Here’s the fourth post in my project-by-project look at the Regional Transportation Investments that will transform Metro Vancouver as we know it. It’s yet another B-Line that is south of the Fraser River.
Fraser Highway B-Line
The proposed Fraser Highway B-Line from Surrey Centre to Langley Town Centre is a monster bus route. It travels a total of 16.6 km and goes through 3 different municipalities – Surrey, Langley, and Langley Township. The B-Line is planned to start operation within the first 5 years of a YES vote.
Surrey Centre is undergoing a huge transformation. My recent post on Changing Surrey showcases some of the major changes happening in the area. Surrey Centre is really becoming the core of all the municipalities south of the Fraser River. It is already turning into the major commercial hub for Surrey, Delta, and Langley. It’s important that transit serve this area to give the residents south of the Fraser some choice in reaching this major centre.
Langley, on the other end, is a busy regional hub as well. It’s not shaping into a major commercial centre, but it is important for it’s large retail presence. The last time I went through Langley, I couldn’t believe the amount of traffic in and around the centre. Most of the traffic seemed to be heading to Willowbrook Mall and other surrounding shopping complexes with their large surface parking lots.
This Surrey Centre/Langley B-Line (and the planned Fraser Highway LRT to eventually replace it) will connect two important south of the Fraser town centres. The Fraser Highway has always been a major thoroughfare and would stand to benefit from better transit along it. Two major neighbourhoods in Surrey would also be serviced by this route – Fleetwood and Clayton Heights.
Currently, the route is served by the slow 502 Langley Centre/Surrey Central Station bus that takes 46 minutes or the much faster 503 Aldergrove/Surrey Central Station that takes 28 minutes. Unfortunately, the 503 only comes every half hour. My guess is that the new B-Line would provide the same speed of service of the 503, but then come much more frequently.
The estimated capital costs for the B-Line are $11.9 million and operating costs are pegged at $6.1 million. I have a question in my mind whether those costs will be well spent if a Surrey-Langley LRT is in the works. I guess it depends how quickly an LRT can get off the ground. If there is over a 10 year window to completion of an LRT, then the B-Line will be money well spent to get some sort of frequent rapid bus service in the meantime.
Disclosure: I do own property in Surrey Centre. This project could benefits for Surrey Centre’s real estate market. I must disclose that I could benefit from this project and others that involve Surrey Centre.
The ballots will be sent out by March 16, 2015 and residents of Metro Vancouver will have until May 29, 2015 to mail in their votes. Voting YES for a 0.5% increase in the provincial sales tax will cost the average household only a 1-2 hundred dollars a year, but it will provide financial stability for a great variety of transportation projects that will transform Metro Vancouver. A YES vote will benefit your mobility and my mobility in the region. Please vote Yes to better transportation.