Rendering of Surrey's proposed light rail lines

Toronto planning boss pitches LRT in Surrey

Jennifer Keesmaat says the light rail transit has the benefit of creating livable places along its route

A Toronto planning expert is in Surrey this week laying out the benefits of light rail transit (LRT).

Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s chief planner, spoke at city hall on Wednesday night, elaborating on the benefits of light rail.

One of the biggest advantages is the that it contributes to “place making,” creating areas at rail stops which create a warm and inviting feeling of place.

Her team of planners is working on the construction of Toronto’s $7-billion Eglington-Crosstown LRT project.

She has successfully recommended several transit offerings for Toronto, including rapid transit, standard rail and LRT.

“You can never solve all your problems with one project,” Keesmaat told The Leader in an interview Wednesday. “You always have to look at how your network works.”

Rapid transit is great for when you want to get people great distances at a high speed.

Local transit requires a lighter touch.

“It’s about place making, it’s about affordable housing, it’s about local commerce, it’s about creating main streets,” Keesmaat said.

“I would argue that if Surrey, or any other suburban municipality, wants to begin to transition into becoming a place where people can work and play, then don’t put some high-speed infrastructure in the sky, start creating destinations in your city you can access from excellent transit.”

Surrey has been working to get the LRT lines along 104 Avenue into Guildford and to Newton from City Centre, known as the L-Lines. In addition, the city is hoping a line down Fraser Highway, connecting Surrey City Centre, with Fleetwood, Clayton and the Langleys.

Finding the $2.7 billion to pay for it has been a challenge so far.

And the plan has opponents.

SkyTrain for Surrey advocate Daryl Dela Cruz proposes SkyTrain to Langley on Fraser Highway – which would get riders boarding in Langley to Waterfront Station in under an hour – and bus rapid transit instead of light rail on other corridors.

Light rail on King George would be only one minute faster than the existing 96 B-Line express bus to Newton, he said, while 104 Avenue would end up more congested with the loss of a lane of traffic to LRT.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sources receives $70K from SurreyCares

Funds will help with warehouse space for food programs in Surrey, White Rock, Langley

Rooftop hatchlings ‘a nice addition’ to White Rock RCMP operations

Pair of seagull chicks hatched in ‘fenced playground’ on July 2

‘Justice for Mona’ rally planned for Surrey

Security camera footage shows Mona Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check at UBCO

COVID-19: ‘Contactless’ donation drive in Surrey to help women in need

Items needed for women in shelters, transition houses in the Lower Mainland

Wanted Burnaby man arrested in White Rock

34-year-old facing 15 charges, including sexual assault

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Police nab three impaired drivers in one night in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read

l -->