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Winnipeg’s transit master plan gets the green light from council

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Transit 25-year master plan approved by council' Winnipeg Transit 25-year master plan approved by council
In a vote 15 to one, Winnipeg council has officially moved forward with their transit master plan – Apr 30, 2021

A blueprint to redevelop Winnipeg’s transit system was given a green light by council members Thursday night.

In a 15-1 vote, council approved the city’s transit master plan, a project that’s been mulled over for several years.

It will include six capital projects:

  • bus radio and intelligent transportation system project
  • North Garage replacement
  • transition to zero-emission buses
  • rapid transit (downtown corridors) preliminary design
  • primary transit network infrastructure
  • wheelchair securements retro-fit

The three rapid transit lines that would intersect at the downtown Union Station are:

  • blue line: connects Unicity shopping centre via Portage Avenue to Polo Park and to Main Street; from there, it heads along the Southwest Transitway to the University of Manitoba across the Red River on a new bridge to St. Vital
  • orange line: direct north-south connection through Winnipeg; upgrades Main Street into a major transit corridor through downtown
  • rose line: primarily an east–west connector; direct route from Transcona to Grace Hospital; makes use of infrastructure for both of the previous lines.

The plan also says that the city will purchase more than 100 zero-emission buses.

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During the council meeting, Mayor Brian Bowman said the plan is a long time coming.

Read more: Winnipeg preparing blueprint for 30 years of transportation development

“Winnipeg transit has been in need of a modernization and an upgrade for decades,” Mayor Brian Bowman said during the council meeting.

“Despite the best efforts of our transit staff and our public service, when I think about the transit system, I think it was really designed for our grandparents.”

Coun. Kevin Klein was the lone person to vote down the motion.

“There are some good pieces within this document, but there are some significant concerns,” Klein said during the meeting.

Read more: Winnipeg Transit projecting $29M shortfall due to coronavirus: city report

Klein says he’s concerned that the cost of the transit plan could affect other major city projects.

“Does this mean the north end treatment plant work is in jeopardy?”

Read more: Winnipeg sewage treatment plant upgrades to cost $80 million more than expected

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“I’m perplexed by this because I support the concept of an effective and an efficient transit system, but I have to step back for a minute and go, ‘wait a second, what does this mean at the end of the day?'” he observed.

It’s estimated the project could cost between $588 million and $1 billion in a matter of 25 years.

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