TransLink officials are to present an update on the 351 bus route and other proposed changes at an upcoming forum in White Rock.
According to a news release issued by the City of White Rock Friday morning, the Oct. 28 session is set for 5:30-7 p.m. at the White Rock Community Centre (15154 Russell Ave.), and is to include information boards for public perusal and a presentation by TransLink’s director of system planning, Sarah Ross, on the proposal and amendments made in response to public feedback received in April.
The 351 route connects White Rock, Ocean Park and Crescent Beach with Bridgeport Station.
Proposed changes – including shifts to the existing 351 and 352 routes, a new local shuttle and the possible introduction of double-decker buses to South Surrey – have been a source of concern to local residents since they were shared at a consultation and information event in April.
Under the proposed changes, the 351 would now start and end its route in White Rock Centre rather than carrying on through Ocean Park and Crescent Beach; while the 352 – which runs at peak times only – would eliminate its current 144 Street to 148 Street section, travelling directly to and from White Rock Centre along 16 Avenue (North Bluff Road).
Officials said earlier this year that implementation would depend on analysis of the 2019 Transit Network review survey, and that the new shuttle was intended to compensate for changes to the 351.
Critics, including White Rock Coun. David Chesney, predicted the plan will inconvenience local commuters; including by affecting the timing of connections between Vancouver and neighbourhood service.
Residents’ concerns prompted Mayor Darryl Walker to ask TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond for more public forums on the issue. At the June 24 council meeting, Walker predicted the plan is “something that is going to frustrate not only the people of White Rock but also those of South Surrey,” and said he intended to talk with Surrey council members about collaborative action to influence TransLink.
Walker said the city would put a forum together if TransLink didn’t.
In Friday’s news release, Walker said he is “pleased that TransLink accepted the City of White Rock’s invitation to provide an update about Route 351 and the double-decker bus to the community through this forum.”
“It is important that the opinions of riders are heard, and that people in White Rock and South Surrey are aware of TransLink’s future plans and how public input was included in the decision-making.”
In addition to display boards and a presentation by Ross, the Oct. 28 forum is to include a workshop with question-and-answer opportunities.