Surrey transportation plan to focus on growing city population and rapid transit

The city is surveying residents to get their thoughts on how to develop public transit in the region

A TransLink bus at parked Newton Exchange in Surrey. (Wikimedia Commons)

The City of Surrey is working on a transportation plan that will focus on “addressing the climate crisis, prioritizing safety, balancing equity and leveraging new technology.”

Back in 2008, the city initially created the transportation plan, though a number of changes have been made since then.

“Ever since 2008, a number of things have changed in the transportation world, so there were a bunch of different motivations for us to redo the transportation strategic plan and… make it a little more focused and action-oriented,” says Douglas McLeod, Surrey Transportation Planning Manager.

According to the city’s website, the plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, and will go beyond Surrey’s transportation vision for 2050 with action plans for the next ten years. This will be implemented with a structure for future transportation investments and a way to measure the progress towards the long term vision.

McLeod says the plan includes a micro-mobility plan, which includes cycling, scooters and personal powered devices. He says this will benefit students because they won’t have to rely on their cars as often to travel within Surrey.

“Surrey has been long dominated by the car. The reality is to make the city accommodate all the growth … and we have to give more options,” he says. “Setting that direction of what we want the vision of Surrey to be — in terms of certain routes, certain rapid transit corridors, a certain bike network — and then showing some demonstrated actions towards getting there, is going to have a direct benefit for university students.”

McLeod says the transit plan will be aligned with TransLink’s Transport 2050 regional transportation strategy., which also includes a longer term development goal of rapid transit for Surrey.

While the Surrey Transportation Plan and TransLink’s transport 2050 both focus on developing more rapid transit in the city, Surrey’s Transportation Plan is expected to be more “robust”and Surrey-specific, McLeod says.

The plan will set out a place for rapid transit corridors, future transit network routes, and rapid bus routes, like the R6 Rapid bus which will connect Scott Road SkyTrain station to Newton Exchange and pass by KPU.

“The ten-year action plan will be to work with TransLink and say ‘these are the next steps to get towards that eventual vision,’” he says.

The plan is in phase two, which will end on Nov. 30, and the Surrey Transportation Plan is conducting a survey to hear from Surrey’s community on a transportation vision that best suits the city’s needs. The plan wants to especially hear from younger people who use transit, says McLeod, adding that youth and students will benefit from the plan, as roughly 25 per cent of the city’s population is under the age of 19.

“That demographic is going to have the greatest benefit of this plan. They’re going to be the recipients of the next 10, 20 years of action plans, and things that get built and policies that get in place that actually help change and shape transportation,” he says.

“Please take the survey, stay informed. We’re going to have another round of engagements in the spring … and we really want everyone’s input on it.”