City releases new version of transit master plan

WINNIPEG — The order and the makeup of the City of Winnipeg’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes are shifting.

On Tuesday, the city released a new version of its master plan for transit.

For the BRT, it places downtown at the top of the list and moves the planned eastern leg down the line.

Dikshita Sharma, a daily BRT rider, said the southwest corridor cuts 15 minutes off her commute compared to before.

“The bus is always late by five minutes, 10 minutes, 12 minutes. But right now it’s on time,” said Sharma.

With downtown Winnipeg being at the top of the list, a transitway would be built along Main Street from Higgins Avenue to St. Mary’s Road and Tache Avenue.

The plan also includes an elevated transitway through Union Station.

The city said service needs are the greatest downtown, where congestion and bus backups occur.

“I think it’s a better way of getting people in and out of the downtown where people work the most,” said Coun. Sherri Rollins.

Priority two would go from Main Street at Higgins Avenue to Inkster Boulevard; Sutherland Avenue to the Louise Bridge; and St. Vital Centre to the University of Manitoba.

Priority three would go from Grant Avenue from Pembina Highway to William Clement Parkway to Portage Avenue; Sturgeon Road from Portage Avenue to Ness Avenue; Tache Avenue to St. Vital Centre, as well as Main Street from Inkster Boulevard to Fernbank Avenue.

The fourth priority would go along Nairn Avenue and Regent Avenue to Plessis Road, as well as Portage Avenue from the University of Winnipeg to Unicity.

The eastern leg to Transcona was supposed to be the next leg but it has been dropped to the bottom.

“We continue to shift and change based on current moods and modes, ” said Coun. Shawn Nason. “It has to be affordable as well. Affordable, reliable, frequent.”

The city said the priority list is based on several factors including ease of construction, cost, the number of people a corridor will serve and the impact on development.

Whatever order the routes are done, Sharma would like to see rapid transit go across the city.

A public consultation process is underway. A survey is available plus two zoom meetings this month. A final plan goes to council in the spring.

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