New Surrey stop on 555 a hit – prompts TransLink to increase service

156 St Stop Bus
A bus approaches the new 555 stop at Highway 1 and 156th Street, giving Surrey residents improved access to Greater Vancouver.

The new 555 stop in Surrey is a hit! In case you’re not aware of my involvement with the stop, I encourage you to read my article on the stop’s introduction now at [CLICK HERE]. Reporter Kevin Diakiw from the Surrey Leader also did an excellent report on the stop and my involvement, which also highlights an important endorsement from city Councillor Tom Gill on my advocacy work throughout the past year:

Rapid bus now has Surrey stop – Surrey Leader

Coun. Tom Gill, who chairs the city’s transportation committee, said the bus stop materialized thanks to the relentless campaign by 18-year-old Daryl Dela Cruz, who on his website, describes himself as a technology fan, a transit user, a researcher and a community issues advocate.

Gill describes him as a “outspoken, very smart, intelligent young man” who inundated Gill and the committee with well-argued facts supporting the need for the bus access.

“He has been non-stop for a year (pushing for the stop),” Gill said…

[READ MORE]

As for what’s the story now, the #555 bus from Braid Station to Carvolth Exchange in Langley, stopping at 156 Street in Surrey, has received a service increase. Buses now operate every 7-8 minutes in the AM peak period, responding to increased demand as a result of a popular 156 St stop. They previously operated every 9-10 minutes. The service change was confirmed through a schedule change in the 555 schedule posted by TransLink on its website.

[#555 schedule – TransLink – CLICK HERE]

Schedule changes on the 555 improve service to every 7.5 minutes in the morning peak, increasing service for both Surrey and Langley riders. Schedule: TransLink
Schedule changes on the 555 improve service to every 7-8 minutes in the morning peak up from 9-10 minutes, increasing service for both Surrey and Langley riders. Schedule: TransLink

The materialization of this service increase may have had to do with a citizen effort I was informed about, called #555passup, to inform TransLink of the growing service needs and pass-ups on the 555 route that would result in Carvolth passengers being told to wait for the next bus by TransLink security, to make room for riders boarding at 156th Street.

It would seem that much of the efforts were spearheaded by a local rider named Donald Nguyen.

All in all, with only a couple of weeks having passed since the stop’s opening, it looks like my efforts have definitely not gone to waste – and neither have these riders’, to improve the new service provided for them. It thrills me to see that I have given hope in citizens and may have started new trends in citizen-lead transit improvement advocacy. As the improvements materialize, Surrey residents are realizing significant benefits of a new bus stop that really should have been built in the first place – and with demand increasing, funding will soon need to increase further so this service can keep up with the high demand.

Having seen citizens come up with innovative ways to advocate for smaller-scale improvements gives me hope as well – hope in a larger-scale effort we’re going to need to have in order to push the big improvements in transit funding the entire region needs.

The question now is, how can we expect the authorities in charge of funding – specifically, the provincial government, who have also explicitly tied the introdduction of any new sources to a referendum – to be responsive, if at all, to our concerns.

Students are not sheep.

Pedestrian light being installed at site of fatal crash

by  Kevin Diakiw – Surrey North Delta Leader
posted Jan 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Five months after a teenage girl was killed while walking across a road in Newton, the city is installing a set of pedestrian lights at the accident location.

On Sept. 18, 2013, Amarpreet Sivia, 16, was walking across 128 Street at 69 Avenue, near Princess Margaret Secondary School – where she was a student – when a motorcycle hit her and two other girls.

Sivia did not survive the accident.

In wake of the accident, there was a new call for a lighted crosswalk at that location….

(read more – Surrey Leader)

On the topic of crosswalks, I’m glad to see that action is FINALLY being taken at 128th Street in Surrey, at the location of a pedestrian death that I took up last fall in a blog write-up.

Looking south on 128th Street from 72nd Avenue, at the crosswalk-less stretch. Courtesy: Google Street View
Looking south on 128th Street from 72nd Avenue, at the crosswalk-less stretch. Courtesy: Google Street View

There was a Facebook comment on this article I took notice while on break at Kwantlen in Richmond today, and I felt like I just had to write a comment. Read more below.

Diane Scheuneman from Surrey

This was a horrible accident which has changed many people’s lives. I feel for all these people and hope they have the support and understanding they require to recover as best they are able to continue on with their lives.

However, during the period when my daughter attended Kwantlen University I often dropped her off and picked her up at different times of the day, I saw many of the local high school students crossing the street wherever they wanted instead of using the safer alternative of crossing the street at 72 Avenue and 128, which is a light regulated cross walk and not far off their chosen path. In addition, these students were often on their cell phones, engaged with one another and not paying attention to the traffic and their own safety.

High school students go on to Kwantlen campus (why?) and often walk in a horizontal line across the limited driving lanes in the parking lot, disrespectful of vehicle drivers doing their best to safely navigate through a maze of students, who are not walking where and as they should be (on the side, single file). Drivers have to come to complete stops and wait. It was a very frustrating situation for drivers accompanied at times by rude behavior from the students.

I hope that the administration at Princess Margaret high school have had numerous pedestrian safety workshops for students teaching them their own responsibilities when walking in traffic, and that Kwantlen University is not their ‘playground’.

Perhaps the Surrey School District should share in the responsibility and have secure high fences around the entire school premises with designated entries/exits which would file students/visitors on and off the premises using safe methods (e.g. entry/exit onto 72 Avenue where they would then walk to the street corner to cross in the light-controlled crosswalk; entry/exit at the back to then cross at the new crosswalk). Otherwise, 128 Street could be ‘littered’ with crosswalks every half block based on where the high school students choose to cross the road! What a traffic nightmare that would be.

I hope that the safety of all improves with this new crosswalk, student traffic/safety education and that suggestions from community people be heard and possibly implemented.

My response

You may wish to read my viewpoint on this issue I published last October.
http://darylvsworld.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/political-incompetence-kills/

According to City of Surrey & BC by-laws, students crossing to reach the businesses at 70th Avenue are not jaywalking. This is because they are crossing more than 1 block away from the lighted crosswalk – and Surrey bylaws state that if there’s no crosswalk, you’re expected to just cross. Lunch break at Princess Margaret is just 45 minutes long. You seriously cannot (and I mean CANNOT and SHOULD NOT) expect students to go out of their way to 72nd Ave on limited lunch time. I reckon that habits of running and hurrying would make them even less safe than with the current arrangement where they cross 128th St closer to the businesses.

As I mention in my above write-up, I am a graduate from Johnston Heights Secondary in Guildford. Previous to my 9th grade year, students were regularly crossing 4 lanes of 100th Avenue, either at an unmarked location on 153rd Street – not within 1 block of any signalized intersection – or at varying points to the west and east, within 1 block of a signalized intersection and thus doing so illegally. This crosswalk and another on 152nd St was signalized in 2009 and all students use the signalized crosswalks today. They were a huge success, and they are benefiting not only school students, but also the entire neighbourhood through improved access on several fronts.

128th Street does not have to be littered with crosswalks every half block – there are two spots where signalized or at least marked crosswalks do make sense. My experience at JH demonstrates that one or two crosswalks would probably be fully successful at preventing crossing at any unmarked spots.

I don’t think that money spent to educate students on where to cross and not cross the road would be money not well spent, but think of the logistics – you’d have to do this every single year. A signalized crosswalk, on the other hand, would be not only be a one-time investment – there would be a cost offset through economic benefits, as the crosswalk may encourage students to check out the local businesses. It can’t be denied that ease of access matters a lot in our society. Why do you think high-density neighbourhoods are popping up along the SkyTrain lines throughout Metro Vancouver?

On the issue of high school students going into Kwantlen and crossing the parking lot the way they do…. well, it’s a parking lot. Do you seriously expect students to adhere to unwritten rules of walking along the edge of a parking lot that does not have any proper sidewalk or walking path defining a pathway to Kwantlen? I would think that Kwantlen needs to make changes to their parking lot design if through pedestrian traffic is supposed to be accommodated.

Lastly, please allow me to say that I take issue with your suggestion that PM Secondary be turned into a prison with high fences around the entire premises and limited exits from all directions. What did we do to deserve that kind of shame? And, what do you think we are? Sheep!?

Regards,
– KPU student

96 B-Line Execution proves that TransLink Listens

Surrey transit

Like many other riders and observers of the 96 B-Line, one of the first things I thought when I noticed the new artic buses going down King George Blvd. and 104th Ave, alongside the usual 321 and 320 buses, was that many 96 B buses weren’t as well used as the crowded 320s and 321s.

When I started my classes at KPU this fall, I often found myself going through Surrey Central Station in the mid-day (1:30-2PMish) on a near-empty 96, passing long lineups for both the 320 and the 321. It was something that was being noted by many members of Skyscraperpage – an urban observation forum – in a discussion during its launch.

The whole situation  had me concerned as an early adopter of the 96 B-Line for my commutes and a transit rider in Surrey, and so I brought the following points to the discussion at SSP:

Originally Posted by xd_1771 [LINK]

The 96 is a bit of a special case; with the exception of the 104 Ave corridor (and the 337 will still exist, and is extremely popular), it’s not really replacing any main express services that previously existed. It IS the first express service.

That was different in the case of the other B-Lines. I’m pretty sure that before the #99, there was another express bus of sorts that made its way to Broadway (I think it was the #85). In the case of the #98, it took over many direct-to-Vancouver 400-series express services from Richmond (and some were later reintroduced during peak hours only). The #97 replaced the express bus route #147, and its introduction was aided by the new Millennium Line.

The issue here is that riders are still seeing the #96 as a complement and not as the main service. There’s been a definite need for this B-Line, however, and so this should change as time goes by. People need to be given time to make discoveries of how there are benefits. The 96 will be heftily more reliable than the 321 as the service is far more predictable with less stops. Ridership moving onto the 96 will eventually improve conditions for those who insist on continuing to use 321.

Neither TransLink nor the City of Surrey have done well on the part of marketing. The City of Surrey could have lauded its introduction in a press release of sorts (with a Mayor or Councillor speech maybe) and that would have hugely helped introduce the bus route to the entire city. TransLink could put some signage at the 320 and 321’s major terminals to direct riders onto the 96. Also, destination signs; 96 is labelled as Guildford Exchange/Newton Exchange, and so it might not be immediately clear to 321/320/etc riders that this bus also services riders headed to SkyTrain. Those appear to be the primary issues that are preventing the 96 from gaining huge traction.

Notice the two points I highlighted in bold: wayfinding signage at stations, and desgination signs on the buses.

In mid-September I noticed that the 96 B-Line articulated buses were starting to have “via Surrey Central” signs on the front window of the bus, visible to any riders that might be looking at the bus and thinking that it did not connect with SkyTrain at Surrey Central and King George. About the same time, I noticed one wayfinding sign put up at Surrey Central Station to direct some riders to one of the 96 stops.

Today I was back at Surrey Central heading into Surrey, and noticed a barrage of new 96 B-Line wayfinding signage on the station houses and in places otherwise directly visible to riders. At least one of the signs was inside the main station house, directly visible to exiting SkyTrain riders. Pictures below (click to enlarge):

Whether TransLink was actually having a look at SSP or not and whether I may have unintentionally actually influenced the execution of the 96 B-Line bus route is yet to be actually confirmed. I can, however, report on the effects of this.

I’ve been noticing a number of other things about the 96 B-Line, as a regular rider. Firstly, the buses are indeed being used well and are gaining ridership faster than I had predicted in early September. On September 23rd – after 20 days of 96 B-Line service – I spotted the first full, standing-room-only 96 B-Line bus departing for Newton from Surrey Central. I rushed to take a picture of it with my smartphone, and put that photo on Twitter:

IMG_20130923_173751_016

I think that the adjustments to the execution are really helping.

NEWSLETTER: Give the 96 B-Line a chance

I wrote quickly in response to a couple of letters in last Tuesday’s Surrey Leader complaining about the new 96 B-Line in Surrey. The Surrey Leader has delivered, and you can read my letter response which appeared in Thursday’s issue. Meanwhile, here’s a snippet….

This letter is for frustrated 320 and 321 bus riders.

I ride transit every day and like you, I have seen the situation on the 96 B-Line, 320 and 321; adaptation has been slow, 320s and 321s are often sardine-can full and the 96 is not always sardine-can full.

Before you decide to be dismissive about the 96, I would like to suggest that you look at what it is providing for other riders, and to potentially you.

The 96 B-Line may be the single biggest improvement TransLink has ever granted to a corridor in history: it is the only B-Line route ever introduced that is not replacing previous express buses. The 99, 98 and 97 all replaced express buses that were well utilized.

If you’re riding the 320 and 321 and not having a great experience, I encourage you to take note of the 96 and see how it fits with your commute – try it first. One letter writer who dislikes the 96 could walk two blocks in either direction to a stop served by it…..

[READ MORE – SURREY LEADER]

The business case for SkyTrain faregates and Compass

It looks like at least one newspaper editor in the Lower Mainland is not doing his or her research. In particular, the South Delta Leader baffled me last month with an editorial claiming that the Compass Card fare system is a blunder, and that it will cost TransLink.

TransLink estimates that fare evasion costs the local transit authority $7 million annually. If that’s the case, it will take TransLink close to 25 years just to break even on the Compass Card program, given the $170 million it has spent.

From the South Delta Leader – [LINK]

An even more baffling letter appeared in today’s issue of the Surrey Leader newspaper.

…The above figure assumes that there is no cost for money, which is unrealistic. The money invested in the project is undoubtedly borrowed by the different levels of government. Assuming a four per cent interest rate, the discounted payback period is nearly 91 years, a relatively long time to recover the cost of installing the new fare gates.

From the Surrey Leader – [LINK]

I think that this is a key misinterpretation that people are making when Compass is involved.

Adopting a smart card system had been planned for years before the SkyTrain faregates. No thanks to the likes of former B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon and the media’s push on the faregates as being a tool to reduce fare evasion, I’m not surprised that many people still believe that the sole reason for the installation of faregates has to do with that. However, there are plenty of other benefits to the faregates and Compass – they just haven’t been publicized as much.

For example, the trip tracking that will be made possible with Compass Cards allows TransLink to work from solid data for the first time when optimizing bus services. No more guesswork. This generates benefits because bus service is better allocated to bring more reliable service to customers, which can increase ridership while lowering costs.

Shorter payment times will also significantly improve reliability on buses, as I explored in my earlier write-up on the matter: [CLICK HERE]

As early as 2010, there were editorials written slamming TransLink for “not having a business case” for installing faregates and Compass. But, a business case was indeed developed, all the way back in 2009. You can view it by searching the document library on TransLink’s website or at this link: [CLICK HERE]

A 15 year net present value analysis, as part of the business case for the Compass smart card system and the SkyTrain faregates.
A 15 year net present value analysis, as part of the business case for the Compass smart card system and the SkyTrain faregates. Apparently, the projected benefits in this chart are only partial: they do not include not include future revenue through commercial arrangements nor the cash flow benefits due to the new card process.

Also, with $70 million of the funding for the Compass and Faregates system coming from senior levels of government, a business case would be a requirement for the project to have gone forward at all.

With no business case or a poor business case, this project would not exist. It would have never gone through the TransLink scrutiny and auditing imposed by the same provincial government that wanted to make this system a reality.

Double responses to Fraser Heights NIMBY/anti-transit letter

A transit bus waits during a "layover" at Surrey Central SkyTrain Station. Photo credit: CC-BY-NC-SA Flickr: Dennis Tsang
A transit bus waits during a “layover” at Surrey Central SkyTrain Station. Photo credit: CC-BY-NC-SA Flickr: Dennis Tsang

In what can be considered a major victory for Fraser Heights transit riders, there have been two responses to a letter to the editor/rotten tomatoes submission from a Fraser Heights resident, who dislikes the noise of full-size buses going through the neighbourhood.

One of the two was mine and was published today in the Surrey Leader…. (8/28 – The Now has also published a varied version I wrote [CLICK HERE])

Full-size buses welcome in Fraser Heights – Surrey Leader

Re: “‘Cast-off’ buses geared for Surrey riders,” Letters, The Leader, Aug. 15.

This letter is very insulting to the many Fraser Heights residents who are repaying the recent bus size increases with their patronage.

As a frequent rider of the 337 Fraser Heights (I get on/off at 156 Street), I can say from experience that the full-size buses on the 337 are indeed necessary. Peak-hour trips see standing-room only loads, and off-peak hour trips see more than the 24 people that can be accommodated by a community bus.

TransLink’s response has been justified. The recent bus performance report revealed that the 337 has the fastest-growing ridership of any bus route in Surrey, and the full-size buses are preventing pass-ups and keeping the 337 reliable for the demand……

See more at: The Leader website

…and the other was from another letter-writer who would seem to live further into Fraser Heights than I do; this was published on The Now Newspaper last week (but should also be on the same edition of The Leader – [CLICK HERE]).

Surrey bus service suffers from bottlenecks – Surrey Now

The Editor, Re: “A bus full of rotten tomatoes to TransLink for its decision to run intrusive, noisy large buses through Fraser Heights’ small streets, 16 hours per day. Most of these buses carry less than the capacity of our former small ‘community buses.’ This is a waste of money and an assault on our senses!” the Now Roses and Rotten Tomatoes, Aug. 8, and “TransLink gets credit while lowly subsidize,” the Now letters, July 30.

There have been comments published in the Now newspaper that said most of the buses servicing Fraser Heights were old and empty. Yes, many buses are “old” but then, age is just a number if they are well maintained.

Not knowing where on the Fraser Heights bus route the writer of this comment lives, he/she may not know the majority of people get off and on the buses within the first or last few stops in Fraser Heights, so the buses would have few people until they loop around to pick up those leaving Fraser Heights.

The buses are full with standees in the mornings heading out of Fraser Heights (even during the summer) and packed with standees in the afternoons, heading into Fraser Heights……

See more at: The Now Newspaper website

I think it was particularly interesting that I wasn’t the only one who sent in a response to this letter-writer, and that the other letter was based upon very similar concerns and experiences. It looks like it’s clear what are the priorities of Fraser Heights and area residents (especially transit riders).

Regarding the stats, this is the document you need to look at (on TransLink’s website – CLICK HERE). The 337 placed 3rd in ridership growth between South-of-Fraser bus routes in 2010-2011 with 13.3% growth, and placed 1st in 2011-2012 with 14.1% growth. It now services more than 750,000 boardings annually.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Split from TransLink makes little sense

Looking forward inside a Vancouver transit bus. Photo: CC-BY-NC-ND Flickr: Cyprien
Looking forward inside a Vancouver transit bus. Photo: CC-BY-NC-ND Flickr: Cyprien

The two points I made in the last sentence of this letter are the only two points I make in favour of my position on where the South of Fraser region should stand on transit and TransLink. The reason for just two is because I think that’s all I really need to say about this, really.

If anyone’s wondering about the Toronto fares mention, you can confirm this through my article and infograph: Transit is more affordable in Vancouver (infographic)

There are some things I just can’t grasp when it comes to south-of-Fraser views on transit issues, from the notion from our leaders that SkyTrain expansion will split communities (SkyTrain has built communities), to the idea that the south-of-Fraser region should split from TransLink.

Take the recent column by Frank Bucholtz suggesting splitting from TransLink, for instance. (CLICK HERE to view – “Time to Break from TransLink”)

Frank is fed up by the seemingly “discriminatory” attitude towards transit expansion south of the Fraser.

Yet, in the past several years, the south-of-Fraser area has received the highest proportion of service hours during expansions. There would have been more, were it not for the limits being set by funding issues for everyone in the region.

He is also fed up with three-zone fares ($5.50) to reach Vancouver from Surrey or Langley. But it must be realized that the distance between Surrey and Vancouver is at least 17 kilometers; many trips exceed 30 kms, and TransLink often has to pay for one or two buses and a SkyTrain trip from your flat-rate fare.

Trying to travel the same distance in Metro Toronto between cities would cost between $6.25 and $7.75 each way, every day. It costs just $5.50 here, during peak commuting hours only – and just $2.75 on evenings and weekends.

True, there are some inexcusable nitpicks like the lack of a Surrey stop on the Highway 1 RapidBus.

However, it’s hard to say whose fault that is. Neither the province nor nearby developers were able to build a place for TransLink to safely stop without incurring delays and/or extra costs.

I’m all for better transit south of the Fraser, but a separate south-of-Fraser transit authority is not the answer.

It doesn’t make sense. Attempting to split off would complicate decisions on funding methods, and it would affect transit service during the process.

Daryl Dela Cruz

Surrey

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Interurban is just a piece of history

Interurban car 1225 rests at Marpole Station on the old Steveston Interurban
Interurban car 1225 rests at Marpole Station on the old Steveston Interurban in this old-time picture posted on Vancouver Is Awesome

I sent the blog post I created on the Interurban being “dead” as a newsletter to the Surrey Leader, responding to this column about it by Frank Bucholtz. Looks like it was published today on their website, and is likely going to be on tomorrow’s paper issue.

As I have a feeling that this is going to spark some further controversy regarding my comments and my stance on transit, I’d like to offer some additional comments as to why I have set my foot on this position.

The Fraser Valley interurban right-of-way has long been a target for transit advocates here in the South of Fraser (take note: Rail for the Valley initiative, South Fraser on Trax, other groups and individuals), largely on what seems to be a established bases of:

  1. Having been a previously-used transit service
  2. Being a public-owned right-of-way, therefore:
  3. Being “ready-to-build” for a relatively inexpensive Fraser Valley rail transit service.
A map of the Fraser Valley interurban right of way, and the Trans-Canada Highway.
A map of the Fraser Valley interurban right of way, and the Trans-Canada Highway.

Between these advocates and official transportation planning and funding authorities like TransLink, BC Transit and the Province in general, there has been a lot of argument. Conflicting studies suggesting different capital costs per km have been thrown around here and there and claims of bias have been called by some of these advocates, pitting one study over another and citing differing reasons as to why.

Yet, at the same time, it seems that many of these advocates haven’t answered certain questions important in determining what investments are useful and what are not; in particular, the first question I note in my newsletter: “What is the current demand, and how will it change”. How many people are even travelling between Abbotsford and Chiliwack, and between those two points and Metro Vancouver. It’s reasonable to want a constantly-running alternative to driving, but in a province mired with billions in debt, I would think that the alternative has to be very well justified.

It also doesn’t seem that any of them have bothered to look at other alternatives to providing quality transit to the Fraser Valley from Metro Vancouver. An official proposal by B.C. Transit, albeit it is without funding and without a (detailed) implementation timeline, suggests a 10-minute peak rapid bus service extending from the new Carvolth Exchange in Langley Township to Abbotsford via the Trans-Canada Highway, and a 15-minute peak service to Chiliwack. I like this idea. I think that this is a very responsible and reasonable alternative, because it does provide a quality service, and only costs enough to warrant debate if demand warrants more buses or an upgrade to trains.

What the future of Fraser Valley transit could look like, according to an official proposal.
What the future of Fraser Valley transit could look like, according to an official proposal.

I’m not an anti-history person. On the Interurban cars and service, I believe they are a truly fascinating subject on how our region has grown and how people used to get around. Last week during the Salmon Festival in Steveston, I decided to check out Interurban car #1220 (as the admission was free for the day) and found myself fascinated by the ability to switch the seat backs from forward-facing to rear-facing (driver cabs are on both sides, so the seats can be re-oriented when the train reversed), something not done even on our current SkyTrain system. I must remind myself to soon check out that actual running interurban car – no thanks to the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society – in Cloverdale right now, which lets people relive the past transportation experience in addition to just being around it.

While it’s great to see that a part of our history is back to be celebrated for being a part of what has created today, I sent this letter and wrote what I did because I believe it’s important that people know why history is deemed history, and that looking at doing better for the now and for the future isn’t a simple matter of looking at the past and making a suggestion that is vague, somewhat unsupported, and sole among other potentially good alternatives.

Next up on this blog: an examination of why the Interurban has been largely rejected, and an examination of reasonable alternatives that haven’t been suggested by advocates.

Until then, I have put a snippet of the letter below, and you can read the rest of it on the Surrey Leader website:

Interurban just a piece of history – Surrey Leader

Great transit is like the SkyTrain, or maybe it’s like the new 555 rapid bus: It’s reliable, frequent, runs several times daily, and is filled with choice riders – riders who justify transit over driving, largely because the services they choose are of high quality.

In one survey of riders on the new Canada Line SkyTrain, trip speed is the favourite aspect.

The old Fraser Valley interurban, which was recently described in a Frank Bucholtz column (“Surrey had great transit… 100 years ago”) as “great transit”, ran only thrice daily.

When the service started in 1910, not many could actually afford the recently invented car. It’s easy to see why ridership declined after the 1940s as the car became more affordable and routes became straighter. For many, the new options won over a three-times-daily service that cannot be missed.

I agree that it was inexcusably short-sighted that the recently partly restored interurban was ended in 1955 without a reasonable alternative, but the old interurban was not great transit. It was just… transit.

READ MORE ON THE SURREY LEADER – [CLICK HERE]

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t expect the Surrey Board of Trade to care about nature

Panorama of Crescent Beach and nature in the fall. Photo credit: CC-BY-NC-SA - Flickr: Jeremy Hiebert
Panorama of Crescent Beach and nature in the fall. A Fraser River coal terminal proposal will result in coal trains regularly passing this area. Photo credit: CC-BY-NC-SA – Flickr: Jeremy Hiebert

I wanted to remind our citizens what the Surrey Board of Trade really stands for.

They will not side with you, and they will not side for sustainability, if doing either of those means having to side against their own primary mandate and purpose: to protect money.

Apart from any of mine, there have been a lot of great letters sent into the Surrey/North Delta Leader in the past few weeks. Do check out the Letters page [CLICK HERE] for more.

Don’t expect the Surrey Board of Trade to care about nature – Surrey Leader

Re: “Money over environment – again,” The Leader, Letters, May 30.

Your readers shouldn’t bother expecting the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) and Anita Huberman to have any legitimate, consistent concern for the environment.

When the province announced the Gateway Program, despite the cries from activists regionwide on its unsustainability, cost, and potential to offset transit investment, the SBOT ignored those concerns and fully supported it.

When Gateway Casinos proposed a massive casino at the edge of South Surrey – in an unsustainable, outer-city greenfield location with no transit access – it spawned marathon council meetings where hundreds spoke out against it, many for the reason of its unsustainable location.

Siding against concerned citizens, the SBOT fully supported it.

Their other new endorsement – Light Rail and the Light Rail Links coalition – has largely ignored studies and finished research on Surrey rapid transit, which have found that a Light Rail network will fail on modal-shift from car to transit and will not cause any net reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions.

The SBOT has long dismissed the only option that will actually reduce emissions, which is SkyTrain expansion.

I’m not surprised that the SBOT is now supporting the Fraser Surrey Docks coal terminal proposal. Our business leaders clearly prefer money at any environmental expense.

Daryl Dela Cruz, Surrey

Newsletter signifies the beginning of a split between young and old

Sign points out a voting place. Photo: CC-BY-NC-ND -  Flickr - BlueAndWhiteAmy
Sign points out a voting place. Photo: CC-BY-NC-ND – Flickr – BlueAndWhiteAmy

Last week, after the infamous Orange Crash of the 2013 BC Elections, I wrote a piece on my blog (Biggest issue B.C. will face under Liberals is a disconnect with young people) stating how young people would begin losing hope in democracy, how a split would grow between the young people of B.C. and everyone else as young people continue to be left at the back of the priority list for issue-solving, and how this could become B.C.’s single biggest future issue.

My prediction seems to be coming into fruitition, and it’s coming earlier than I expected. Earlier today, a very well-written newsletter in the Surrey Leader appeared on my reader feed. The letter was allegedly written by a student at Berkshire Park Elementary, a school near my house (about 15 minutes away by bike). It offers comments on the flawed state of democracy and voter apathy. He comments on how young adults need to start voting and offers solutions that B.C. could use to improve the turnout of democracy.

This is only the beginning of what will become a remarkable split between young and old in British Columbia.

The key thing that I think signifies it? The last lines of the letter that read “I wish I could vote, but I’m not old enough.”

Democracy flawed by voter apathy

by Jonathan Wang – Berkshire Park Elem.

There is a major flaw with our democratic system – not enough people vote in elections nowadays.

In this last election where the B.C. Liberals won, just over half of the people eligible to vote actually voted, and yet we still called it a Liberal majority government.

This doesn’t work, because a majority government should mean that it represents the opinion of the majority of people in B.C…..

[READ MORE on the Surrey Leader website]