Stephen Rees's blog

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

Group wants interurban back on track

with 7 comments


Quite a decent piece on Rail for the Valley. John Buker has apparently decided to get in ahead of Monday’s Abbotsford Council meeting which I wrote about earlier. The idea of a demonstration poroject is the one that seemed to get most response at public meetings in both Abbotsford and Chilliwack. But it seemed to get less response from the Interegional Transportation committee and therefore is not the main plank of their report.

One of the things that I tried to stress was that is is feasible for this to happen without expecting a lot of money from the province. It would need a partnership with the current freight operator (owned by the Washington Group) and one of the companies that operate passenger trains. It would almost certainly be a limited time temporary thing, but it would meet the objection of the sceptics “I’m from Missouri, show me”.

Rail can capture people’s imagination, but a demonstration would be a practical way to allow people to experience what is possible and at relatively low cost. In my view this is more likely to actually lead to a real service in the near future – and much mire likely than any report or plan to shift attentiion away from freeway expansion to a much more efficient mode – and one that can be implemented in a shirt time scale. It would also increase choice – something that is notably missing now and in the current plans.

Ken Hardie’s response stressing the north of the Fraser and the suggestion that West Coast Express could get to Chilliwack seems to miss the point completely. Chilliwack has very little long distance commuting since it took the idea of a complete community seriously and is relatively self contained. The growth of the valley population will be mainly in the south – Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford – where there are no real current plans to do more than small increases to bus service. This is not nearly enough to meet present needs let alone the expected growth, which will all be highway oriented absent any other alternative. It is also clear that the current FVRD councils have no interest at all in getting swallowed up in SoCoBriTCA. No is there any expectation that Kevin Falcon is actually listening to what people in this part of BC are saying. They do not want SkyTrain – which in current plans is too little, too late and at huge cost. They want a lot of rail now and at low cost!

Written by Stephen Rees

October 31, 2008 at 8:39 am

Posted in transit, Urban Planning

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7 Responses

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  1. Good for John, he has worked very hard on the project. Also, there is a growing international interest in the project, which is good, as our current transit planning is far too incestuous, based on SkyTrain.

    Malcolm J.

    October 31, 2008 at 12:38 pm

  2. I have been engaged on conversations with several people over the past many months and I believe that people will be very surprised and excited at what will take place in the coming months. I also think that our focus right now should be on the communities from Abbotsford westward and I’m happy to see that the IRTC endorsed that current focus. When one engages leaders in meaningful discussions and withholds name-calling, accusations, conspiracy theories and judgment, I find that these same leaders will open up and look for ways to work together. I’m looking forward to the New Year and what it will bring. I’ve encouraged our membership at South Fraser OnTrax to stay on the high road and remain positive.

    Joe Zaccaria

    October 31, 2008 at 1:36 pm

  3. “Eventually that line [WCE] could cross the Fraser River and reach Chilliwack.”

    Wow… these guys are really out of touch… have they even seen the 2006 census?

    No wonder we have the transit system that we do.


    November 1, 2008 at 9:35 am

  4. And why would TransLink be trying to get service out to Abbotsford/Chilliwack when that’s not even in their fief?

    So they just ignore Surrey and Langley, despite the population and need for transit there being how many times higher?

    Who ARE these guys!?!?


    November 1, 2008 at 9:37 am

  5. People who decided they didn’t need to employ me

    Stephen Rees

    November 1, 2008 at 11:23 am

  6. Now THAT confirms it. 🙂


    November 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm

  7. I have no time for Ken Hardie or what he says. He will manipulate the truth to suit his employers ends and thus his job.

    Extending the WCE to Chilliwack is not just problematic, it demonstrates Translink’s rather knowledge of mode and transportation problems.

    It’s all spin from Hardie and TransLink to try to get the focus off the interurban. I have seen it all before, as TransLink, like BC Transit, have never changed the script.

    Malcolm J.

    November 2, 2008 at 8:18 am

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