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City touts LRT plan in new video

The City has updated an early video visualizing LRT in Surrey, showcasing the new rendering on the front page of its corporate website. Entitled “The City of Surrey’s Vision for Rapid Transit,” the new video includes a voiceover, explaining the benefits of LRT to the community, as well as additional shots showing trains running through the City.

The video highlights three potential routes the City is planning for LRT: east to Guildford along 104th Ave, south along King George to Newton or South Surrey, and south-east to Langley along Fraser Highway.

The fact that this plan is being placed front and centre on the City’s website proves that it truly believes in LRT and is willing to publicly state that much. Along with the Mayor’s loud call for LRT earlier this year, it is now quite clear which transit option the City desires to pursue.

What remains confusing though is how this “vision” from the City aligns with the Rapid Transit Study it is currently participating in with TransLink. Although yet complete, early results from that effort show that TransLink intends to pursue a single SkyTrain extension to Langley along Fraser, rather than a broader network of Light Rail across the South of Fraser.

If the City has already decided it will aggressively pursue LRT, then what was the entire purpose of the TransLink study? If TransLink has its sights set on SkyTrain, who will get the final say on what system gets built? Don’t the two public authorities seem to be butting heads?


  1. Butting heads seems to be the defining quality of transit discussion in Metro Vancouver. Everyone wants major improvements, (world class transit according to Stephanie Ryan ) but no one wants to pay for it. I always ask – do you folks want LRT as rapid transit or as fancy streetcars?

    As a strong LRT advocate here in Calgary, I have no qualms saying that Skytrain is the superior technology. I’ve long thought that the smart win/win would have been pushing for a Skytrain extension to Newton in conjunction with LRT (as rapid transit) running on a Richmond/Newton/Langley route. (Approx. 50% of the route could use railway ROW.) It could later swing north and shoot up to Maple Meadows.

    If Surrey truly believes in LRT, borrow the money and build the Surrey Centre/Guilford route. It’s approx 4-5 km. Build a “temporary” garage facility.

    • Erik

      I actually have heard this was a possible plan. Surrey would invest in its own transit expansion. Since living next to the most greedy city in the west isn’t helping.
      Vancouver is the LA of Canada its thinks its all about itself.

    • Jesse Hausner

      I can’t really agree with those routes because they continue the trend towards “getting people to Vancouver.” For Surrey to take the next step, transit development has to be built not just for moving people but for moving people smartly which in this case is towards “getting people to Surrey.”

      They keep touting Central Surrey as the next downtown so any development of transit in my opinion has to be Central Surrey centric. Newton has to terminus at Central Surrey. Langley has to terminus there too. As with Guildford. You will then have multiple major centers and 1 full city with direct rapid transit to central Surrey upping the development potential 10 fold.

      I do agree though that they should start building and start with Guildford. For that to happen they need to in conjunction widen 100th AVE through to Guildford so that we don’t lose a lane of traffic with the compression of 104th. Eventually we may not need the traffic lanes as people move towards LRT and leave their cars at home, but that takes time and you want people to buy into LRT.

      If LRT disrupts traffic and makes people angry, it will be a harder sell on other lines so it has to be built smartly and not confrontationally.

      LRT down 104th, divert traffic patterns for cars to 108th and 100th, and you’re golden. When the SFPR is done you’ll reduce some 104th and 96th traffic as it is so things won’t be net worst.

      • Traveller

        This is going to be happening every day if 104th is reduced to a single lane. Sending more traffic on 100th or 108th isn’t the answer either, as congestion increases can impact the surrounding community (and this is happening right now, try standing on 100th at 154th or 148th during the morning and PM rush).

        I have good reason to believe that the SFPR will not significantly reduce traffic on 104th. While 104th is a major goods movement and commute corridor, it mainly serves (between King George & 152nd) traffic into and out of city centre movements. I wouldn’t doubt that 96th, 88th and 152nd, which all serve as major crosstown corridors, would see traffic drop, however.

  2. Geoff

    I find it interesting in both the older and newer versions of the video that it always stops short of showing the trains terminating at Guildford. Given the city-savvy image Surrey is trying to promote, it’s pretty hard to spin that mall’s redevelopment as anything other than (glorified) suburban sprawl.

  3. Jesse Hausner

    A larger more densified Guildford mall actually means less demand for suburban sprawl big box malls like in Queensborough or Morgan. Being a mall doesn’t = suburban sprawl and they’re actually reducing the parking footprint at Guildford and opening up the Sears side for redevelopment. I wouldn’t classify the area around Metrotown or Brentwood mall as being ‘sprawl’. What about Oakridge or Pacific?

    Anyway, regarding the article, I’m not sure if it is actually butting heads. Let’s face it, a Skytrain line would cost all people money which would lighten the burden on Surrey financially compared to going alone on 1 route. I still am of the opinion you’re going to see 2 things happen in the next 10 years.

    1. LRT built by Surrey between Central Surrey and Guildford & Newton (2 lines)
    2. Skytrain extension by Translink down Fraser Highway to Langley

    Do I think that is the best option? I’m not sure. I think connecting to Langley from Surrey Central is more regional than anything and SkyTrain has the capacity to handle it better than road based LRT does not to mention with the widening of Fraser Highway already adding LRT to that route would require even more trees to be cut down through Green Timbers compared to SkyTrain which can be built over top of the traffic through that stretch.

    Is Skytrain a heck of a lot more expensive? Absolutely. But it would legitamize downtown Surrey as just that, a downtown for the Fraser Valley. Another offshoot is not having to spend money on a line down Fraser Highway to Langley means Surrey could better spend that money on in my opinion not only:

    1. Extending the LRT from Newton to South Surrey

    but also

    2. Extending the LRT from Guildford up 152nd through Fleetwood (SkyTrain connection) through Fraser Heights (which is another mini town center under development still) and to South Surrey.

    You’d then give South Surrey residents 2 options either to go downtown or to go to Guildford creating a big loop.

    Either way though I think Surrey is simply trying to put a lot of pressure on Translink but their plans aren’t conflicting as of yet. Let’s face it both videos show the route to Guildford over and over so I think that’s the first line we’re going to see in Surrey.

    • Geoff

      I think we hold to different definitions of sprawl. Mine refers more or less to how a building meets the street, and therefore how pedestrian-friendly it is, how it encourages people to interact with the wider community of which it is a part. By this reasoning, Brentwood and Metrotown constitute sprawl, and Guildford even moreso, while Central City in its present state is a borderline case (it meets one street very well, but disregards the rest entirely).

      Oakridge would be less so. I wouldn’t classify Pacific Centre as sprawl.

      (From my mother’s apartment I can see several big, blank walls for Guildford’s expanded Walmart/parking facilities facing a pedestrian walkway from a high-density residential neighbourhood. In an area that’s already got something of a crime problem, development along these lines – no “eyes on the street” – demonstrates a patent disregard for any kind of community building. I probably wouldn’t walk there after dusk, and, since I’ve never seen anyone using the walkway from my birds-eye perspective, evidently I’m not alone).

      My main point, however, is that compared to all the glitzy buildings Surrey has planned for its downtown, and the larger urban-focused vision it has for the area, Guildford – in both its present and future manifestations – is a suburban turd that’s mighty hard to polish. The rooftop parking might be an improvement, but rooftop parking does not in itself demonstrate good, community-oriented urban planning.

      I don’t think I’m alone in this opinion. Watch the video: Why else would the train in city’s LRT promotion video (which I’d say constitute advertising for corporate investment rather than any set-in-stone plan) stop just short of Guildford? Surrey is trying to market itself to overseas investors as a “city,” “the region’s next metropolitan core,” etc., etc. Despite being a mere three or four LRT stops away from downtown, Guildford doesn’t fit this image at all. (and likely won’t for at least another quarter century, which I’d imagine is the soonest that mall will be redeveloped given the intensive renovation currently underway).

      Anyway, if I say too much more about Guildford, I’ll come across as trolling. With regard to the video, I’m merely reading between the lines.

  4. Chris

    Wow, you can have stations stopping all along 104 ave. for picking up your drugs, prostitutes, and visiting a crack house. If your lucky you can see a few shootings. 104 ave. is a ditch.