The following article by Brian Lewis should forewarn us that the transit decision for the Fraser Valley has been already made. Like all transit studies done in the region in the past 30 years, the decision on transit mode is made beforehand and then a study is commissioned to confirm the decision. This is how transit planning is done in BC: Politicians make the decision and the bureaucrats make sure the political decisions stand with bogus, yet expensive studies.
It is to be certain, Premier Campbell has not read the RftV/Leewood Report, though he is aware of its content with the announcement of an Express bus to Chilliwack and SkyTrain to Langley, sometime in the future. The TramTrain study is a radical change how transit is planned for in BC, in which no special party is rewarded, except for those wishing to use ‘rail‘ transit!
In Mr. Campbell’s world, bus based transit means new highways, which will keep the road Builder’s Association happy and building more SkyTrain will keep both Bombardier Inc. and land developers happy. Happy people translates into lucrative political donations to a political party which the happy people belong!
The Premier’s speech to the Union of BC Municipalities, was just telling the party faithful that it is business as usual in BC.
Premier’s transit pitch hard to swallow
By Brian Lewis, The Province
October 7, 2010
A mother shoving cod liver oil down her child’s throat in the belief it’s a good health remedy — even though it tastes bad — is one thing, but unilaterally shoving public transit policy down taxpayer throats is positively unpalatable.
That’s precisely what Premier Gordon Campbell did last week at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler when he announced Victoria’s intention to extend SkyTrain through Surrey to Langley. The tasteless tactic was repeated in the same speech when he proclaimed that Rapid Bus service would link Chilliwack with the rest of the Fraser Valley.
On both counts reaction throughout the transit-challenged region was predictable: “Oh, really?”
Regarding the SkyTrain extension, TransLink, the region’s mayors and all other stakeholders are a long, long way from agreeing on what type of rapid transit technology should be used in building the 17-kilometre link between SkyTrain’s current terminus in north Surrey and Langley district. By far the most expensive option is SkyTrain’s elevated guideway, which in current dollars is estimated to cost a whopping $2.5 billion, or more.
Campbell’s announcement took mayors such as Dianne Watts of Surrey by total surprise. As she has said many times, a ground-level system between Surrey and Langley makes more sense because it’s far cheaper, easier and quicker to build.
Langley Township Mayor Rick Green’s response was blunt : “SkyTrain to Langley is simply pie-in-the-sky,” he tells me.
“There’s no question the premier is jumping the gun here.”
Green notes that TransLink, its Mayor’s Council and the B.C. government only several weeks ago signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct long-term transit planning throughout the region.
Yet, here comes Campbell with an announcement that the extension to Langley will be the SkyTrain technology. “He does this even though the ink on the MOU isn’t even dry,” Green adds.
As for establishing a Rapid Bus system to serve as far east as Chilliwack, those advocating that the old Inter Urban rail line be utilized to re-establish light rail transit from Chilliwack to Surrey are more than a little miffed.
Green, who also heads the South of the Fraser Community Rail Task Force, points out that unlike Vancouver, Richmond or Burnaby, population densities in the valley tend to form in pockets, which makes an Inter Urban light rail system much more efficient and cost-effective than SkyTrain, which works best in areas where high density is uniform.
The premier announcing that Rapid Bus is the choice for service to Chilliwack also reinforces suspicions that a $400,000 study of transit options for the valley, undertaken by Victoria almost two years ago, which still hasn’t been released, will kill the Inter Urban light rail option.
Despite Campbell’s announcements, Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender says all transit options for the region will remain on the table.
He also chairs the Mayor’s Council and acknowledges that this places him in a consensus-building role to keep peace between the region and Victoria and to move the issue forward.
“We all have to work together for the south of Fraser solutions,” Fassbender says.
But a premier dispensing policy like spoonfuls of cod liver oil makes that job tougher.
Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/opinion/Premier+transit+pitch+hard+swallow/3635873/story.html?cid=megadrop_story#ixzz11g8drgeT