A retail leasing document for PCI’s King George Station development is revealing new details about the City’s rapid transit future. Retail floorplans in the document show that the mixed-use, transit-oriented development has been planned to accommodate two rapid transit stations. On the north end of the property, adjacent to the SkyTrain, a light rail station is being planned, with service east to Langley along Fraser Highway. The development also re-orients King George Boulevard, reducing the northbound roadway to two lanes, while re-allocating the remaining space to two bus-only lanes. A station on the western edge of the property will be reserved for a bus rapid transit service down King George to South Surrey/White Rock.
Major developments like this spend a lot of time working with staff and planners to accommodate the City’s anticipated needs, like rapid transit stations, well before the application comes to Council, meaning it is in here for a reason.
This new information points to a softening in positions by both the City and TransLink. Up until now, the City has firmly supported Light Rail, insisting that it is the only technology able to shape growth and serve growing transit demand today and tomorrow. Meanwhile, TransLink has been adamant that Bus Rapid Transit is sufficient to support the South Fraser out to 2040.
Perhaps this new solution – one LRT and one BRT – is a new compromise both parties can agree to. Light Rail on Fraser would support TransLink’s regional goals of faster and better connections to Regional Town Centres, while still improving transit on the busy King George route. Surrey would be able to obtain at least one Light Rail line, showcasing the technology and its possibilities for future routes. A busway on King George could be adapted to LRT relatively easily at a later date if public demand warrants it.