Reference Library – Surrey Logistics
It has has been five years year since I entertained the idea of the Whalley King George White Rock LRT Line and in 2016 the WKW Line is still superior to what TransLink is planning for Surrey.
Surrey needs a bold new vision for modern LRT and I believe the Whalley King George White Rock or WKW Line would provide the vision to implement a strategic and affordable light rail network for Surrey and communities south of the Fraser river. Failure to plan and build sustainable light rail and to continue to plan and build with the hugely expensive SkyTrain light-metro, will beggar the region with ever escalating taxes, driving out business and residents out of the region. The goal of the new light rail line is to serve customer needs and offer the ability to provide an attractive alternative to the car, it also must serve a multitude of destinations. Building LRT as an extension of the SkyTrain light-metro system will fail to meet expectations as LRT will not be designed to its best advantage. It is not rocket science to design a transit line to be an attractive alternative to the car.
The Light Rail Line
The 22 to 24 kilometer Whalley King George Rail for the Valley White Rock line (WKW Line for short) would be a solid foundation for an attractive light rail system in Surrey. The proposed light rail would be a classic LRT, operating on a reserved rights-of-way (RoW) in the median of the roads involved. The route of the WKW Line would start at at 108th Ave. & the King George Hwy. and would continue South to the Southern RR of BC (formerly the BC Hydro R.R.) This portion of the route would service the Central City shopping district; Surrey Memorial Hospital; Queen Elizabeth Secondary School; Bear Creek Park; and the Newton shopping district.
The WKW Line would then network south-east along 4 km of the former BCE interurban line and proposed Valley Rail Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain route to 152nd. Traveling mainly through industrial lands, which would provide the ideal location for the Light Rail storage and maintenance yards. This portion of track would be double tracked and adequately signaled for safe freight/Interurban/tram operation. There is the possibility of future joint operation with the RftV/Leewood interurban, enabling South Surrey and White Rock transit customers the option of a direct or no-transfer service to downtown Vancouver.
From 152nd Street, the KWK Line would go straight south to White Rock crossing the Nicomakle /Serpentine River valley basin. Along here, the line must be raised above flood plain and three new bridges across the Super Port Railway Line, and the Serpentine and Nicomakle rivers must be built. It is this portion of line that will be the most expensive. Rising out of the small river valley the KWK Line would continue south along 152nd Ave., terminating in downtown White Rock
In the summer, the light rail line would bring congestion relief to White Rock by providing a quality transit alternative for the many thousands of people who come in cars to the popular beaches. Also close to the KWK Line is the South Surrey Athletic fields, which many fields and arenas are constantly busy with hockey, baseball, soccer, rugby, and football games, twelve months of the year. The KWK Line would also provide an excellent transportation access for the burgeoning housing estates, such as Morgan s Crossing in South Surrey and White Rock.
The the total cost of the KWK Line, including bridges and/or viaducts should cost no more than $1 billion, based on comparative LRT lines now being built The high cost of major engineering in the Nicomakle/Serpentine valley, would be mitigated by simple on-street construction on 152nd and the King George Highway and track sharing for 4 km on the Southern Railway of BC Line bisecting Surrey .
It is interesting to note that the total cost for the 98 km RftV/Leewood Chilliwack to Scott Road Interurban using Diesel LRT and the 23 km KWK Line would be about $1.6 billion or put another way we could build 121 km of modern LRT lines in the Fraser Valley for just a little more than the 11 km Evergreen Line! Unlike present light rail planning, where development is encouraged to take place along a LRT/SkyTrain route, the KWK Line can pass through sensitive agriculture and ecological areas, without the need for land development. Building the KWK Line would provide a potential capacity of around 20,000 persons per hour per direction on the route, well able to handle future passenger demands, yet still can be built much cheaper than its SkyTrain/light-metro competitors. The cost for a SkyTrain along the KWK Line? About $3 billion at a conservative cost of $130 million per km to build!
A modern LRT Line in Madrid, Spain A template for the WKW Line?
Using low-floor trams, with convenient stops, ensures an obstacle free journey for all transit customers including the mobility impaired, without the need of expensive stations and equally expensive to maintain elevators and escalators. The KWK Line can provide traffic calming where needed, yet still supply ample capacity for future transit needs. By providing a regular and efficient transit service from White Rock to Surrey Central and by servicing many destinations along its route the proposed LRT line would attract ample ridership, including the all important motorist from the car. The KWK Line would also easily integrate with the RftV TramTrain interurban service from Vancouver to Chilliwack and could provide in the not too distant future a direct White Rock to Vancouver TramTrain service, faster than the present bus and Canada line service. The WKW Line would bring 21st century transit solutions to Surrey, transit solutions that are too long overdo.
There s a dusty tombstone in Boot Hill cemetery in Arizona that bears a most unfortunate epitaph: Lynched by mistake. The concept of so-called frontier justice is almost as old as the stones, dating way before Mary Shelly wrote about torch-wielding mobs in Frankenstein, before Robin Hood drove the Sheriff of Nottingham to distraction, and even back to the Book of Genesis in the Bible. Pop culture is filled with freelance crime fighters: Spiderman, the Lone Ranger, Zorro
Of course in their world, they always win. In the real world however, and sometimes right here in Surrey, things don t always turn out well for people who try to do the right thing. While there are vigilante groups, per se, most citizens who instinctively react to a crime in progress would not characterize themselves as vigilantes. The word itself is Spanish in origin and refers to one who watches or guards. There are notorious groups who take what they believe to be justice into their own hands, such as the Wimmin s Fire Brigade which fire-bombed a Red Hot Video store on Scott Road in 1982, along with two other adult video shops in the Lower Mainland. The Surrey video store, at 9442 Scott Rd., was totally destroyed along with neighbouring Collins Safety Shoes and three vacant shops. The radical feminist group used gasoline bombs. This is an act of self-defence against hate propaganda, read their note to the press.
There are also the heroic groups such as the Guardian Angels, a group founded in 1979 by Curtis Sliwa, a McDonald s manager in the Bronx. Wearing red jackets and berets, groups of the angels patrol neighbourhoods but have no official policing powers other than the authority to make citizens arrests under Section 494 of the Criminal Code. They were in Whalley in 1985 and helped clean its streets which were at the time plagued by a youth gang called the Whalley Burnouts. Also there are those who emulate comic book superheroes. One such group,the Rain City Superhero Movement, fought crime in Seattle until calling it quits on May 29, 2014. In its heyday the group, consisting of full-costumed crusaders like Phoenix Jones, Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, the Mantis, Prodigy, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88, Midnight Jack, Penelope, Red Dragon, Karma, SkyMan and El Caballero, were credited with stopping drunk drivers and carjackings, and preventing a group of thugs from robbing a blind man.
Once in a while, Surrey residents will make headlines for taking the law into their own hands. Some run into legal problems. In 2002, three men faced kidnapping, extortion and assault charges related to what was reported as being an apparent attempt at vigilante justice after several prospective tenants of a house in Newton were allegedly scammed out of $2,000 apiece. Police said at the time that further investigation revealed the victim was linked to a residential property scam in which a house had been simultaneously rented to multiple people who found out on move-in day that they d been duped. Meanwhile, others who take the law into their own hands say they re just trying to do the right thing. In 2008, a Surrey salesman named Fabio who understandably didn t want his last name published set up a website called CrookTube.com which posted submitted video footage of people committing criminal acts, in the hope that viewers would recognize the culprits and call police. Fabio told the Now he launched the website because he was fed-up with his apartment building being broken into all the time. I m not a vigilante, I m not trying to do the work of the police, he insisted at the time. I m trying to do the right thing.
Sometimes, doing the right thing has a happy ending. In 2009 a young woman learned that the hard way after mugging a senior citizen for her purse in Whalley. The victim, 73, had been walking home from shopping when the 22-year-old robber pounced on her. A woman helping her son with his paper route, and a postal carrier delivering mail on his route, heard the screams, chased the mugger down and held her until police arrived. I was so grateful, the mugging victim later said of her rescuers. I think they saved my life. Still, chasing criminals of course comes with its inherent risks. Just four days into the New Year, a Surrey man chased a sedan at high speeds even as its occupants shot at his pickup truck. During the chase, from South Surrey into Delta, he called 911 telling police he d confronted several people in a suspicious parked vehicle in his neighborhood. The man had apparently been doing his own proactive patrol when the car s occupants fired several shots at his pickup and then took off.
He chased the sedan down Highway 99 into Delta where it crashed into a hydro pole on River Road near 80th Street. Police then arrested the suspects. Surrey RCMP Sgt. Paul Hayes stressed that getting into car chases for whatever reason isn t recommended, let alone after they ve shot at you. Call us let us deal with the bad guys. Despite repeated requests to stop pursuing the suspect vehicle, the citizen refused to comply with our commands, Hayes said. When you pursue a vehicle or suspect, not only are you putting your life and the general public s life at risk, you risk being charged yourself and could face criminal and civil consequence. We encourage citizens who notice suspicious people or vehicles to contact the police instead of confronting people themselves. The Surrey resident was indeed lucky he didn t get hurt. A Bay store employee who was stabbed multiple times last month at Guildford Town Centre shopping mall while stopping a shoplifting suspect was not so lucky. The 29-year-old was taken to hospital with stab wounds to his arms and upper body. A 34-year-old man was arrested. Charges are pending.
Sadly, some Good Samaritans pay the ultimate price for trying to make a citizen s arrest. Such was the case of Sam McGowan, 42, who took his last breath on a front lawn in Fleetwood in 2009 after chasing a teenaged mugger who had stolen a cellphone from a child. The Fleetwood dad chased the 16-year-old boy over fences and through backyards. When McGowan finally caught up with him, the teen spun around and stabbed him in the heart with a buck knife. McGowan died in his girlfriend s arms. She told the Now that he died a hero. The teen, whose name cannot be published as the Youth Criminal Justice Act shields his identity, was found guilty of manslaughter in 2012 and was sentenced to a three-year custody and supervision order, the maximum sentence under the Act. In 2006, a Surrey gas jockey was seriously injured when a gas-and-dash motorist ran over him and took off down Scott Road. The 23-year-old attendant had grabbed a golf club from his booth and tried to chase the van down as it drove off the lot.
Corrine De Patie (pictured) told the Now that her knees started shaking when she heard about the hit-and-run.
I just got the numbing sensation, she said at the time. I m just appalled that this has happened again. The previous year, her son Grant, 24, was dragged more than seven kilometres to his death after trying to stop a teenaged driver who dashed away in a stolen car without paying his $12.30 gas bill. Grant had been working the graveyard shift at a gas station in Maple Ridge. A note with the licence plate number scribbled on it was found in his pocket. Grant s dad, Doug De Patie, by no means considers his son s last actions to be the stuff of vigilantism. That said, he noted, You just can t stand by and let crime take place. De Patie recalled a case in Vancouver where a woman was beaten and raped on a sidewalk. People could see what was going on from their apartment windows, he said, but nobody did anything about it.
The guy came back and beat her and raped her, he recalled. A syndrome was named after their lack of helping, he noted. As for Grant? He did something. I think what he did was right. If you stand by and let something happen, you are really a part of it.
Poignant words from a father who has lost so much. Police generally advise citizens to call 911 for help but not to take on criminals themselves. The result of doing so, says Surrey RCMP Sgt. Alanna Dunlop, is unpredictable.
We don t recommend that. Still, police obviously can t be everywhere all the time. So, if you see someone being harmed, what would you do? You might have a split-second decision to make, with potentially dire consequences either way.
In the shadow of Bellevue s Wilburton Trestle, King County Executive Dow Constantine announces the draft master plan for the Eastside Rail Corridor Regional Trail on February 29 (Photo by Author). Last week, King County Parks published a draft master plan for the Eastside Rail Corridor Regional Trail. The County aims to develop a permanent paved trail on over 16 miles of the corridor. As the trail plan enters a public comment period, Sound Transit is finalizing its own draft system plan. That will clarify how portions of the corridor may be shared with transit. Across the Eastside, efforts to bring the corridor into public use are accelerating. Legacy freight tracks will be removed in 2017, and trails are being expanded. Snohomish County has agreed to buy 12 miles of corridor and is expected to build a trail alongside the active rail line. A once contentious political debate over rails vs trails has been mostly replaced by a consensus that the ERC will serve both (though it still echoes in Kirkland where transit opponents have coalesced around Save Our Trail rhetoric).
Since being rail-banked in 2009, ownership has resided with several jurisdictions. The cities of Redmond and Kirkland mostly own the segments within their respective city limits. Sound Transit owns a 1-mile section where East Link will be built. The balance of the rail-banked area is owned by King County. The County is also the trail sponsor in the Sound Transit area. Sound Transit and other utilities retain easements along the ERC. Owners and stakeholders collaborate through the ERC Regional Advisory Council. Here s a flavor of what s going on:
Eastside Trail Master Plan. The draft master plan, released last week, and open for public comment through the end of March, describes a high quality trail on 16.5 miles of the main line and a portion of the Redmond Spur. Planners envision a paved trail at least 12 feet wide with a 6-foot gravel shoulder for runners and walkers to one side and a smaller gravel shoulder on the other. The plan generally describes two alternative alignments. The lower cost alternative mostly follows the relatively flat rail-bed. An off-railbed alternative specifies a trail closer to the edge of the corridor to provide flexibility for accommodation of other uses. In some areas, only one alternative is possible. Near Renton, the corridor is as narrow as 25 feet. In Bellevue, East Link has already constrained the alignment. An important consideration is that the ERC trail not preclude other uses on the corridor.
Conceptually, the cost of an on-railbed alternative is about $158 million (midpoint of range), and the off-railbed alternative could add $90 million if pursued through the entire corridor. However, only $11 million of that is in the critical Wilburton segment (I-90 to Kirkland) where transit uses are more likely. Partly, that s because this segment is already constrained by East Link and other development so that only one option is available. South of Bellevue, and north of Kirkland, a trail on the railbed carries less risk of being displaced by other uses. The trail master plan will be informed by the concurrent Sound Transit system planning process. A signature element of the ERC trail will be the Wilburton Trestle, almost 1,000 feet long and 100 feet tall. The trestle will be one of the most popular destinations along the trail, and extra space will be added on the structure for viewing without impeding trail traffic.
Transit Connections. East Link will use the rail corridor for about one mile north of downtown Bellevue. Though politically contentious, it s possible that ST3 will also include transit connections along the corridor. All of the Eastside cities endorsed transit on the ERC serving Kirkland and Issaquah in letters to Sound Transit in January.
Disused rails will be removed in areas owned by King County and Sound Transit in 2017, making room for future uses. Map: King County
Rail Removal. In November, King County Council approved plans to remove freight rails through the sections of the corridor that it owns. The first phase of rail removal will extend from Kirkland to Coulon Park in Renton and be complete by mid-2017. Sound Transit will also remove rails in Bellevue to facilitate construction of East Link. A second phase will cover the areas north of Kirkland and Redmond. The County must initiate an RFP for excursion rail in that area, but if no feasible proposal is submitted, those rails will also be removed by early 2018. A symbolic first spike was removed from the rail line in Bellevue on January 8. Selling the surplus rails is likely to help fund trail improvements. Rail removal will facilitate construction of an interim trail, potentially starting in 2017. Executive Constantine indicated the interim trail would begin with an extension from Kirkland to meet the SR 520 trail, creating a continuous connection from Totem Lake to Montlake .
Planned Pedestrian Bridge at the South Kirkland P&R/TOD (Graphic: City of Kirkland).
Kirkland. Rails have been removed through Kirkland, and an interim crushed-gravel trail put in place. Since opening the interim trail in the fall of 2014, the city has focused on improving neighborhood connections to the trail, with walkways and stairs to many adjacent streets. The most ambitious connection to date will open in 2017 in South Kirkland, where Kirkland is building an elevator and bridge to connect the transit station to the trail. Kirkland s master plan anticipates permanent paved trails on the Cross-Kirkland Corridor. Most sections will evolve to a shared use trail for bikes and other faster users, and a slower walking-only trail alongside. The plan describes a shared multi-use corridor with trails generally on the west side and transit to the east, and this general placement was acknowledged in Sound Transit s recent studies. Kirkland s development regulations encourage local businesses to face the corridor. Google s recently expanded campus straddles the corridor with the first paved section of trail in the middle.
Redmond s Central Connector re-orients downtown around transit and walk/bike spaces on the former freight line (Graphic from the Redmond Central Connector Master Plan).
Redmond. Legacy freight rails have also been removed on the corridor spur in Redmond where East Link will terminate, and a trail is being built in phases along Redmond s entire portion. The first phase from downtown Redmond to the Sammamish River Trail was completed in 2013. A second phase, north along Willows Rd to the 9900 block, will be completed this year. A third, and final, phase to about 124th St remains unfunded. That would connect the trail on the Redmond Spur to the nearby County-owned trail north of Kirkland.
Bellevue s Grand Connection will connect the ERC to Downtown and Lake Washington (Graphic: City of Bellevue).
Bellevue. The corridor within the city of Bellevue is owned by King County and Sound Transit. Bellevue has focused on planning connections from the ERC to the community. Most notably, planning has begun on a Grand Connection linking the ERC, through downtown Bellevue, to Meydenbauer Bay. The connection would promote walking and bike use from downtown to Wilburton, including a crossing of I-405. The connection will influence the land use patterns of the Wilburton commercial area by improving connectivity to downtown and the ERC trail.
Snohomish County has agreed to buy a 12-mile section of corridor from the Port of Seattle, culminating an on-again, off-again negotiation over several years. That will allow Snohomish to build a trail alongside the tracks, connecting the King County trail to the south with the Centennial trail to the north. Rail lines would remain in service for freight and perhaps excursion service. The deal is anticipated to close in April.
Seven non-profits with interests in trails and transportation combined to form the Eastside Greenway Alliance. The first Eastside Rail Corridor Summit was held in Bellevue in January. The well-attended event was an opportunity for governments and nonprofits to identify priorities for corridor development. Speakers included urban planner Ryan Gravel and former Atlanta City Council president Cathy Woolard, both closely associated with the Atlanta Beltline. The Beltline has obvious parallels to the ERC; it is a 23-mile former freight rail corridor that is being developed as a trail system with transit alongside.
Eastside Greenway Alliance. Announced at the ERC Summit, the Alliance is an association of non-profit organizations with interests in trails and transportation. The Eastside Greenway Alliance set a goal of a fully built connected multi-use corridor from Renton to Woodinville by 2025. The Alliance will advance multi-use development of the ERC through community engagement, fundraising and advocacy.
- ^ draft master plan (www.kingcounty.gov)
- ^ debate (www.bellevuereporter.com)
- ^ transit opponents (kuow.org)
- ^ ownership (www.kingcounty.gov)
- ^ ERC Regional Advisory Council (www.kingcounty.gov)
- ^ draft master plan (www.kingcounty.gov)
- ^ endorsed transit (seattletransitblog.com)
- ^ approved plans (www.kingcounty.gov)
- ^ first spike (kingcounty.gov)
- ^ recent (seattletransitblog.com)
- ^ studies (seattletransitblog.com)
- ^ Grand Connection (www.ci.bellevue.wa.us)
- ^ buy a 12-mile section (www.heraldnet.com)
- ^ Centennial trail (www.wikiwand.com)
- ^ event (www.kingcounty.gov)
- ^ trail (beltline.org)
- ^ transit (beltline.org)
- ^ Announced (www.cascade.org)