Rail for the Valley Chilliwack is calling for a low-cost regional passenger rail system.

LETTER: Mayor Braun’s $8 billion transit plan will take too long to complete

‘We deserve better than having to sit in traffic for decades waiting for alternative transit to be built’

Editor:

I am concerned by Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun’s $8 billion plan to build a completely new commuter railroad or SkyTrain to the Fraser Valley.

The fact of the matter is that that this proposal will take decades to complete and leave residents with few high-quality options in the interim. This grandiose “white elephant” metro acts as a distraction from more readily achievable transit solutions such as the Interurban rail route that would connect Chilliwack and Abbotsford directly with the expanded SkyTrain at Langley City.

We deserve better than having to sit in traffic for decades waiting for alternative transit to be built.

Mayor Braun states the contractual right the Province of British Columbia has to operate passenger service on the existing Interurban is unviable. However, his supposed impossibility of the Interurban line operating on the CP-owned track between Fort Langley and Cloverdale is completely without merit.

Today freight lines shared with community rail services are becoming increasingly common. San Diego, Newark, Ottawa, Portland, Sonoma County, and the Altamont Pass region near San Jose are examples of successful passenger rail sharing freight track.

Why can’t the Fraser Valley operate a similar low-cost regional passenger rail system? Mayor Braun rejects the thoroughly researched Interurban proposal and won’t move forward with the Fraser Valley Regional District for its consideration. Might he be protecting the freight rail industry that he has done business with? The public deserves an explanation of his perceived bias.

As well, his scheme to build an entirely new route along the freeway is not the best option for numerous reasons, too many to go into detail here. The existing Interurban route connects downtowns throughout the Fraser Valley whereas the Highway 1 route deviates from key destinations.

A rail route along Highway 1 from Abbotsford to Langley would need costly roads, parking and station infrastructures to be built, encouraging urban sprawl and encroach upon farmland. Alternatively, the Interurban route already connects existing town and city centres, residential communities, universities, businesses and industrial areas.

A win-win for all.

It’s time the Fraser Valley Regional District seriously considers the in-depth, Interurban rail transit study that creates affordable, environmentally sound, feasible options rather than red herrings which seemingly advance the interests of freight rail companies and developers who would prefer to convert farmland into strip malls, industrial parks, and McMansions.

Thomas Cheney, on behalf of Rail for the Valley Chilliwack

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Thief steals bucket truck in Abbotsford while worker is 20 feet in air

Employee is able to jump to safety after suspect drives into pole

Abbotsford’s Cole Brandsma receives invite to Volleyball Canada virtual camp

UBC volleyball player one of 27 players in Canada invited to summer virtual camp

Fraser Valley Real Estate Board says sales double in June, buyers returning to market

Month’s property sales rebound 113% over May’s sales, 32% over June last year

Supreme Court orders new French-language school for Abbotsford, improved one for Chilliwack

A French-only elementary school must be built in Abbotsford, court ordered in landmark ruling

Man battling cancer paints thank-you rocks for Abbotsford health-care workers

Dale Leguerrier creates more than 200 rocks for hospital and hospice staff

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Investigation clears RCMP in incident where man fell from Langley overpass

‘Officers acted commendably and placed themselves at risk’ police watchdog report finds

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Councillor Doug Elford Surrey’s acting mayor during McCallum’s “health concern” absence

Mayor issued a statement Tuesday night saying he’ll be back on the job by Monday

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Most Read