for jhausner and everyone else that noticed my giant post ranking a broadway line above a surrey line in terms of precedence
I apologize for any arrogance in the tone, but it was already long enough without me making more considerate arguments. My opinion is not simply categorized as pursuing self-interest or aimed at encouraging municipal rivalries.
Surrey first needs better bus service, or LRT if you think the line will be used long enough to pay for the increased capital investment.
This will allow ridership to experimentally demonstrate demand. No more guessing who will switch out of their cars, what role potential feeder routes play, who will walk further or transfer to use an express route, where the trip destinations are, where the trip sources are, and what times are popular.
An expanded bus network in Surrey is important because it would provide both feeder routes to saturate rail capacity AND because it provides a fallback redundancy in case of problems on the train line.
At the same time, transportation shapes the communities around them. Having frequent service come first in a broad way will enable Surrey to organically grow neighbourhood centres. There's no reason why we should presume and then artificially stifle the possibility that Surrey becomes a major destination.
Minimum frequency transit service between 7am - 7pm
source: nname, Transit Statistics Thread
Commuting from further and further away is a losing proposition; while distance rises linearly, congestion/time of commute or the alternative cost for network capacity expansion will probably increase exponentially to at least the power of 2. That's why cities that tried building only around the car in a suburban-sprawl model have never been able to build their way out.
How much time would be saved by commuters riding skytrain the whole way instead of catching an express bus to the existing terminus? I think we can do better in terms of $s per travel time reduction.
By first moving to increase transit frequency in Surrey, you increase the opportunity of and eventually actual transit trips within Surrey which lowers the cost per trip of Translink.
Furthermore when increasing bus, or LRT, service is no longer even an option due to congestion then there are votes on record by way of ridership for upgrading to grade separated transit with a strong business case in hand.
Total Daily Boarding of Bus Routes, circa 2007
source: nname, Transit Statistics Thread
The reason for a transit study is that it's a minor cost when the cost of failure would be measured in the millions or billions. Using either a theoretical model or experimental data will show that the two corridors are not in the same league and won't be for decades, a comparative study would be a formality.
I'm not saying we should never forge ahead in a "build it and they will come" way, Metrotown in Burnaby is a pretty good argument for the validity of that argument. Actually even a bunch of neighbourhood centres in Vancouver were separate towns until ca. 1929 as they had sprouted up at stops on the interurban line. In this case I think triaging transportation based on need, allowing citizens of Surrey to take the lead in shaping their communities, and having a more resilient transit network is the way to go.
Maybe it would help to think about this in terms of roads. You could build a highway and place suburbs at every exit which purely offload their own traffic onto the highway. That leaves a congested highway, no alternate routes in case of accident, and a price tag for highway expansion that the suburbs' residents cannot afford (it would have been cheaper to buy closer to their commuting destination) -- the worst of all worlds. It really is important to take things one step at a time, growing many cross-supporting layers, and having a continuous spectrum of options responding to economic needs/wants. The same logic would apply if Vancouver never had any viewcones, and the downtown peninsula was occupied by 6 1000m skyscrapers and a bunch of single family homes.