Thursday, May 13, 2010

Winnipeg - Another city Under Achieving!!

One of the ideas I advocated a few postings back was that a bus subway should be built under the new motorway, up into the Birmingham Drive industrial enclave. This in turn would also allow a future tunnel under the railway line to create a direct route from Barrington Mall and all areas of the southwest, built or planned, straight up to Hillmorten Hospital, Birmingham Drive, Blenheim Road, Riccarton Road, the University, Sheffield Tech Park employment zone, the International Airport and existing and future industrial development along theJohns Road area (see here for map). The area around Birmingham Drive (and Curletts Road, Blenheim Rd) are among the most poorly served by public transport and the most heavily congestedin peak hours..possibly more so once the new motorway dumps more cars off motorway onto Curletts Rd. Today I realised this building busways under a railway line is exactly what is being done in Winnipeg, a medium size city of 690,000 in Canada

I have long been aware that the city was building a 3.5 kilometre bus rapid transit - bus only corridor, which would allow 17 different transit routes to feed in and out of the city without having to compete with on street traffic, which itself is part of a much longer long term bus corridor to the University. I just hadn't grasped that it involved a major under rail tunnel. Just to keep the flag flying until I can get back from other calls upon time in my life, and back to local public transport issues, here are some direct links to (a) photos of the tunnel under construction (b) info about the Winnipeg BRT system planned.

Incidentally Winnpeg also has a Mayor bedazzled by Light rail, even when all the experts and city, provincial and national funders are saying no way can such a small city carry this project. Here's part of a story "City Explores Light Rail Options" from the Winnipeg Free Press of 31 Jan 2009 (My Bolding!!)
In September, the city and province announced a $327-million plan to connect downtown and the University of Manitoba with a 9.6-kilometre bus corridor. Work is supposed to begin this summer on the $138-million first phase of the project, a 3.6-kilometre link between Queen Elizabeth Way and Jubilee Avenue. When the project was unveiled, the word "bus" did not appear anywhere in the official announcement. Katz, who has favoured light-rail transit over busways since he was first elected in 2004, made it clear he viewed a bus corridor as the first step toward another form of rapid transit. "Light rail is just around the corner," Katz told reporters when the busway was announced, prompting questions about the specific timeline for rail-based rapid transit. In 2005, the Katz-commissioned rapid transit task force concluded it would cost Winnipeg up to eight times more money to build a light-rail track and purchase train cars as it would to build a bus corridor.

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