Two more responses to our last question, sent to mayor and council candidates in the City of Surrey, Township of Langley, and City of Langley.
For the portion of the Surrey-Langley rapid transit line running along Fraser Highway, do you believe LRT or Skytrain technology is best, and why?
Thanks to all candidates who responded, and to Price Tags contributors for your commentary.
Gail Chaddock-Costello – Township of Langley (Council)
Thank you for the question and the opportunity to respond. I’m in favour of light rail. My conversations as a provincial candidate in 2009 and 2017 brought me into contact with many voters and the topic of transportation came up frequently. Once I reviewed your question, I polled neighbours and friends and the feed back was 100% in favour of light rail, my personal preference. Why? It is a cheaper alternative providing a similar service and makes sense to me considering the extensions through Surrey-Newton and Guilford have been recommended by the Mayors to be light rail. In addition it will be seen to be and will be, less environmentally intrusive.
Andrew Mercier – City of Langley (Council)
Skytrain is the Right Choice for Langley City
Folks in Langley may remember the conversation in the ‘90s about extending the Skytrain from King George to Langley Centre. The case for a Skytrain route to Langley has only gotten stronger as time has gone on. The Fraser Highway corridor is the missing piece in the lower mainland’s rapid transit map and Skytrain is the right choice for Langley City.
Skytrain’s benefits are significant. According to a 2012 joint study commissioned by Translink and the Ministry of Transportation, a Skytrain route down Fraser Highway would be faster and have a lower operating cost than light rail. Additionally, it could be built with minimal dislocation due to construction, and would not contribute to traffic congestion once it is operational.
Opponents of Skytrain may point to the lack of accessibility at current stations—anyone who is a frequent Skytrain rider knows the familiar refrain about the Metrotown elevators being out of service. The problems at current stations aren’t going away, regardless of which transit option is ultimately selected. But there is no reason that accessibility cannot be put front and centre in the design and construction of new above ground stations, ensuring that there is more than one accessible entrance.
This isn’t to say there isn’t a role for future investment in light rail in Langley City. Light rail may well factor in as a practical solution for rapid transit within the two Langleys (say, along 200th street). However, the factors that make it attractive for a local method of transportation within a municipality are also part of its drawbacks when conceived of as a main commuting route connecting two urban transit hubs, Surrey Centre and Langley Centre.
Skytrain is the right choice. If elected as a Langley City councillor I will support it as the best option available to complete the lower mainland’s rapid transit system.