The R3 RapidBus starts rolling through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to SkyTrain on Jan. 6. (Contributed)

The R3 RapidBus starts rolling through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to SkyTrain on Jan. 6. (Contributed)

Pitt Meadows OKs new area transport plan

Maple Ridge looks at 10-year strategy next week

TransLink’s new plan for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows calls for adding Sunday service for several routes, increased frequency for the two routes that connect to the West Coast Express, and even extending bus service farther into the rest of Metro Vancouver.

A new direct bus route to central Surrey is proposed, while a new RapidBus route from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows into Langley is also in the draft plan, although those are long-term goals.

As for the city to the east, another long-term goal is a new bus route linking Mission to Maple Ridge to replace the four trips the 701 currently makes, along with the West Coast Express connections on week days.

The goals are part of TransLink’s new Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Area Transport Plan released last week. That document tries to chart out transportation for the next 15 years and was unveiled to Pitt Meadows council at its Tuesday meeting.

Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall said council endorsed the plan.

He likes the bus connection that will feed into the new R3 RapidBus that will connect Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to SkyTrain in Coquitlam. Two goals are to ensure the 722 route connects directly with the RapidBus stop on Harris Road and Lougheed Highway and to extend the 722 route as far as the Golden Ears Business Park. The RapidBus service starts operating Jan. 6.

“So there are significant enhancements in Pitt Meadows with transit, RapidBus and the area transport plan” Dingwall said.

“I’m really happy with it and I know council is very happy with the investment by TransLink in Pitt Meadows and the extra services for citizens. It’s really improved our connectivity with the rest of Metro (Vancouver) in a big way,” Dingwall said.

The transport plan also notes that Harris Road and Dewdney Trunk Road are congested which affects bus times and adds that RapidBus times could also be affected by congestion on Lougheed Highway.

“Continual expansion and improvement of transit priority measures along this corridor will enhance transit performance … and set the stage for potential future rapid transit,” the plan said.

Other parts of the area transport plan call for creating more direct bus routes, identifying locations for park-and-ride lots that would be near the RapidBus stops and improving some bus stops by adding shelters, bicycle parking and real-time signage.

Two other objectives are described as regionally significant walking and regionally significant cycling.

The first entails ensuring pedestrian walkways along major transit routes such as Harris, Hammond and Dewdney Trunk roads are safe, contiguous and well lit.

The plan describes regionally significant cycling as following the rapid transit network that will allow connections to transit stations and urban centres. Some components of regional cycling calls for connecting downtown Maple Ridge and downtown Pitt Meadows via cycling lanes or routes, as well as doing the same for Maple Ridge suburbs and the downtown and also making cycle connections to West Coast Express and RapidBus stations. A cycle route between downtown Maple Ridge and Mission is also noted.

As far as road improvements go, the plan notes that Harris Road, (south of Lougheed Highway) Airport Way, Dewdney Trunk Road, between 240th and 256th streets, and 256th Street north of Dewdney Trunk Road, all of which could be included into TransLink’s major road network, which would make the roads eligible for TransLink funding to allow improvements.

Almost at the back of the report, mobility pricing, or road tolling, is mentioned as being considered to manage traffic.

The plan concludes that any of the recommendations can be reached a variety of ways, and depends on the money available and that more public consultation could be needed for some projects. Ongoing monitoring of the plan will take place.

Maple Ridge council votes on the plan at its Oct. 8 meeting.

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