In the midst of the federal election campaign, the Newton Business Improvement Association (NBIA) is advocating for levels of government to bring fixed rail rapid transit to the Newton neighborhood of Surrey.
They are asking for rapid rail transit on King George Boulevard from downtown Surrey to Newton.
“I have no doubts that the fixed high speed train will be the catalyst for revitalization and transform Newton into a connected and livable community, making downtown Newton more vibrant, accessible and competitive,” said Philip Aguirre, executive director of the NBIA . .
“Surrey’s most populous city center will stimulate investment and transform Newton into a hub of cultural and economic growth.
The NBIA believes the recently completed Newton-King George Boulevard development plan and the Newton downtown plan would catalyze the kind of urban and economic development needed to support a rapid transit connection.
According to the City of Surrey, Newton’s population currently hovers at over 150,000. At the current growth rate based on the city’s existing community plans, the population is expected to reach 175,000 by 2041 and 188,000 by 2051.
With Newton becoming the southernmost terminus of rapid rail transit, it would become a regional transit hub for other rapid transit connections to South Surrey, Cloverdale and Scottsdale, says the NBIA.
As part of TransLink’s Council of Mayors 10-Year Plan, the region has committed to building 27 km of rapid transit in communities across the southern Fraser River. Approximately 11 km was originally due to be completed with the construction of the $ 1.65 billion Surrey-Newton Guildford Light Rail Transit (SNG LRT), a street-level train system running alongside 104th Avenue from downtown Guildford to Surrey Central Station, and along King George Boulevard from Surrey Central Station to 72nd Avenue in downtown Newton.
But the SNG LRT was canceled by the City of Surrey and the Council of Mayors at the end of 2018, shortly after the municipal elections, resulting in a change of political leadership, in response to overwhelming public opposition to LRT at street level in favor of full-level separate SkyTrain technology.
Since then, the focus has been on the construction of the 16 km Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension of the Expo line along the Fraser Highway from King George Station to Langley Center. The project is now expected to cost $ 3.95 billion, with the federal and provincial governments pledging to fund. The provincial government recently took over the planning and execution jurisdiction of the TransLink project as a measure to build the one-phase extension to Langley.
TransLink’s’ update ‘of the Council of Mayors’ transit plan following the cancellation of the SNG LRT and the advancement of the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain highlights the need to improve rapid transit on along King George Boulevard, which would be achieved by building the remaining 11 km of rapid transit outlined in the Mayors’ Council plan for South Fraser.
In 2019, based on a very preliminary analysis, the transit company presented three potential options for improving rapid transit along the Newton-Guildford corridor.
One option looked at extending the existing SkyTrain infrastructure from downtown Surrey along King George Boulevard to downtown Newton at an estimated cost of around $ 1.4 billion, unadjusted in function of inflation. This option does not include an additional $ 300 million for bus rapid transit (BRT) along 104th Avenue between Surrey Central Station and downtown Guildford, which TransLink considers a corridor that does not not justify the SkyTrain.
The SkyTrain and BRT combination would attract a total daily passenger count of between 55,000 and 60,000 by 2050, or between 33,000 and 38,000 more passengers per day than maintaining the existing R1 RapidBus (96 B-Line) service . SkyTrain would offer optimal speed, frequencies, reliability and reduce the need for transfers for some trips.
Another option would upgrade the existing R1 RapidBus route to BRT standards for $ 900 million, which would attract up to 45,000 people per day, or 16,000 to 30,000 more than the RapidBus.
In comparison, relaunching the SNG LRT project would generate around 45,000 to 50,000 passengers per day, or between 21,000 and 33,000 more passengers per day than RapidBus.
For its Transport 2050 planning process of creating a new 30-year regional transport plan, TransLink plans to pursue an option for the SkyTrain on King George Boulevard to Newton plus the BRT on 104th Avenue to the center. -City of Guildford, or the alternative option of a larger BRT and LRT network in Surrey. TransLink is expected to present its draft regional transport plan for public consultation before the end of 2021.
TransLink plans to launch the R6 RapidBus line by September 2023, along Scott Road, 120 Street and 72nd Avenue between Scott Road Station and the Scottsdale and Newton bus interchanges.