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“Everyone should get behind Surrey”

January 28, 2013

Just in case you missed this quote from Sun reporter Kelly Sinoski’s opening piece on Surrey (the first of eight, to come weekly):

Gordon Price, of Simon Fraser University’s City program … noted Surrey’s low density and the original Port Mann Bridge created “motordom,” with families living on large lots, driving to work at industrial  parks or into downtown Vancouver. The transit system, he said, was designed for  the young, old and the disabled — not the regular commuter.

But Surrey has taken steps to urbanize and densify its City Centre and made a  strong pitch for light rail. “Its aspirations are very different now,” Price  said. “That’s where the fastest growth is and what they’re doing south of the  Fraser is more important than what’s happening in Vancouver.”  (My emphasis.)

Guildford, he said, has tremendous potential to become another Oakridge (Brentwood might be a better comparison – GP), with  densification and light rail fanning out across the city. But if transit doesn’t  come soon, drivers would be tempted to stay in their cars, especially with the  newly widened Highway 1 and Port Mann Bridge nearby.

“We’ve got a critical moment to shape the fastest-growing city in the  region,” Price said. “Everybody should get behind Surrey. The stakes for Surrey  are just as high as it’s ever been.”

Full story here.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Richard permalink
    January 28, 2013 1:50 pm

    This is all starting to sound like a bandwagon. People should support Surrey when they are making good decisions and challenge them when they are not.

    I’m rather surprised that when they are trying to build the case for billions in rapid transit, t, they were considering a huge casino and convention centre nowhere near their proposed LRT lines. It was rejected not because of the location but due to people not wanting it in their back yards.

    They are also still pushing for a 6 lane Pattullo Bridge that would drain TransLink’s finances and compete with rapid transit for riders. One of their councillors publicly stated his priority would be the new bridge over LRT. The same movement f goods argument that has brought us billions in under used bridges is being used again.

    They need to start making some tough bold decisions like Vancouver did 40 years ago stopping the freeways. We need to strongly support rapid transit improvements when they do.

  2. January 28, 2013 2:53 pm

    Can’t Surrey designate bus lanes, widen sidewalks, turn stroads into multi-way boulevards all on their own (at the cost – initially – of only paint and planters)?

    Do their zoning regulations ensure a pedestrian-friendly public realm, full of Mouzon’s pedestrian propulsion?

    I agree that Vancouver must support the urbanisation of Surrey though. Imagine if all of Metro Vancouver was a nicely walkable as gastown or kitsilano or mount pleasant. I’d imagine property prices would be a lot more balanced.

  3. Allan K permalink
    January 29, 2013 9:10 am

    The whole Surrey Rapid Transit process has left me feeling divided and confused. I mean, I fully support their transit ambitions and all and would like them to go forward, but there are things here and there that don’t make sense and/or that do not align with this stated priority, such as the Pattullo Bridge rebuild and the continued expansion of the suburbs vs the development of the city centre. As an excuse for the above I constantly hear things about TransLink needing to act first before Surrey can respond (such as when they developed Collingwood or Metrotown), and yet I see a few recent places that have done the opposite, with Ioco-Moray and Coquitlam being prime examples. This inconsistency of their vision vs reality does not leave me with a very satisfying impression that rapid transit will significantly change the habits and growth of the South of Fraser; rather it leaves me with the occasional impression that Surrey is begging for an additional subsidy from TransLink in the form of LRT as a response to its perception of lack of transit service, but will not do anything otherwise to pay that subsidy back. In such a case I would rightly be averse to going ahead with this project and spending money on something that doesn’t solve the underlying entitlement issues. In short, I wish to see less political talk promoting LRT and more physical action in making transit-oriented communities from Surrey’s leadership, so that it can demonstrate to regional citizens like me that Surrey is a place worth investing some transit dollars into.

    • Andrew Browne permalink
      January 29, 2013 11:02 am

      Well said.

    • Guest permalink
      January 29, 2013 3:34 pm

      By the same account, you can very easily point to Vancouver’s failure to soignificantly densify around Commercial-Broadway Station, Nanaimo Station and 29th Avenue Station, and suggest that Vancouver is not committed to a rapid trasnit strategy. It has failed to do so for 25 YEARS. Failure to act on an existing opportunity is far worse than failure to act in anticipation of an opportunity.

      i.e. If a UBC line is built, is there any guarantee that Vancouver will densify in the NIMBY-rich West Side?

      Surrey has been densifying the Whalley area, and its townhouse complexes in areas like Walnut Grove are tightly packed.

      One point to remember is that many of the light industrial and heavy industrial companies that left Vancouver have relocated to municipalities like Surrey. Those industries need transportation infrstructure that Vancouver (other than to serve the Port) no longer needs. There will always be a balancing act of needs from different sectors of a municipality’s taxpayers.

  4. Allan K permalink
    January 29, 2013 4:01 pm

    I did not come here intending to go over the much-maligned debate about which city should deserve first dibs on new rapid transit starts or road infrastructure. Frankly, I would agree with Gordon Price’s choice of Surrey-Langley being first due to the regional and political climate. The point I did want to make was that, given that Surrey already knows the key corridors at which rapid transit would be run, that it take the initiative now to start improving the environment for transit and pedestrians rather than just sitting back and lobbying for the line while continuing with old suburban habits. Surely some visible progress can already be seen with Downtown Surrey in particular, but there is room for further improvement, e.g. the cancellation of the Tynehead-Anniedale suburb plans.

  5. bob permalink
    January 30, 2013 1:30 pm

    Honest question…. isn’t the appropriate path to rail transit to start with Bus Rapid Transit (at a fraction of the cost) and then build rail when BRT is no longer sufficient?

    Why can’t surrey start with BRT? Isn’t this exactly what they did on Broadway in Vancouver? Made do with Bus Rapid Transit for 15+ years until capacity issues force us to build rail? Seems like the solution is for Surrey to get a BRT system (which could hold them for 10+years), Vancouver gets their rail, then when Surrey needs rail, they get it.

    I assume there is a reason no one is discussing this, since it seems kind of obvious. So… ?

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