The topic is grim, but my friend Paul Hillsdon got a large inside page photo and full-page article in the Province on the rally/gathering he and Trevor Loke have organized in Surrey this Sunday. (1 p.m. at the Central City Plaza, 13450 102nd Avenue, across from Surrey Central SkyTrain station.) We’re taking a stand together against gang violence. More info in the article.
Other friends have had letters in the Province published recently, and finally it’s my turn to get some ink—not in the Province, but in what apparently is even more important: the Surrey Leader. My letter is copied below in the format in which it was published.
In related articles, there’s a link to a Surrey Leader article about Paul, which I had not noticed before!
Valley rail more necessary than ever
Everyone knows we can’t build our way out of congestion, yet we keep trying when other cities are building more light rail and high-speed trains.
In Surrey, most people drive because the alternative either does not exist or is simply not good enough.
Major bus routes I took in Surrey and Langley are overflowing at rush hour, even after service increases – which means people want to use it. I spent enough time on transit in the Valley and in a car crossing the Port Mann on weekends to know that a comprehensive solution to our big, messy problem is complex, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.
The Gateway project, which will result in more pollution, sprawl and congestion, is the B.C. government’s answer to traffic chaos south of the Fraser leading up to the Port Mann Bridge.
If the intent is to create more space for cars (less congestion), the only way to achieve this is to provide more public transit in the form of light rail (LRT) and rapid bus.
LRT is incredibly cost-efficient and has positive effects on community development and the environment, which means my friends in the Valley will have a faster, friendlier and healthier trip.
In just two years, we can address the transportation aspect of heavy commuting with a restored interurban light rail system. I believe we must urge our leaders to take the initiative and give the south of Fraser region the level of public transit it so desperately needs.
Isn’t it time we start using 21st century tools for the 21st century? Rail for the Valley is necessary now more than ever.
Thanks to Ben West for his help in writing an effective letter.