Light rail should follow highway widening, Abbotsford mayor says

Braun says Highway 1 must be widened ‘yesterday’

The current provincial government must follow through on their predecessors’ plans to widen Highway 1 from Langley to Abbotsford, but should also think about running light rail to the central Fraser Valley, Mayor Henry Braun says.

In October, the Ministry of Transportation cast doubt on whether the new government would follow through with the BC Liberals’ pledge to eventually six-lane Highway 1 into Abbotsford.

Braun said that work needs to proceed as soon as possible.

“We need to widen Highway 1; it needs to happen, like, yesterday,” he said Thursday. “I am still optimistic that this government will do the right thing.”

But Braun said the province should also start making a plan to build an LRT line to Abbotsford, potentially down the median of Highway 1. Plans are already afoot to run light rail from Surrey to Langley, which will alter the regional transit landscape. The next step, Braun said, is developing a long-term plan to extend that line to Abbotsford, whether down Highway 1 or along Fraser Highway.

“Unless someone puts this in a 10-year capital plan, it’s never going to happen.”

Highway 1 could pose a challenge to LRT construction in some points because of the narrowness of the median and the need to accommodate existing overpasses, which frequently are among the costliest elements of highway projects. Future widening projects could further hinder such plans if not built with light rail in mind.

Braun said he has advocated running LRT down the median for years, and noted that, before he retired 15 years ago, the company he ran had been involved in such projects in Calgary, Edmonton and elsewhere.

The priority, though, remains the widening of the highway.

While transit advocates have been critical of such plans, saying they will become clogged as more vehicles hit the road, Braun said that a wider highway is vital to move not only cars and trucks, but also to allow for rapid-transit buses to move between Abbotsford and its western neighbours.

“There’s no point in beefing up our bus transit on a two-lane highway,” he said.

While in power, the BC Liberals had promised to widen Highway 1 to 264th Street in Langley and, eventually, all the way to Whatcom Road in Abbotsford. But last fall, the government suggested that might not take place.

“Future Highway 1 corridor improvements are being looked at as part of the broader assessment of the transportation network,” a ministry spokesperson wrote to Black Press at the time. “Any future projects on Highway 1 will be announced at a future date.”

Just Posted

‘Jacky boy’ remembered for his love

Friends and family share stories of young Crescent Beach train victim

Doug McCallum, Tom Gill already squaring off in Surrey mayoral race

Gill ‘surprised’ McCallum’s running; McCallum doesn’t think Gill would make a good mayor

White Rock warns of early-morning construction noise

Storm sewer, watermain installation set for July 23-27

Steele, Surrey First part ways

Longtime councillor says she resigned but Tom Gill says departure wasn’t her choice

Former White Rock Renegades aim to carve out time for themselves with Team Canada

Sara Groenewegen and Danielle Lawrie-Locke competing this week at Canada Cup

Stolen White Rock sunshade puts heat on pet-relief effort

Broken umbrella taken ‘within 10 minutes’

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

Most Read

l -->