Light rail should follow highway widening, Abbotsford mayor says

Braun says Highway 1 must be widened ‘yesterday’

The current provincial government must follow through on their predecessors’ plans to widen Highway 1 from Langley to Abbotsford, but should also think about running light rail to the central Fraser Valley, Mayor Henry Braun says.

In October, the Ministry of Transportation cast doubt on whether the new government would follow through with the BC Liberals’ pledge to eventually six-lane Highway 1 into Abbotsford.

Braun said that work needs to proceed as soon as possible.

“We need to widen Highway 1; it needs to happen, like, yesterday,” he said Thursday. “I am still optimistic that this government will do the right thing.”

But Braun said the province should also start making a plan to build an LRT line to Abbotsford, potentially down the median of Highway 1. Plans are already afoot to run light rail from Surrey to Langley, which will alter the regional transit landscape. The next step, Braun said, is developing a long-term plan to extend that line to Abbotsford, whether down Highway 1 or along Fraser Highway.

“Unless someone puts this in a 10-year capital plan, it’s never going to happen.”

Highway 1 could pose a challenge to LRT construction in some points because of the narrowness of the median and the need to accommodate existing overpasses, which frequently are among the costliest elements of highway projects. Future widening projects could further hinder such plans if not built with light rail in mind.

Braun said he has advocated running LRT down the median for years, and noted that, before he retired 15 years ago, the company he ran had been involved in such projects in Calgary, Edmonton and elsewhere.

The priority, though, remains the widening of the highway.

While transit advocates have been critical of such plans, saying they will become clogged as more vehicles hit the road, Braun said that a wider highway is vital to move not only cars and trucks, but also to allow for rapid-transit buses to move between Abbotsford and its western neighbours.

“There’s no point in beefing up our bus transit on a two-lane highway,” he said.

While in power, the BC Liberals had promised to widen Highway 1 to 264th Street in Langley and, eventually, all the way to Whatcom Road in Abbotsford. But last fall, the government suggested that might not take place.

“Future Highway 1 corridor improvements are being looked at as part of the broader assessment of the transportation network,” a ministry spokesperson wrote to Black Press at the time. “Any future projects on Highway 1 will be announced at a future date.”

Just Posted

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by Chilliwack animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for both the shelter and municipal election

VIDEO: Education Minister talks SOGI 123 and the Chilliwack school board election

He said people are making ‘noise about side issues but student safety is important’

Chilliwack athletes win provincial titles at Cultus Lake Triathlon

Close to 700 athletes competed in several distances, with action starting at Cultus Lake Park.

Chilliwack Chiefs add defenceman Alexander Marrocco

Marrocco is the younger brother of PJ Marrocco, a forward from last spring’s RBC Cup champions.

Rally in the Valley in Chilliwack to talk stewardship

It’s an event to connect interested locals with groups making a difference with species at risk

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Lower Mainland city calls for slower trains near popular beach

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

Most Read