Township LRT report raises concerns at City council table

Municipalities south of the Fraser must present a united front on transit, says Dave Hall

  • Apr. 14, 2015 8:00 a.m.
Dave Hall

Dave Hall

A letter written by Paul Cordeiro, Langley Township’s manager of transportation engineering, about a proposed LRT line to run from Surrey into Langley, has given at least one Langley City councillor cause for concern.

Referring to an April 8 story in The Times that outlined Cordeiro’s reservations about the plan, Councillor Dave Hall asked on Monday night whether City staff intend to submit a similar report, commenting on TransLink’s proposal to use ground-level light rapid transit to connect Langley and Surrey, rather than extend the existing

SkyTrain line from King George Boulevard, east along Fraser Highway.

Among the points made in Cordeiro’s letter is the contention that any extension of the Surrey LRT model would serve a predominantly local function, rather than facilitate regional travel between Langley and Vancouver.

“That is at odds with the stance we’ve taken over the years,” said Hall.

“I want to ensure that everyone is sticking together. If not, we could end up with the lowest common denominator.

“Either the report (from Cordeiro), or the way it was reported, seems to show a crack in the armour,” said Hall.

Mayors of both Langleys as well as Surrey, White Rock and Delta have collectively endorsed the LRT model, noted City CAO Francis Cheung.

Even though it is expected that a high proportion of people would use the LRT line for local service, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be able to transfer to SkyTrain for travel throughout the region, said Cheung.

Mayor Ted Schaffer agreed, saying the two services would “butt up against” one another, making a transfer between them, no different than transferring between SkyTrain lines at Broadway in Vancouver.

Schaffer acknowledged that in the letter — which he said, took him a bit by surprise — Cordeiro raised some technical concerns that the City would also like to examine in greater detail, including a number of major intersections where the at-grade rail would cross extremely busy roads — among them 152 Street, Highway 15, 64 Avenue, Fraser Highway and 200 Street.

“Major crossings have to be addressed,” said Schaffer. “We can’t just stop traffic.

“(The LRT) will have to be elevated somehow,” he added, noting that soil testing is already being done along Fraser Highway.

In addition to the major intersections, Schaffer was also referring to a plan to elevate the LRT line for a short distance to cross the rail line just west of Production Way.

So far, there are no plans for a vehicle overpass at that crossing.

Schaffer said that he had spoken with Langley Township mayor Jack Froese about the issue, and was assured that the municipality still supports the plan.

“He is still on board with the other mayors. I’m taking him at his word that his staff are on board with our staff.”

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