TransLink opted to go with geographical names for the eight SkyTrain stations between Surrey and Langley that are part of the $3 billion extension of the transit line to the City.
B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said the project is still on schedule and is expected to be in operation in 2028 with construction starting next spring.
Initially the province announced the project in two phases but later said it would all be done at once, which saved $500 million.
“By making that decision we shaved off two years to get to where we’re standing right now in terms of the new Langley City center station. We also saved half a billion dollars by making a project seamless in one phase, and that’s money that we can invest in other transit projects.”
In communities like Surrey and Langley, transit ridership is at 120 per cent of pre-COVID levels, with some routes in the cities seeing ridership levels more than double in the past four years.
TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn noted that this 16-kilometre extension is the first significant transit project south of the Fraser River in 30 years. With the extension, people can travel from Langley to Vancouver in just over one hour.
“We know that the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain is going to play a crucial role in providing rapid transit services for communities here, especially as Metro Vancouver continues to grow dramatically,” Quinn said.
He explained some of the reasoning behind the naming process.
“[The names] have been carefully selected to ensure they remain simple durable logical and self-locating,” he said. “The process that took place to identify these names involved a lot of hard work from our team of TransLink. It was several months during which an exhaustive mapping exercise and policy review was undertaken.”
Those on hand for the announcement are looking forward to the arrival of SkyTrain.
” I know immediately that it’s going to save time for family, because they’ll be able to hop on and hop off and be able to get to where they need to. And from the business side, we’ll be able to increase productivity. We’ll be able to recruit,” said Shirley Samujh-Dayal.
Samujh-Dayal lives in Langley, was a member of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, and is chair of the Surrey Business Improvement Association.
Fleetwood-Port Kells MP Ken Hardie noted the $3 billion project will result in about $30 billion economic activity. The federal government portion of the $3 billion is $1.3 billion.
He said the project when complete will be transformative in many ways.
“When we talk about transformative, we are talking about better streetscapes, more public, industries, more movement, safer communities. There’s a lot that we’ve learned since my days of TransLink when we open the Millennium Line and then the Canada Line, and all of that is going to be applied here.”
The provincial government had also changed the laws about land acquisitions near transit. In the past, the province would only purchase land directly needed for transit stations, rail lines and other transit infrastructure but now can buy land to foster housing densification.
“We want to be strategic about our land acquisitions,” Fleming said. “We don’t want to advertise it necessarily too loudly. We want to get a good price ,because province acquiring land is critical to deliver thousands of affordable housings units.”
He said the province wants to work with the non-profit housing sector and local governments to create more housing.
“We are in the market, acquiring land right now,” he said.
That’s not just for the Surrey-Langley extension but also around existing stations which he said “quite frankly have underutilized lands.”
Fleming noted that Langley and Surrey have not waited for SkyTrain to be built but are updating their municipal plans alongside the province to be better ready for when it arrives.
Langley City Mayor Nathan Pachal was joined by several council members for the announcement and all said they are exciting about the impending arrival of SkyTrain in the next few years.
“The SkyTrain cements Willowbrook and Langley city as the eastern downtown of Metro Vancouver, and will be a business accelerator, supporting our vibrant, healthy, people-first, safe community,” Pachal said.
Some Langley Township councillors were present for the announcement.
“The Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension is a long overdue investment and expansion in the region,” said Mayor Eric Woodward, in a statement from the province. “For too long, commuters in Surrey and the Township of Langley have had few options to get around. We look forward to future progress on this project, and the recently announced Langley-Maple Ridge bus rapid transit route connecting to the future SkyTrain network.”
The new station names are:
Green Timbers Station (140th Street and Fraser Highway)
152 Street Station (152nd Street and Fraser Highway)
Fleetwood Station (160th Street and Fraser Highway)
Bakerview-166 Street Station (166th Street and Fraser Highway)
Hillcrest-184 Street Station (184th Street and Fraser Highway)
Clayton Station (190th Street and Fraser Highway)
Willowbrook Station (196th Street and Fraser Highway)
Langley City Centre Station (203rd Street and Fraser Highway)