I read an article about why Fraser Valley Light Rapid Transit (LRT) should come before the Evergreen Line, and what was said bothers me.
I am familiar and have liked Rail for the Valley’s plan, however I now have doubts on whether this is the right choice. Outward regional rail expansion may not be immediately successful and profitable and may only deter and compromise investments in other important communities.
Surrey will be the ultimate hub south of the Fraser and this rail line. However, intra-Surrey transit expansion along busy corridors is needed first. Why? Surrey remains immature as a “big city” and is still mostly comprised of lower-density suburban development. Though a downtown core is materializing, development for it is slowing down. New lots in Clayton and Grandview – outward Surrey and Langley suburban sprawl areas – are causing environmental damage due to the agricultural or forest land that must be cleared, while lots in the middle of Whalley or Guildford remain empty and are not being developed at all.
Though I believe that a commuter rail service will be able to serve the Valley fairly well and provide a great alternative to driving, I believe our money needs to be first spent on infrastructure supporting the City of Surrey.
The Tri-Cities need investment as well; I recognize the need to connect the upward-growing Tri-Cities area with the rest of the region through the Evergreen Line.
I am also a strong supporter of construction of higher-capacity SkyTrain in Surrey over light rail to connect and serve Surrey, whose population in 30 to 40 years is going to be bigger than a city served by three or more SkyTrain lines.
Redirecting limited funding to build an interurban transit line that mostly serves areas outside Metro Vancouver may not bring change to one of the more important Metro Vancouver communities it passes through: Surrey. And without the change in that community, this rail line may not even succeed.
We could build light rail before the Evergreen Line and other expansions… but is that really the right choice?
Daryl Dela Cruz, Surrey