.