Residents just found out eight buses an hour will be running up their old residential street and onto newly designated greenway

The Standing Committee on Public Works met to discuss several reports on June 11th, including the Winnipeg Transit Master Plan implementation plan - which Transit is calling the biggest change to Winnipeg transit in 70 years.

During the meeting, City Councillor Cindy Gilroy and four delegations made up of seven Wolseley residents came to share their disappointment with the Master Plan. Specifically, they levied complaints against the plan’s intent to discontinue the #10 bus and create a new #28 bus to go up Arlington street.

Councillor Gilroy expressed concern regarding the transit plan’s discongruity with the upcoming changes to turn Wolseley Avenue into a greenway.

“I think there are those that feel the consultation wasn’t enough, and a big piece of that is that the consultation happened before we had this proposed greenway,” Gilroy said. “It’s going to [add] bump outs and speed humps and so adding a transit line along that route isn’t something the community would support.”

Councillor Gilroy also highlighted the challenge of moving large buses down Arlington’s aging, tight street, arguing that the road’s current condition was inadequate for an increased volume of buses, and sustained damage when the number ten ran only one direction on the street.

Each of the delegations emphasized that they support Winnipeg transit, but wish to meet with Winnipeg transit and discuss solutions that can better service the needs of the Wolseley neighbourhood.

“Transit told us they consulted, but their own reports show that they consulted just over %1 of Winnipeg’s population back in 2019 and 2020,” Wolseley Residents for Fair Transit member Margerit Roger said. “Most of that consultation was an online survey and the closest in person event was on Selkirk Avenue.”

After learning about the changes, Wolseley Residents for Fair Transit collected their own petition, going door to door, which received more than 460 signatures in opposition to the proposed route.

“While we agree with the concept, we feel that they have to have some flexibility … What we’re asking for is for them to take a little time to talk to us about the plan, specifically in the Wolseley area,” Wolseley Residents for Fair Transit member Rachel Morgan said in an interview with The Leaf.

Councillor Russ Wyatt countered that making changes to the route for Wolseley residents is “going to open a pandora’s box” regarding changes for other neighbourhoods. However, Councillor Wyatt along with the other Councillors agreed that they felt inadequately consulted on the new transit plan.

When City staff had the opportunity to explain the planning process, they said that the proposed Arlington route has been a part of the Master Plan since 2020.

“We really need to emphasize that the plan was developed in 2019-2020, and there was quite a bit of promotion for the opportunities for engagement at that time,” a Transit representative said.

The transit representatives said that while the new route may seem like more buses, it is likely a change of one bus per direction per hour - the #10 currently runs three buses, at peak periods, while the new #28 will run four. However, potential bottlenecking and stress on Arlington Street was not addressed.

They also felt there was little time to pause the plan, as they intend to implement the changes during the summer season of 2025, to give users time to figure out the new system before the start of school in September.

When the over 10 hour meeting concluded, the implementation plan was approved and Wolseley resident’s wish for Transit to “pause and consult” was unable to be met at this time.

“We’re disappointed,” Morgan said after the meeting. “We didn’t feel we were asking for anything unreasonable. We just wanted to sit down with transit, go over our concerns and try to work out something that would be workable for them and for us.”

“Every community is different. The newer suburbs have wider streets with better pavement and houses set far back,” Morgan said. “The master plan doesn’t address the individuality of different communities across the city.”

Now, Wolseley Residents for Fair Transit are reassessing before the Transit Master Plan goes to the Executive Policy Committee for final implementation later this month.

Patrick Harney, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leaf