Transit tax defeat a problem for new SkyTrain line

Lack of buses to force costly new parking lots along Evergreen Line

Work continues to complete the Evergreen Line SkyTrain extension

The new Evergreen Line to the Tri-Cities opens next fall but Coquitlam’s mayor is warning the $1.4-billion project may be hobbled by the defeat of the transit funding plebiscite.

Richard Stewart said the new SkyTrain line will open without the much improved connecting bus routes that would shuttle passengers between their neighbourhoods and the stations.

Instead of jumping on a bus near their homes, people will drive and expect to park.

“I’ve got to start building parking lots,” Stewart said, estimating 5,000 more stalls will be needed at new park-and-rides.

“If we don’t have the robust bus network that was envisioned by the mayors’ plan, we need parking. Because people are going to get in their cars and drive to transit.”

He estimates it will cost $40 million for a “monolithic” parkade of just 1,000 stalls, adding the bill could go much higher.

“We’re going to spend way more than a referendum would have cost our taxpayers,” Stewart said. “We have no choice. We’re going to end up with more cars. This is the unintended consequence of the failure of the referendum.”

RELATED: Surrey wants to pry away its share of TransLink gas tax

He predicts Surrey will face the same problem if it succeeds in building light rail lines but without a regional funding solution to improve the broader bus network.

“You can’t just build a transit line and then open its doors,” he said. “You need to integrate a much improved bus network in order to bring passengers to the transit stations.

“None of this stuff is going to work the way it’s intended unless we fix the regional system and get it properly funded.”

As for Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner’s suggestion that her city be allowed to take back its share of gas taxes to fund LRT, Stewart said it’s tantamount to breaking up the system of regional governance.

He said it would be “incredibly inefficient” for Metro Vancouver’s 22 municipalities to revert back to going it alone.

Stewart and others fear the mayors who were united behind one plan could now fragment and compete to advance local priorities.

“The province has put us in a position that has neutered regional governance entirely,” he said. “If we decide to head down the path toward parochial transportation planning, everyone will suffer.”

Just Posted

DW Poppy Sr. boys basketball defeats ACSS Totems rivals

DW Poppy’s Sr. boys RedHawks defeated ACSS Totems this Friday in a high-stakes basketball match.

VIDEO: All ages participate in Langley Hospice Historic Half marathon

Turnout was down, slightly, this year but donations are up

LETTER: Langley man says Wilson-Raybould deserves Canadians’ respect

A letter writer said the former federal justice minister is one of a rare class of politicians.

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blank Rockets

Langley-based G-men take over top spot in the west

Langley Township goes high tech to spotlight local history

To mark the start of History Week, the Township has put out a new app all about the community.

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Pedestrian in serious condition after hit by car downtown Abbotsford

A youth was also hit, suffered minor injuries, police say

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read