Archive for November 24th, 2009

Prendergast’s parting words on Rail for the Valley

November 24, 2009

A couple weeks ago, it was announced that Translink CEO Tom Prendergast was quitting his position, and accepting a job as president of New York City’s Transit Authority. He had only joined Translink in July 2008, and now he has left! I am guessing he didn’t like what he saw.

Prendergast was as positive a force as could be expected in such an organization as Translink, run under the tightest of control of Premier Gordon Campbell.

Here’s an illuminating excerpt, his parting words on the possibilities of light rail for the valley (Surrey Leader, Nov. 24):

Kwantlen Student Association rep Nathan Griffiths said improved transit is needed to serve campuses in Cloverdale and Langley and asked about the potential to extend passenger light rail to the Fraser Valley.

“There’s really no impediment,” Prendergast responded. “It’s overcoming the cultural embracement of SkyTrain that has existed to date.”

He said TransLink is seeking to cut through the pro-SkyTrain “cultural bias” as it embarks on a careful examination of rapid transit technologies for line extensions west along Broadway and south of the Fraser.

Prendergast predicted the first light rail line that comes to the Lower Mainland will lead to much greater appreciation of its potential.

It’s interesting to think about this “cultural bias” towards Skytrain. Who actually has this bias? It isn’t residents or even politicians in the Fraser Valley: Not a single municipal candidate in Surrey the last election supported Skytrain expansion over light rail. Not a single candidate. Not one!

No, it’s the old-guard politicians of Vancouver, who were around for the previous Skytrain expansions and have the most personal stake in continuing to expand the Skytrain money hole. It’s Mike Harcourt, it’s Gordon Campbell, and others involved in Vancouver’s transportation decisions of the last 25 years.

To anyone who wonders why the problems with Skytrain often take centre stage on this blog, Prendergast answers the question.

To get light rail for the valley, we absolutely must cut through the pro-SkyTrain “cultural bias” that exists, not among the populace of the Fraser Valley, but among Vancouver’s political elite, who all-too-often take it upon themselves to make all the decisions for the rest of us.


Please consider joining the Light Rail Transit Association

November 24, 2009

It’s that time again, membership renewal requests are in the mail or in one’s email box. Zwei is renewing his annual subscription to the Light Rail Transit Association and would like you to consider joining the Light Rail Transit Association.

There are three good reasons for joining the LRTA:

1) The LRTA membership includes an annual subscription to the excellent Tramway’s & Urban Transit.

2) The LRTA blog, which is open to members only, is an excellent source of information on transit around the world.

3) With a larger membership in our area, we could get an article published on our efforts with Rail for the Valley for world wide coverage.

Zwei has been a member of the LRTA for over twenty-five years and the information obtained from T& UT and its predecessors has made me a feared opponent to the anti-LRT crowd. Information on how to join the LRTA can be found on their web site at or go to

To succeed, Rail for the Valley must be well informed and there is no better way of being well informed than joining the Light Rail Transit Association.