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June 7,2006

The Editor,

Re. “LRT is hardly second-rate system” (Letters, The Tri-City News, May 31).

I have to disagree. Light rail transit would be a distant second to SkyTrain. SkyTrain would be fast and efficient.

Why waste money on a tram system that won’t save much time between Coquitlam Centre and Lougheed Mall? This tram would save an insignificant amount of time over the current B-line bus service to justify spending all that money. Since the tram will control the intersections, don’t you think this will affect traffic flow? I thought efficiency was the key to this project.

Yes, SkyTrain is more expensive, but it is well worth the money compared to the tram. The purpose of rapid transit is obviously to be rapid. Most people don’t realize SkyTrain-type systems all over the world are view as innovative and becoming more common in areas such as New York, Thailand, and Kuala Lumpur, just to name a few.

I have read and heard several people’s opinions on this debate, including different city councillors who prefer and support a SkyTrain-type system. Why not put it to a vote in the Tri-City area? Do we deserve less than the rest of the Lower Mainland?

Alan Marsland

Port Moody

The Editor,
Re. “LRT is hardly second-rate system” (Letters, The Tri-City News, May 31).

The trolley/tram system TransLink is planning is for Port Moody and Coquitlam is a poor choice. What we get for $800 million plus is a transit system that is marginally better than the present 97 B-line bus for speed and people moving capacity – a system 80% slower than the previously proposed SkyTrain extension.

As I recall, the Port Moody city council’s main objection to the SkyTrain extension was that a proposed tunnel portal would ruin one of its neighbourhoods. Even the proposed LRT line will have that tunnel, which will affect a neighbourhood. It will also exclude automobiles from two lanes of St. Johns Street.

The route of the SkyTrain line would have been at ground level through Port Moody, next to the CPR tracks, avoiding any conflicts with street traffic.

It is sad that because of TransLink’s myopic planning, we will forever be stuck with an ineffective transit line that, instead of “Evergreen,” should have named “The Lame Line.”

The only hope is that a $200-million TransLink funding shortfall will scuttle this project. Then, hopefully, at some point in the future, it will be decided that a proper rapid transit system will be built that is actually rapid.

Victor Amey, Coquitlam

The Editor,

With all the hype and hoopla over TransLink’s two major metro schemes, the Canada and Evergreen lines, a major development in affordable public transport has been ignored by TransLink: modern diesel light rail transit.

Diesel LRT, which meets strict European noise and pollution laws, is designed to operate on existing railways as well on its own rights-of-ways. Diesel LRT construction costs are very low – less than $10 million per kilometre – and, when compared to SkyTrain at about $90 million/km or RAV at more than $120 million/km, is very affordable. This enables a “rail” transit solution to affordably penetrate in low-density areas.

In Ottawa, the success of the first diesel LRT transit scheme has directly lead to extensions of the network and building of modern LRT.

For about $1 billion, or less than half of the present 20 km Canada Line, we could build diesel LRT from downtown Vancouver to Chilliwack using the former BC Electric Interurban route, a line to Abbotsford airport and a new combined Fraser River auto/train bridge, as planned for in 1978, replacing both present ancient and unsafe structures. Modern diesel LRT would provide an affordable rail solution for the valley, as well, providing a real alternative to the car.

Contrary to what the pundits say, there is plenty of density for diesel LRT along the former BC Electric Interurban route to Chilliwack.

The only reasons diesel LRT is not implemented in the region is current planners are not trained in rail solutions but rubber solutions, and politicians at all levels of government prefer hugely expensive, glitzy metro and highway solutions instead of affordable, workhorse LRT solutions.

Diesel LRT is a rail solution that is almost custom made for the Fraser Valley.

Malcolm Johnston

Light Rail Committee

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