Mayor’s LRT suggestion goes nowhere

Jackson makes pitch to start planning valley network, but Mayors’ Council not interested

It’s the sensible way to help move a burgeoning population south of the Fraser River, but don’t expect a light rapid transit network in the foreseeable future.
That’s what Mayor Lois Jackson had to say about her motion for the region to start early planning for LRT to connect Richmond with Delta, White Rock, Surrey, Langley and even out as far as Chilliwack, a proposal she said was quickly snuffed out last week by the Mayors’ Council.
“I’ve been trying to press this with the mayors for a long time in that it makes sense to take the Canada Line and run it south, over a bridge, and it’s meant to do that, accommodates that. The idea being maybe go out to the ferry terminal, with stops in Ladner and Tsawwassen. Most importantly, it would go through all the southern area, as opposed to the northern area where the Expo Line goes through Surrey,” said Jackson.
“We have to look ahead 75 years. It’s a great way to connect communities. I was pretty much poo pooed because they said they want everything on the table. They want, for instance, the Evergreen Line extended. They don’t want even a planning concept forward for a line that will pick up hundreds of thousands of people through that great burgeoning area of Surrey that travel by car everywhere because there’s no option,” she said.
The Mayors’ Council has already endorsed an LRT project for Surrey that involves 27 kilometres with two lines and approximately 19 stops. The first phase will be the Surrey-Newton-Guildford Line, which will connect Surrey City Centre and Guildford Town Centre, while a King George Boulevard line will connect Surrey City Centre and Newton Town Centre.
Jackson said many will benefit but many more south of the Fraser still won’t.
Coun. Bruce McDonald, a member of a light rail committee for south of the Fraser that is now disbanded, said one possible route his group discussed was an old B.C. Hydro line that runs from Scott Road at the Pattullo Bridge out all the way to Hope.
“All the population areas are on that line because it was the primary transportation line… it’s kind of a mix and match what Lois Jackson is talking about with this,” he said. “Bottom line, light rail is about a third, or a quarter, the cost of SkyTrain and you can do some really good things with it, but we don’t seem to be able to get anybody’s attention.”
McDonald added if a bridge connecting Delta and Richmond is built, LRT could be accommodated and run right down the middle of the freeway.
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