Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Surrey buses needed: MLA

with 3 comments


I admit I do not read either of the daily freebies very often – and I am quite impressed that Metro now provides actual page views  as well as a downloadable pdf.

Jagrup Brar says city needs 300 to meet demand

for Metro Vancouver

Surrey is “severely underserviced” by public transit and desperately needs more buses to provide an alternative to driving on congested roads, according to NDP MLA Jagrup Brar.
Surrey has 83 buses to serve a population of 400,000.  When Vancouver had 400,000 people there were 400 buses, the representative  for Surrey-Panorama Ridge said.

It is odd that whenever I talk to people about the Port Mann Bridge and the freeway widening, people still have this idea that there is a big need to accomodate people who drive from Langley to Vancouver. But the big, frustrated movement is between two major regional centres. Surrey and Coquitlam.

A look at the bridge traffic figures shows that the flow bulges with cars moving between the intersections on either side of the bridge – and it tails off very quickly. The main transit link for the north end of Surrey is the SkyTrain – and service frequency across the SkyBridge was reduced when it was split to serve the Millennium Line. And of course no plan ever suggested the region needed a second service from New Westminster to Broadway via Lougheed Mall. What was in the plan and was not built was a rapid transit service that linked Coquitlam to the Broadway/Lougheed “corridor” which, thanks to Upass really needs now to get to UBC, though again the plans usually gave up around the Richmond link – Granville or Arbutus. The transit planners always assumed that a repeatedly shorted B Line (as the RT was extended) would do the trick.

To some extent Doug McCallum was also responsible for the lack of bus service in his City. He aggressively adopted a car oriented development pattern. To some extent he was abetted by the province, charmed by the idea of developers paying for things, who abandonded the long held policy of keeping development away from the intersections (to leave room for highway expansion at a  later date and cloverleaf ramps) . They allowed developments to be built on MoT land at the intersections and the developers paid for “improvements” as at 200  St. He also went for the same type of big box retail centres seen around the Interstate #5 to catch the cross border choppers in Whatcom County. Surrey City Centre (never to be called “Whalley”) languished as multiple centres absorbed the developers’ efforts.

Surrey was always the place that was growing fastest in terms of population but once the SkyTrain reached the King George Highway, transit seemed to lose interest. At the creation of Translink, interest revived since they could also do road building as the frequently repeated justification was that you could not  put a bus lane on the Fraser Highway because it was not wide enough.

What fascinates me is that this story is not “news” – it has been the case for as long as I have been around and probably a lot longer. So getting a bit in any paper is a good trick. But at least Dianne Watts and the NDP are now on the case. About time too.  Chances of anything hapenning any time soon?

The provincial government has plans to build a Skytrain line to Guildford but it won’t be completed until 2020.

More importantly Translink’s attention is now on road and bridge building – and the Golden Ears now under construction should do wonders for more sprawl in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows for people to drive to jobs in North Surrey – and potentially a new industrial area on Barnston Island – once they get it out of the ALR. LRSP? What’s that?

Written by Stephen Rees

April 3, 2008 at 8:02 am

Posted in transit

3 Responses

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  1. I`m afraid to say nothing is going to change with this bunch (falcon and campbell ) in watching estimates on hansard webcasts at bc legislature — mot minister falcon states and I quote ” we can`t run busses over port mann,its gridlock 14hours a day,it has to be twinned, busses will be added over the next 12years! we can`t use light rail on southern vancouver island ,theres not enough traffic! ” the fudamental problem here is, no one gets a transit (system) until your area is stuck in gridlock,period! cars,trucks,roads,oil and gas make money, transit doesn`t . campbell (the gargler) and falcon ——the authors of the “GATEWAY TO HELL,hell hell hell hell !” signed………………………………………….the last farmable acre

    grant g

    April 3, 2008 at 9:29 am

  2. Portland’s LRT opened about the same time as Vancouver’s SkyTrain, yet, Portland has now 4 LRT lines and one streetcar line; 1 LRT line and 1 streetcar line under construction and at least 3 LRT lines and 2 streetcar lines in various stages of planning.

    Sky train to Guilford by 2020, i will be dead by then!

    Malcolm J.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:35 pm

  3. […] You know there’s something wrong when your city has almost a half a million people and yet you can’t get a bus from point A to point B after 6 o’clock at night (regardless of said city’s area). “Surrey is “severely underserviced” by public transit and desperately needs more buses to provide an alternative to driving on congested roads, according to NDP MLA Jagrup Brar. Surrey has 83 buses to serve a population of 400,000. When Vancouver had 400,000 people there were 400 buses, the representative for Surrey-Panorama Ridge said.” [Metro Vancouver via Stephen Rees] […]

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