Light rail system may be the wrong choice

Surrey’s primary transportation corridors need to be serviced with high-capacity, reliable and expandable rapid transit service.

I have a few important points to share about Surrey’s transportation future.

Currently dominating the “vibrant” future of the City of Surrey is a cataclysmic light rail transit scheme that may make transit service worse instead of better.

Surrey’s primary transportation corridors need to be serviced with high-capacity, reliable and expandable rapid transit service. The city’s push for LRT (light rail transit) over SkyTrain RRT (rapid rail transit) may be a mistake.

Firstly, LRT will not improve service. In fact, LRT may even end up reducing (not increasing) the overall transit capacity of a corridor. Congestion increases associated with the removal of traffic lanes will not only disrupt parallel bus service, but also disrupt communities and stall economic development.

LRT’s slower speed (approximately 10-15 km/h slower than RRT) also renders it uncompetitive with the automobile, which may result in lower service popularity.

LRT is not “future-proof.” Due to frequency limitations caused by communication restrictions, the only way to expand LRT service once having reached frequency capacity would be to lengthen trains, requiring costly station extensions and street-scaping.

Misinformation from LRT advocates is responsible for deceptive claims that SkyTrain RRT will cost “billions” to build versus just “millions” with LRT.

Several refer to rough ballparks of about $110 million/km to describe the costs of RRT, derived from the Evergreen Line and Canada Line. These lines contained many special provisions (including underground bored tunnels) and the cost per kilometre cannot be reasonably compared to the cost of expanding SkyTrain in Surrey. The 1994 extension of SkyTrain in Surrey to King George from Scott Road Station was, in fact, the cheapest per kilometre to construct at just $66 million/km (and that’s in 2011 dollars).

To adopt a LRT system would be challenging; LRT would require many special provisions of its own. Aside from new rolling stock, a new maintenance centre and yard would have to be built and employees would have to be trained.

It is likely that after factoring in the capital cost to start up the system as well as the possible need to upgrade several roads parallel to LRT corridors, LRT in Surrey will cost not significantly less to implement than RRT expansion.

It is widely accepted that transportation is one of the most pressing issues in Surrey.  The right choice for the City of Surrey’s transportation future needs to be made.

Daryl Dela Cruz

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young Muslims offer helping hand to isolated residents throughout Lower Mainland

Neighbourhood Helper campaign aims to get help to people who can’t leave their homes

South Surrey man aims to ease stress of pandemic with free online yoga

Patrick Aubert says his one-hour classes are about rest, recovery

White Rock’s promenade to close to the public

Public access to popular waterfront walkway closing April 10: city

Christopherson Steps, 1,001 Steps closed due to COVID-19

Access restricted to Crescent Beach over Easter weekend, City of Surrey announces

LETTER: With a long road of recovery ahead, Surrey must keep RCMP

To change for the sake of change shows weak leadership, inability to understand needs of community

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Controls can keep Canadian COVID-19 deaths under 22,000, health agency says

With poor containment measures, the death toll could be much, much higher, the agency says

People needing addictions services feel ‘abandoned’ during pandemic, B.C.’s ex-top doctor says

Widespread job losses and more homelessness due to physical distancing at shelters have added hurdles

Canada lost 1,011,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate up to 7.8%: StatCan

Unemployment rate hits levels not seen since 2010

COVID-19 world update: 6.6 million U.S. jobless claims; alcohol sales banned in Bangkok

Comprehensive digest of coronavirus news items from around the world

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Most Read