Winnipeg wants to know what its residents think about the eastern expansion of the city's fledgling rapid-transit network.
Late last year, the city selected consulting firm MMM Group to conduct a detailed design of the East Transitway, a dedicated bus corridor that will connect downtown with Transcona that is currently in the planning stages.
That study, slated to be completed in early 2018, will determine where the East Transitway will cross the Red River.
The city has already begun to contact some property owners and organizations that may be affected by the new corridor. Consultation sessions are planned for later this month.
Origin-destination studies concluded this route is the second rapid-transit priority after the Southwest Transitway, which will connect downtown to the University of Manitoba's Fort Garry campus in 2020.
One option for the East Transitway is a new bridge that would cross the Red River east of the Exchange District and connect with a corridor running through North St. Boniface to Elmwood, and eventually Transcona.
The second alignment option would run through Point Douglas and might involve the construction of a new crossing that would replace the Louise Bridge and serve both buses and cars.
MMM Group has also been asked to identify which downtown lands the city may have to acquire in order to connect the Southwest Transitway to the new east corridor.
This may involve the purchase of surface-parking lots in the east side of the Exchange District or the use of city land north of The Forks.
The consultant has also been asked to look at removing buses from an increasingly congested downtown stretch of Main Street and have them run instead along a pair of elevated, unused CN Rail tracks that run behind Union Station.
This would in effect convert the underutilized 105-year-old train station into a downtown transportation node and provide better transit access to The Forks.
Consultation sessions planned for later in the month include:
- Oxford Heights Community Centre (359 Dowling Ave. East): Monday, May 15, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
- Centennial Concert Hall (555 Main St.): Tuesday, May 16, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Elmwood High School (505 Chalmers Ave.): Tuesday, May 16, 5 to 8 p.m.
- East Elmwood Community Centre (490 Keenleyside St.): Wednesday, May 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Notre Dame Community Centre (271 Avenue de la Cathedrale): Wednesday, May 17, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
- Neeginan Centre (181 Higgins Ave.): Thursday, May 18, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
There is no funding for the East Transitway. Council public works chair Marty Morantz (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge) said the city must come up with a plan for the corridor before it approaches other levels of government.
Mayor Brian Bowman has pledged to complete six-rapid transit corridors by 2030. Morantz declined to say whether that timeframe remains possible.