City wants central bus exchange

Every day, buses from 15 different TransLink routes converge near the intersection of Logan Avenue and Glover Road, just around the corner from the Cascades Casino and a short walk from the commercial heart of the City of Langley.

The narrow strip of bus turn-outs and weather shelters is the major public transit exchange for the City and Township, connecting riders to the SkyTrain at Surrey Central Station.

The long-term master plan for the future development of Langley has always included the transit exchange on Glover, something seen as an attractive, development-generating feature for a small city that aims to attract condominium builders selling to commuters.

Which is why some City councillors are worried by talk of relocating the exchange.

Mayor Peter Fassbender said the City has been told that TransLink wants to build a bigger exchange to accommodate expected growth in public transit south of the Fraser.

“A true transit destination, not just another bunch of bus stops,” is how Fassbender described it during a recent meeting of council.

The problem is a lack of room to expand the Logan Avenue exchange to accommodate all the anticipated extra traffic.

So TransLink is looking at other locations within the City of Langley and is considering moving some of the buses to another exchange at the Willowbrook Shopping Centre, which straddles the northern border of the City and Township.

Councillor Jack Arnold is concerned it will be all too tempting to simply shift the whole works to Willowbrook, where TransLink can still claim to be within the City, even though the hub will no longer be conveniently close to the casino and downtown city businesses.

Fassbender said TransLink has assured him there will be a transit hub within the City in the future.

City director of engineering, parks and environment Gary Vlieg said TransLink is “firmly” committed to maintaining a hub within the City.

Chief administrative officer Francis Cheung said the city does have some idea of exactly where TransLink might move the transit exchange within Langley City, but he didn’t want to reveal it so as not to “fetter” TransLink in land purchase negotiations.

Council approved spending $50,000 to fund a TransLink study of a concept plan for the new exchange.

A report to council by Vlieg said the new exchange would anchor a “transit-oriented neighborhood” that would be built around the bus loop.

The Township of Langley is being asked to kick in another $50,000 for the study.

Councillors Dave Hall and Rosemary Wallace balked at the price tag and voted against the payment from the municipal enterprise fund.

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