When I was 9 years old the Skytrain came to Surrey. I remember driving over the Pattullo in our little red van every week and watching the progress on the Skybridge, just wondering how tall it would go and what it would look like when a train went across there for the first time.
This was 1989 and it took another 5 years until 3 more stations were put in place throughout North Surrey. King George Station became the terminus in 1994 and it’s pretty much stayed that way for the last 13 years.
There was speculation that the Expo Line would extend down Fraser Highway in a few years, which didn’t happen. Then some said maybe it would turn a bit and head toward Newton, which I haven’t heard much else about at all. With all the hub-bub over the RAV Line/Canada Line I’m wondering when commuters from other burbs are going to get a break.
Over the last few days local news was inundated with stories about the millions of extra commuters taking to public transportation and highways during the fall rush back to school and work [News1130]. Obviously transit is a hot topic and I would assume more so for the communities involved in the postponed Evergreen Line project, which was supposed to be up and running by 2009.
The Evergreen Line is a proposed rail transit line in Greater Vancouver, Canada. It is proposed to run from Lougheed Town Centre SkyTrain station in Burnaby through Port Moody to Coquitlam, and is planned to begin operations by the end of 2011. [Wiki]
And while relief for commuters out in the North-West of the region is needed, I’m still wondering about Surrey.
It has no Millenium Line expansion, no West Coast Express, just a couple bridges (one of which is barely standing and has killed 15+ people over the last few years) and the other is constantly backed up. On top of this, wait times for buses are ridiculous. Downtown you can catch a bus across town or across downtown every 5-10 minutes. You’d be lucky to find the same bus coming every 30-45 in Surrey or Langley. I looked up a schedule last week for one of the busiest routes, Surrey Central to Newton exchange. It had a bus every hour, once an hour.
The Surrey Leader recently covered and reported on the rumours and ideas surrounding Translink’s 30 plan for transit expansion in Metro Vancouver.
â€œEvery crazy idea everybody has, letâ€™s put it on the table and have a look at it,â€ said TransLink vice-chair Marvin Hunt. â€œThis is a golden opportunity for us to be able to look at all the different possibilities that are there and work on the ones that are the most viable today.â€ [Surrey Leader]
The Evergreen Line is #1 on the agenda as it’s been in limbo for a while now. But does it not seem as though the top “solution” for Surrey thus far has been a) more roads b) twinning a bridge c) more roads? Can’t Surrey folks be environmentally conscious in their commute and not have to lose valuable greenspace in the process?
So far, TransLink has identified King George Highway and 104 Avenue in Surrey and the Fraser Highway to Langley as routes to get median bus ways between 2013 and 2021 [Surrey Leader]
Median busways like in Richmond? Hmm. The Leader article continues including ideas like:
An express bus route on Highway 1 between Langley and Burnaby that would come with the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge.
Express bus service launched immediately across the Port Mann between north Surrey and Port Coquitlam.
Meanwhile, light rail fans south of the Fraser keep pushing for a new modern passenger rail service using the old Interurban rail corridor from northwest Surrey through Cloverdale, Langley and beyond.
Interesting ideas for sure, but what would help the most? Do Surrey and Langley commuters want more express buses? More roads and routes? What’s the best way to get working folks from their homes and into their offices in under 2 hours? Perhaps the possible lack of office space in Vancouver is a good thing, for this very reason.
Personally, I know I would like to see the Expo Line completed. Take it to Guildford Mall, expand to Langley, take it to South Surrey, either way would help.
Update: A bit of backlash is arising over the Vancouver Mayor’s push to extend the Millennium Line ahead of completing and moving forward with the Evergreen line. [CKNW]