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Transportation, Urbanized, News

Overwhelming support for new SkyTrain in Surrey and Langley: TransLink survey

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Kenneth Chan May 23, 2019 12:22 pm 294

There is a consensus amongst local residents in Surrey and Langley, and across the region, that SkyTrain is the right technology decision for the Fraser Highway rapid transit project between King George Station and Langley Centre.

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TransLink released the findings of the first stage of its public consultation for the proposed Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project, which received nearly 21,300 survey responses, with about 17,000 from residents in Surrey and Langley. The survey was conducted throughout April.

This is the breakdown of support for the project as a continuous extension of the Expo Line:

  • Surrey – 82%
  • City of Langley – 90%
  • Township of Langley – 92%
  • Rest of Metro Vancouver – 84%

Furthermore, respondents indicated the most important factors for rapid transit planning were optimal travel time and speed, efficient use of public funding, and a comfortable and safe experience.

Travel times on the eight-station extension are estimated to be about 22 minutes — up to 13 minutes faster than the LRT option with nine stations.

The public transit authority notes the level of support in the public survey aligns with the findings of a separate market research survey to obtain statistically-representative responses.

“This engagement received the second greatest number of responses in the history of TransLink engagements, second only to a topic that affected the entire region,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond, in a statement. “Ridership is booming, especially south of the Fraser, and the incredible number of responses from this engagement demonstrates how important it is that we continue improving and expanding our transit system.”

Late last year, the City of Surrey and TransLink’s Mayors’ Council cancelled plans for the $1.65-billion Surrey Newton-Guildford street-level light rail transit (LRT) project.

Instead, a decision was made to reallocate the LRT project’s funding towards completing the 16-km-long, $2.9-billion Fraser Highway SkyTrain.

A recent update by TransLink notes planning for the project is advancing quickly, following the 15-month timeline of reaching the milestone of completing a business plan by the middle of 2020.

A draft business plan is expected to be ready this summer for a review by the Mayors’ Council.

Procurement for a major contractor will then take another 15 months, and construction will take at least four years, which could lead to a possible 2025 completion and opening of a significant portion of the extension. The Broadway Extension to Arbutus Street is slated to open the same year.

In the meantime, the Newton-Guildford corridor’s existing 96 B-Line service will receive infrastructure upgrades, made possible by the cancellation of the new Fraser Highway B-Line due to the advancement of the SkyTrain project.

Surrey Langley Fraser Highway SkyTrain

Route map of the SkyTrain Expo Line extension from King George Station to Langley Centre. (TransLink)

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