More public engagement begins on Surrey-Langley SkyTrain despite funding gaps

Click to play video: 'New details on Surrey-to-Langley SkyTrain extension'
New details on Surrey-to-Langley SkyTrain extension
Translink has launched a second round of public engagement on the SkyTrain extension from Surrey to Langley. Aaron McArthur reports – Nov 1, 2019

The public is getting another look at the plans for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, and they show TransLink is still moving forward despite a lack of funding.

Current funding of $1.6 billion only gets the extension to Fleetwood near 166 Street — less than half the way to Langley City as originally promised.

But public engagement sessions beginning on Nov. 7 will present where all eight stations of the full extension will be located, where the track will run and other plans for the final product, while making the case that any extension will benefit the community.

“We hope the information we’re launching today helps to fill in some of those details around the specifics of the project,” TransLink’s project director Jeff Busby said Friday.

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The funded extension from King George Station to Fleetwood will see four new stations, according to the plans being presented at the open house and online.

The stations, which will all be elevated, will be set up along the Fraser Highway at 140 Street, 152 Street, 160 Street and 166 Street.

If the remaining $1.52 billion is secured, the extension will continue along the Fraser Highway to stations at 184 Street, 190 Street and 196 Street. The tracks will then move onto Langley’s Industrial Avenue before ending at the final station at 203 Street.

A look at the planned final route and station locations for the full Surrey-Langley SkyTrain station. TransLink

The elevated track will run on different sides of the Fraser Highway or on the centre median, depending on which placement best minimizes impacts on property, project cost, traffic and the environment.

The 140 Street station and the track leading to the next stop at 152 Street will run through Green Timbers Urban Forest, which TransLink says will be protected as best as possible during construction.

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Any bylaw trees removed to accommodate the guideway will be replaced, TransLink says. The final location of the 140 Street station will also be decided with the forest in mind.

Other areas TransLink says it is working to minimize impacts on are the Serpentine River Valley — which the eventual extension to Langley would have to cross along the highway — and the business hub on Industrial Avenue.

A look at the three types of guideway placements along the Fraser Highway for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension. TransLink

While TransLink has already released concept drawings for what the new stations will typically look like, the public will get to weigh in on the final designs both inside and outside.

Respondents will answer on a sliding scale how important features like public plazas, connectivity to walking and cycling trails, bike parkades or lockups, bus loops and park-and-ride lots or spaces are to each location.

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TransLink is also making the case for a SkyTrain extension will benefit Surrey and Langley, even if the full funding isn’t secured.

The Fleetwood extension alone would see 39,900 daily boardings for the 9.5-minute trip from to and from King George by 2035, TransLink says. That number would rise to 44,200 by 2050.

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In comparison, the full extension from King George to Langley would see 62,000 daily boardings for a 22-minute trip, with 71,200 expected by 2050.

Click to play video: 'Surrey SkyTrain extension approved to move ahead'
Surrey SkyTrain extension approved to move ahead

TransLink is treating the Fleetwood extension, which is expected to be up and running by late 2025, as the first phase of a project they fully expect to get built to Langley.

An environmental review still needs to be completed, before a business case for the entire project is presented early next year. More public engagement is expected before that case is written up.

The public engagement process will also see details about the new RapidBus line coming to King George Boulevard and 104 Avenue, which is expected to replace the Surrey LRT line the SkyTrain extension effectively quashed.

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The system is planned to be a more frequent and better-integrated version of the existing 96 B-Line, and is expected to launch in January 2020.

Residents can fill out an online survey for this phase of public consultation until Nov. 17, or attend one of five planned open houses planned between Nov. 17 and 16 in Surrey and Langley.

More information about the locations, dates and times for those open houses can be found here.

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