On April 20, Kwantlen Polytechnic University geography instructor David Sadoway held a Big Blue Button event where students could present their research on the implementation of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) U-line that would connect Delta and Surrey.
LRT is a type of transit vehicle that uses electricity from overhead electrical wires to move passengers.
The event started off with a land acknowledgement from Sadoway and then proceeded to discuss the U-line project and how his students started off their projects with independent research on LRTs around the globe.
The course changes its focus topic every year, and Sadoway says topics on glaciers and energy geography have been explored. This year’s topic was on mobilities, livability and climate change.
For this event, there were three teams who gave a 10 to 15 minutes presentation on where a U-line LRT could be placed in various areas of Surrey and Delta.
Group one focused on a U-line going from Scott road station to Scottsdale exchange. Group two looked into the line going from Scottsdale exchange to Newton exchange while making sure to stop at the KPU Surrey campus.
Group three’s segment was a line going from Surrey Central to Newton exchange.
All three groups presented on how a U-line would benefit those specific locations connecting various areas of Surrey and Delta, help people move through high traffic areas during their commutes, and provide KPU students as well as high school students in the area accessible transit.
Sadoway created this project for his students to get them talking about transiting and mobilities. His goal was for students to focus on some of the mobility issues in Surrey and the rest of the Lower Mainland
“In the era of climate change … we need any and all ideas that will improve transit. Whether it’s buses or LRT, including some SkyTrain expansions,” Sadoway says.
Sadoway has lived in places like Hong Kong, Taipei, and New Delhi. He says he never had to worry about what part of the city he lived in because he always had access to reliable transit. Since moving to Vancouver, he had to be particular about where he lives and how accessible the transit system is.
“Transit should be the vision of the people who live in the community. It shouldn’t just be designed by technocrats or academics like myself,” Sadoway says.
Sydney Wong, KPU student and event manager for KPU’s geography club, says while working on this project she wanted to show how a U-line would help move people around without being affected by traffic.
Surrey is a location that Wong says receives a lot of traffic congestion, especially around 120th Street during peak hours. Not only would this line help with that, it will also be “environmentally friendly” and reduce carbon emissions because LRT runs on electricity.
Since buses also get stuck in traffic which can affect a person’s commute, having an LRT that runs on the street but won’t be a part of traffic is beneficial for a person’s commute.
Wong’s group presented on having a U-line go from Scott Road Station to Scottsdale Exchange, and she says the area has lots of restaurants, banquet halls and bars, so having a line there will help people avoid the trouble of finding parking. She also says involving Indigenous communities in the process of developing the U-line is important because the line will be built on their ancestral land.