This week, I’m going to cover some of the major projects that are planned to be implemented in 5-10 years after a Yes vote to the upcoming transit ballot. If Metro Vancouver residents vote Yes to the 0.5% PST increase, then 2020-2025 will see some of the largest transportation projects ever in the history of our region.
The planned Surrey Light Rapid Transit project is the largest of all the projects to be funded by the 0.5% increase in the PST. The Surrey LRT would actually be made up of 2 different LRT lines. The first line is what the City of Surrey currently calls the “L-Line.” It would run from Guildford Town Centre to Surrey Central and then turn south and head south along King George Boulevard to Newton. The route is marked in crimson red on the map below. The route is currently served by the 96 B-Line. The B-Line express bus service would essentially be replaced by this LRT line.
The 2nd line is the Surrey-Langley line that runs from Surrey Central along Fraser Highway to Langley Town Centre. In a previous post, I talked about a proposed B-Line bus that follows the same route. The proposed B-Line is essentially the precursor to the LRT. It’s similar to how the Canada Line rapid transit line replaced the now decommissioned 98 B-Line along Granville Street and No. 3 Road.
Light Rail Transit can carry as many people as a SkyTrain, but it runs along the surface. Stops are much closer together. Even though LRT is on the ground, it is often separated from traffic to allow the trains to run faster. Details on exact alignments, traffic segregation, and stops will not be known until the LRT has secured funding. LRT can run frequently, but not as frequent as the super-frequent 2 minutes that the SkyTrain can accomplish.
Between these 2 lines, the price tag is an estimated $2.1 billion. Annual operating costs are projected to be $23.2 million.
The Surrey-Langley LRT lines would totally change transportation south of the Fraser River as we know it. Currently, the communities south of the Fraser are like most suburban communities around North America – car-friendly. If LRT is built, it will be a game-changer. I would actually think of taking a weekend day-trip by transit all the way to Langley. Right now, I would never consider it. Huge transportation choice will come to Surrey and Langley if the LRT is built.
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.