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Dianne Watts angry Surrey dropped from RapidBus plans

SURREY (NEWS1130) – Surrey’s mayor is outraged, claiming her city was quietly dropped from RapidBus plans for the new Port Mann Bridge.

Dianne Watts has been fighting for more buses and new modes of transit in Surrey. But the new RapidBus service will bypass her city altogether, despite new HOV and transit ramps built at 156 Street.

“I think it’s unacceptable that there’s no stop in Surrey,” says Watts, adding she wasn’t given any warning that this was going to happen.

“We anticipated that it should be there. When we heard recently that it wasn’t going to be there, it’s causing us some concern, as well as our residents in the Guildford area and the Fraser Heights area,” she tells us.

“Here’s another instance where we have to make sure that all of the plans are aligned and that things like this don’t get missed. Our transportation engineers are having conversations with the province to ensure that that does get dealt.”

The plan for a transit hub and park and ride in Surrey still appears on the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project website (see screenshot below), and has been promised by the province since 2007.

But Derek Zabel with TransLink says that part of the project was dropped — at least, by the transit authority.

“It was actually just kind of a conceptual plan with the City of Surrey, GoBC, TransLink and some private developers. No agreements were ever made and the discussion didn’t continue on. So, it actually was never part of the TransLink plan.”

He says future plans for a RapidBus stop at 156th Street could be worked out, but would require the new off-ramps to be reconfigured because they haven’t been finished for bus stops and pedestrians.

Transportation Minister Mary Polak says a stop at 160th would only be built as a park and ride for the nearby bus loop.

“It’s likely that that would happen at some stage in the future, and we have built the infrastructure for Highway 1 there to accommodate that in the future. But TransLink has made the decision not to do that at this time,” she says.

Polak reminds people that there is a SkyTrain stop just 10 minutes from the 156th stop, whereas there’s no transit in the Fraser Valley.

The RapidBus will link Langley with SkyTrain north of the Fraser, starting December 1st.

(Courtesy pmh1project.com  Nov 23/12)