“Occupy” protest planned in Surrey to oppose major road projects
Surrey activistImtiaz Popat is continuing to raise concerns about the impact a series of major transportation-infrastructure projects could have on his community that sits next to the Fraser River.
Popat is helping to organize an upcoming protest he said is about highlighting the links between opposition to the new Port Mann Bridge, the South Fraser Perimeter Road, and the proposed expansion of the Pattullo Bridge.
Popat argues the new 10-lane Port Mann Bridge, which recently had some lanes opened to vehicle traffic, is unnecessary and will not resolve the traffic-congestion problems it is intended to fix. He is also worried about traffic potentially pouring through his residential community to take the Pattullo Bridge as drivers seek to avoid the tolls on the new Port Mann Bridge. And he continues to voice opposition to the South Fraser Perimeter Road, a new four-lane route under construction between southwest Delta and Highway 1.
“We don’t like this trucking highway going through our community and destroying our community, our ecology, and the river, which we really care about,” he told the Straight by phone today (September 20), referring to the South Fraser Perimeter Road. “…And we don’t want a six-lane Pattullo, and with this opening of the Port Mann, it’s just going to bring in added unnecessary traffic through our community onto the bridge, onto the Pattullo.”
Popat, a resident of the Bridgeview area, raised similar concerns when he ran unsuccessfully for Surrey city council in last year’s municipal election.
The “Occupy SFPR—Occupy the Freeway” protest takes place Saturday at 4 p.m. with participants planning to meet at Scott Road SkyTrain station bus loop and then proceed to a site at the south end of the Pattullo Bridge where work is being done on the South Fraser Perimeter Road.
Similar protests were held earlier this summer. Popat said Saturday’s protest is planned to take place when construction work on the road project is not under way. He explained the event comes at the start of fall and will offer a chance to take stock and think about where opposition to the transportation projects goes from here.