Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The best political leader in the country, bar none, is Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts.

She has now publicly chosen light rail as the best and only feasible and affordable transportation addition for Surrey and district. The mayors of White Rock and Langley agree.

The cost of at-ground light rail is ONE TENTH that of the hideous mistaken eyesore known as SkyTrain.

To quote Mayor Watts, "At-grade rail is cost-effective and efficient, and would not only create a new transportation option, but also increase economic development and improve quality of life."

Not only that, but Mayor Watts wants this plan to be ratified within days or months and wants construction to begin ASAP.

I know of no other political leader with her good common sense, her feel for the pulse of the community and her willingness to speak and act


Anonymous said...

Hello David -- I thought I would bring your attention to this, somewhat new, blog written by Ross Buchanan:

Dr. Buchanan is a friend of a friend whom I have met on several occasions.

There appears to be a general opinion that Diane Watts is one of the good ones -- however, Ross is one of the few people I've spoken to who holds a contrary opinion. Unfortunately there is nothing on his blog about Diane Watts, however, I thought you would find it of interest generally and I know he is looking to expand distribution -- your mention of Ms. Watts reminded me of his take on her performance (he lives in Surrey).



diverdarren said...

Skytrain may be a hideous eyesore, but mistaken I don't think so. It carries over 300,000 people per day. What do you think the roads would look like without the train? Pretty hideous I'd suspect.

If Watts is flipping the bill for her new streetcars then all the power to her. If everybody else is paying so Surrey-ites can get from strip mall to strip mall then forget it.

Grant G said...

Yes, light rail makes sense, skytrain is out of control.

That is why Dianne Watts told the BC Liberals to go take a hike.

UBC skytrain is out too.

There is no more money, period

Good Day

Jeff Taylor said...

I would agree that Mayor Watts is a "good one" and I see the day when she packs up her desk in Surrey and moves it to Victoria. Six months ago I arrived back to Vancouver after living in Toronto for almost 3 years. I learned through daily observation that streetcars, no matter how much cheaper they are, aren't the most efficient way to move increasingly large volumes of people. Ever seen a broken down streetcar in the middle of Queen street in late afternoon ? It ain't pretty. Furthermore, what's the cost to the local economy when goods & services are sitting in traffic ? If you asked riders, tax payers, shop owners, renters, home owners etc along the Expo Line if they would want to rewind history and not have that Skytrain line, I'm sure of what the answer would be. I learned in business that you have to spend money to make money. The same can be said about building a city / region for the future. The initial cost of Skytrain is very high, but, the payoff in reliability and efficiency in the long run, I believe is money very well spent. I'd even take a new bus (no ugly tracks all over the place & can be moved out of the way when broken) over a streetcar to move people efficiently any day of the week.

D. M. Johnston said...

The two SkyTrain lines carry about 275,000 passengers a day (The Canada line is not SkyTrain, rather it is a truncated heavy rail metro) or about the same as Calgary's LRT network. In Karlsruhe Germany, because of the massive success of their TramTrain or Zweisystem LRT, a tram (streetcar) route through the city centre is seeing peak hour capacities of 40,000 persons per hour per direction! And that is no typo 40,000!

The rail for the Valley/Leewood Projects TramTrain study for the old BCE Interurban route amounts to about $6 million/km. The full build, 138km. Vancouver/Richmond to Rosedale (past Chilliwack) TramTrain costs about $1 billion. For $1 billion we can build about 9km of SkyTrain. Put another way, for the cost of the 11km Evergreen Line, we could build the "full build" 138km RftV/Leewood TramTrain, plus have enough money left over for a stand alone 16km to 20km LRT/streetcar Line in Surrey!

@ Jeff Taylor.

Have you ever been on SkyTrain when it breaks down? No? Unlike a broken down streetcar, one can't get off an elevated SkyTrain and continue on ones journey!

The truth be known, LRT made SkyTrain obsolete over two decades ago, being cheaper to both build and operate. The flexibility of modern light rail enables it to operate on regular railway lines (TramTrain), carry freight (Dresden), operate dinner trams or other private venture operations, operate running museums, as well as carry large volumes of customers when need be.

Mayor Watts is taking Surrey into the 21st century with LRT, unlike the rest of the region, which is stilled mired in 1950's Tom Swift style elevated mini-metros.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Dianne Watts did not take the BC Liberal leadership because she is cannier than CC - not because her values are any different.

She is as much a developer mayor as Gordon Campbell was - and the corruption in Surrey is just starting to smell.

Have a look at the CBC and recognize an identical pattern of misdirection and evading responsibility that Watts is taking - just like her provincial counterparts

Anonymous said...

Ms Watts is smart politician. To run that horid piece of geography as well as she does is nothing short of a miracle. Surrey has always looked like someone started to build a city and lost interest in finishing it. The eyesore of skytrain would fit Surrey like a glove. On the other hand I can easily picture a street car overloaded with people dangling from every available handhold. The headlines could read "Truck hits train" or Train hits truck". Ms Watts talents are wasted on Surrey