(Photo: Now-Leader file)

LETTERS: Sorry, Anita, but best route for Surrey is SkyTrain

Three readers take exception to recent guest column by Surrey Board of Trade CEO on light rail

The Editor,

Re: “Without a doubt, LRT is best system for Surrey,” the Now-Leader, Jan. 26.

It is interesting that Anita Huberman and the Surrey Board of Trade believe that they, as a group, should decide what kind of transit system Surrey should have for probably the next 50 years.

One would think that in a democracy there would be a referendum so that all the citizens of Surrey could have a say.

An online poll by the Now-Leader showed that an overwhelming majority of Surrey citizens who responded chose SkyTrain over LRT streetcars. Yet, for years Huberman and the SBoT have pushed, first of all, former mayor Dianne Watts and now current mayor Linda Hepner to impose train tracks on the streets of Surrey.

Surrey has never held a referendum to determine the wishes of voters regarding SkyTrain versus LRT streetcars.

There are some obvious advantages of SkyTrain that Huberman and our mayor ignore:

  • Footprint. As SkyTrain is elevated, its footprint on the ground and its impact on traffic flow is minimal compared to taking out lanes of traffic in order to lay down train tracks for streetcars. SkyTrain travels over traffic. Street-level LRT streetcar train tracks take over space where vehicles could drive. Eliminating two lanes of vehicular traffic on 104th Avenue in order to impose two lines of train tracks is insanity.
  • Safety. SkyTrain does not run over pedestrians or crash into cars. Unfortunately, sometimes streetcars do.
  • Speed. People want to get where they are going quickly. SkyTrain is far more rapid than LRT streetcars. By traveling over traffic, SkyTrain does not impede and is not slowed by traffic. If there is a tie-up at an intersection, SkyTrain is not affected. The same cannot be said for LRT streetcars. LRT streetcars stop at traffic lights. SkyTrain does not. What people want is a fast, efficient way to get where they are going.

A report from an infrastructure expert with an international record suggests that Surrey is not on the right track when it comes to light rail. He gave LRT a poor score.

“In reality, there is a meaningful risk that a project undertaken without a proper business case could end up making citizens lives worse,” he wrote. He argued that the Canada Line and Millennium Line Evergreen Extension show “significant value creation” whereas the first phase of the Surrey LRT “is expected to destroy value.” Linda Hepner said his report “sounds biased.” It is Hepner and Huberman who are biased.

The best route for Surrey is to expand Skytrain like our neighbouring municipalities have.

Dennis Hutton, Surrey

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Guest column on LRT was an insult to Surrey readers

The Editor,

Re: “Without a doubt, LRT is best system for Surrey,” the Now-Leader, Jan. 26.

Surrey Board of Trade’s Anita Huberman’s guest column is an insult to your readers and the citizens of this city. Surrey has contributed a significant proportion of Metro’s Translink revenue through multiple zone charges and residential taxes.

We are not asked to settle for second-class, ground transport when others benefit from SkyTrain. LRT works in cities designed around it – not when it is retrofitted.

Surrey’s road system is already an unsafe disaster. If the mayor is so confident in her position, put it to a referendum and let the voters decide.

Come to think of it, that’s what November’s election may just address that.

Paul Sandhu, Surrey

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Surrey was promised SkyTrain 30 years ago

The Editor,

Re: “Without a doubt, LRT is best system for Surrey,” the Now-Leader, Jan. 26.

Congratulations to Anita Huberman on her attendance and graduation from the Lumberjack Linda school of transportation initiatives. Your expertise in this area is greatly appreciated but somehow flawed. Many experts have weighed in on the issue and have said the exact opposite is, in fact, true. LRT is going to cause more problems than it solves.

An at-grade system will neither speed traffic up nor get it off the roads. One stop every four blocks will not encourage people to stop and shop along the road, and accidents will abound.

Do you actually live in this area? Have you seen 104th Avenue on a day when there is an accident at or near the freeway and traffic is backed up? Can you imagine that on a daily basis? Because you can bet it will happen often.

We the people, although informed of the decision for LRT, have never really been consulted! Survey after survey have been done, and each one has said we don’t want LRT. Seventy-six per cent against was the last survey, and the one before that was 85 per cent against. Is anyone listening to the citizens of this city? Buses are much more flexible and their routes can be changed if necessary where this rail won’t be moved on a whim.

Will it take someone getting killed before you all realize that Lumberjack Linda’s desire to drive an itty-bitty train could be done in Bear Creek Park without putting the rest of us out? Will it be a pedestrian or a driver that is killed, or will it be someone waiting for an ambulance that can’t get to a home or business because of the traffic backup?

SkyTrain is what we were promised 30-plus years ago and that is what we deserve now, to connect us to Langley and parts beyond. Surrey should not be treated as a second-class city. We deserve better.

Tracie Woodhams, Surrey



edit@surreynowleader.com

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