Surrey is getting one of three Bus Rapid Transit routes that were announced for Metro Vancouver by the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation today (Thursday, Nov. 16), with service running along King George Boulevard from Whalley to White Rock.
“It’s huge for Surrey and it’s going to be really effective in moving people from City Centre through Newton and right the way down to South Surrey so we’re really excited about that potential,” Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke told the Now-Leader. “A lot of the work was already done to accommodate LRT in the day, and so a lot of the work is already done – the road is ready to go.”
The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation selected three “priority corridors” for TransLink to advance the “high-frequency” rapid transit service that will feature dedicated bus lanes and “rail-like” stations.
The other two corridors are Langley Centre to Haney Place, and Metrotown to the North Shore. Specific alignment, designs, costs and timelines have not yet been determined for the three but work on these is expected to begin immediately, with public consultation.
TransLink’s press release indicates the corridors were selected “based on ridership potential, increasing access to jobs, future housing and development growth projections, the feasibility of implementing new transit priority infrastructure, and the early support from local governments to implement the changes necessary for the projects.”
The BRT routes will feature “traffic-separated” lanes and “signal priority” at intersections. “Through the Access for Everyone plan, TransLink is working with regional Mayors to implement up to nine regional BRT corridors,” the press release indicates. “These three corridors have been selected in the first phase to proceed, with the other corridors to follow. TransLink and the Mayors’ Council will be seeking senior government funding for these routes.”
Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, said while BRT represents “a positive step, again, it’s not the only thing that Surrey needs.
“We’ve been left behind for decades in transit and transportation infrastructure and we have to make it easy and accessible and that’s why we still continue to advocate for Light Rail Transit technology in Surrey to connect our wide geography,” Huberman told the Now-Leader. “We’re still a car culture and moving that culture onto Bus Rapid Transit is going to be the number-one challenge for TransLink.”
On Oct. 16 Surrey council directed city staff to work with TransLink to advance its design after endorsing running BRT along King George Blvd. between the City Centre and South Surrey.
“The intent of this report is to provide council with background information to support advocacy to TransLink that King George Boulevard be TransLink’s top priority for implementation of the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service in the region,” Scott Neuman, Surrey’s general manager of engineering, stated in a corporate report to council.
Council voted in favour of Neuman’s recommendations.
“The KGB corridor should be prioritized as the first BRT project in the region,” he said. “BRT on KGB would provide immediate benefits, including reduced traffic congestion and increased transit ridership, making it the most favourable option for rapid implementation.”
The proposed alignment would see the BRT run from Surrey City Centre to Newton Exchange, Colebrook Overpass, Serpentine River Bridge, Highway Overpass and South Surrey Park & Ride to Semiahmoo Town Centre.
Locke noted that transit ridership in Surrey, in relation to the pandemic, “rebounded faster than any other really in Canada. We are at 120 per cent post-COVID, that’s our ridership. So absolutely we need this kind of transit and we need it yesterday, actually.”