I believe the LRT option should be scrapped and TransLink should opt for the Skytrain system as is available throughout Metro Vancouver.
Surrey, as the second largest city, has definitely fallen behind. The King George station was the last station built in Surrey back in 1994, which is 23 years ago.
The total track distance of the four Skytrain systems is 97.7 km.
Surrey’s portion of this is only 6.4 km. Also, there are a total of 53 Skytrain stations, of which Surrey only has four.
Surrey council’s plan is to initially have an LRT line running from Newton to Central City and then to Guildford. Right now the 98 B Line bus from Newton only takes nine minutes to get to Central City and a further 18 minutes to get to Guildford.
It’s doubtful that an LRT system would significantly improve on this service. Why spend millions of dollars ripping up roads and installing tracks and not see any significant service improvement.
TransLink needs to expand the reach further east through Surrey out to Langley where much of the growth is happening, Fleetwood, Clayton/Cloverdale and Willoughby.
My proposal is to have an “Expo Line to Carvolth Exchange.” This would be an extension of the Expo Line running from Gateway station to Guildford, Fleetwood, Clayton/Cloverdale, Langley Centre, Willoughby Town Centre, and ending at Carvolth Exchange.
The routing from Gateway could be 108 or 104th Avenues to Guildford, 152nd Street to Fraser Highway for Fleetwood, Fraser Highway to Langley Centre and 208th Street to Carvolth Exchange.
This route avoids going through Green Timbers park.
Surrey would pick up four more stations; Guildford, 152nd at Fraser Highway, 160th St. at Fraser Highway, and 188th St. at Fraser Hwy. Langley would have four stations, Willowbrook Mall, Langley Centre, Willoughby Town Centre and Carvolth Exchange. Surrey would add 18 km track distance to its current 6.4 km and Langley would have 11 km of tracks.
Current bus service from Langley Centre to Surrey Central takes about 53 minutes via the 501 bus and about 47 minutes via the 502 bus.
Based on the Expo Line covering the 36.4 km from Waterfront to King George in 40 minutes, the 20.2 km distance of Langley Centre to Gateway would take only 22 minutes.
Now that is real service improvement.
Besides the communities along the route, this extension would be beneficial for Maple Ridge (via 595 bus), Abbottsford/Chilliwack (via 66 FVX bus) Walnut Grove, Milner, Abbottsford, Murrayville and Brookswood.
So, Surrey-Langley let the rallying cry be “Expo Line to Carvolth Exchange.”