City seeks public input on Guildford Town Centre – 104 Avenue Plan

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The City of Surrey held a public open house last week on the in-progress, Guildford Town Centre – 104 Avenue Plan. The plan, which has been under study since last year, is seeking to define a vision and prepare a long-range land-use plan to guide future growth along the 104 Avenue Corridor and Guildford Town Centre areas.

Presented to the public at the open house last week were 2 land-use concept options, along with a proposed street network, bicycle and pedestrian network, and parks and open space concept.

Land-Use Concept Option 1: Focused Growth

Land-Use Concept Option 1 seeks to focus growth and density in key areas of the plan, such as along 104 Avenue and areas surrounding Guildford Town Centre. The plan envisions:

  • A continuous stretch of 6-storey mixed-use/apartments (Dark orange) along 104 Avenue
  • Mid to high-rise mixed-use (pink) at 104 Ave & 144 St.
  • Mid to high-rise along 104 Ave east of 148 St and to the north and east of Guildford Town Centre – with the tallest tower heights (purple) concentrated on the former Sears site.
  • 4-storey apartment areas (light orange) dispersed throughout the plan area
  • Townhouses (yellow) in a few areas
  • Single Family housing preserved in a number of areas, mostly west of 148 St.
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Land-Use Concept Option 1: Focused Growth

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Land-Use Concept Option 2: Dispersed Growth

Land-Use Concept Option 2, while very similar, seeks to disperse growth and densities over the plan area, with lower intensities of density, but increased density covering more area. This includes:

  • A wider continuous stretch of 6-storey mixed-use/apartments (Dark orange) along 104 Avenue
  • Mid to high-rise mixed-use (Pink) to the north and east of Guildford Town Centre.
  • 4-storey apartment areas (light orange) more widely dispersed throughout the plan area
  • Townhouses (yellow) more widely dispersed across the plan area
  • Slightly less preserved Single Family housing.
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Land-Use Concept Option 2: Dispersed Growth

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Proposed Street Network

The proposed street network adds a number of new local and collector streets to improve connectivity through a finer-grained network. One of these new collectors is the currently underway 105A Avenue connector project which will provide an alternate east-west route to 104 Avenue linking City Centre to Guildford. A long-range new street network is shown on the site of Guildford Town Shopping Centre – envisioning the future redevelopment of this mall into an urban district far into the future – similar to the vision for the Metropolis at Metrotown Shopping Centre site in Burnaby under the Metrotown Plan.

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Proposed Bike and Pedestrian Network

The proposed bike and pedestrian network creates a number of new multi-use paths and road-separated bike lanes improving connectivity throughout the plan area. Pedestrian and cycling crossings at busy intersections would be enhanced under the plan to improve safety and streetscape integration. Existing bike lanes would be upgraded to be physically separated from the road.

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Proposed Parks and Open Space

The proposed parks and open space plan illustrates how parks, habitat areas, and the city’s Green Infrastructure Network will be integrated into the plan area. A key feature of the plan is a ‘Green Loop’ pedestrian and cycling network stretching east-west with north-south connections – improving non-automobile connectivity in the area and connecting the many parks. In addition to existing parks shown in light green, many new parks are shown in dark green, including expansions to Hawthorne Park.

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Future Light Rail Transit (LRT)

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An integral part of the 104 Avenue – Guildford Town Centre Plan area will be the new LRT line linking City Centre to Guildford along 104 Avenue, and further south to Newton. This urban-style, low floor, LRT system will not just be a rapid transit line passing through the area, but a fully streetscape-integrated, centrepiece of the 104 Avenue corridor. Combined with a continuous 6-storey mixed-use density along 104 Avenue, the corridor will be transformed into a transit/pedestrian-oriented and prioritized streetscape, similar to precedents in Europe and elsewhere around the world. The LRT will support the densities along the the 104 Avenue Corridor, and integrate seamlessly into the community – unlike SkyTrain which bisects and has a negative visual and physical impact on the streetscape.

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To find out more about the Guildford Town Centre – 104 Avenue Plan, and participate in the public survey – visit:
http://www.surrey.ca/city-services/24723.aspx

Transforming Surrey with LRT – City Releases New Video

The City of Surrey has released a new video on their YouTube Channel promoting the upcoming Guildford-Newton LRT line. The line, which is expected to begin construction as early as next year, and be complete by 2023, is being used as a catalyst to transform Surrey, rather than simply move people from A-B.

Drawing from precedent in many European cities, street-level LRT has the ability to transform streetscapes and the public realm into more pedestrian-oriented, attractive places that attract businesses, gathering, and higher density housing. Compared to SkyTrain which cuts through communities disconnected from street-level, on obtrusive concrete guideways, LRT helps build communities along its route, becoming a part of those communities.

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Vision for 104 Avenue – To be repurposed from an auto-oriented corridor to a multi-modal, pedestrian and transit oriented corridor.
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LRT along a pedestrianized City Parkway at Central Avenue (103 Ave)
In Surrey City Centre, Newton Town Centre, and Guildford Town Centre, the LRT line will be integrated into pedestrian-only plazas, much like you would find in Europe. Along the line, 104th Avenue and King George Hwy will be transformed into multi-modal streets, instead of the 20th-century era car-oriented streets they are today. 104th Avenue and King George Boulevard will become attractive, focal streets, complete with LRT, vehicle lanes, grade-separated bike lanes, and improved sidewalks. Land-use along them will gradually develop into a continuous stretch of mixed-use mid-rise buildings set close to the street, with ground floor retail, and offices, residences above.

LRT will also add a new tier of transit to Metro Vancouver’s transit system that is currently missing, and would be appropriate for many other parts of the region as a compliment to the existing SkyTrain system which serves as more of a regional commuter rail service. LRT is best suited for servicing more localized areas, where bus service is inadequate, while connecting to the regional rail network.

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Vision for a European-Style Plaza with LRT at Newton Town Centre
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LRT along a pedestrianized City Parkway at Surrey Central Station
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Proposed LRT Routing at 102 Avenue & King George Blvd
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Proposed LRT routing along King George Blvd between 100 Ave & 102 Ave
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Proposed LRT routing at 96th Ave & King George Blvd
For more on the Guildford-Newton LRT line:
http://www.surrey.ca/city-services/15698.aspx

West Village featured in City of Surrey promotional video

A new promotional video has been posted on the City of Surrey’s YouTube channel featuring the emerging West Village neighbourhood of Surrey City Centre. Located to the west of Surrey Central Station north of 102 Ave and south of 104 Ave, West Village is a newly coined name for the area, in the midst of transformation into high density, mixed-use, green, urban neighbourhood.

Already home to a number of residential towers, West Village is poised to grow rapidly over the next decade with the addition of more residential towers, shops, offices, parks, pedestrian walkways, bike paths, a district energy centre, and an expanded Simon Fraser University. All this within close walking distance to SkyTrain, future LRT, Civic Plaza, and the city’s emerging Central Business District.

Aside from the focus on West Village, the video features a new live-action 3D rendered depiction of the future City Centre area, envisioned by 2025. While many of the future buildings shown in the video are conceptual placeholders, many others are known proposals or already under construction such as SFU’s Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building, and Weststone Group’s Evolve. Oddly however some known proposed and even under-construction buildings are absent from the film, such as the under construction Prime on the Plaza, which is shown as a vacant grass field next to SFU in the video.

The video and screenshots can be found below:

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View of future Surrey City Centre (approx. 2025)
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West Village Neighbourhood (approx. 2025)
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View looking east on future Central Ave next to under construction Evolve
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View looking west on future Central Ave towards under construction Evolve
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View of the future District Energy Centre and West Village Park
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Top down view of future West Village Park & District Energy Centre
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Future West Village Park
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View of the Central Business District
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Future pedestrianized City Parkway at Central Avenue 
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SFU Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building
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View west towards SFU and West Village
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View west along Central Avenue (Oddly missing Prime on the Plaza)