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This article was published 10/3/2009 (3032 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Point Douglas residents want the city to put off the planned rehabilitation of the Disraeli Freeway to allow more time to co-ordinate transportation plans with the ongoing redevelopment of their inner-city neighbourhood.
About two dozen Point Douglas residents, including well-known artists Jordan Van Sewell and Wanda Koop, appeared before city council’s public works committee Tuesday in an attempt to convince politicians to reconsider council-approved plans for fixing the 1.1-kilometre-long Disraeli Freeway and Overpass.
The inner-city residents want the city to reconsider building a dual-span Disraeli Freeway instead of fixing the existing single span as planned, close the Louise Bridge to vehicle traffic and allow Higgins Avenue and Sutherland Avenue to become a residential street, free from heavy vehicle traffic.
The purpose of this plan would be to remove through-traffic from South Point Douglas and transform the entire Point Douglas peninsula into a residential enclave, similar to Armstrong Point or Kingston Crescent, said Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan, who authored a motion requesting a formal transportation review of the entire area.
Pagtakhan said it’s not too late for the city to reconsider its Disraeli plans, even though tenders are already out for the $140 million project, which will see the city partner up with a private construction consortium.
The council-approved Disraeli plan calls for a new bike-and-pedestrian bridge to cross the Red River at Annabella Street. Point Douglas residents would prefer to do away with the new span and instead divert bike and foot traffic to a closed Louise Bridge.
All three councillors from northeast Winnipeg – North Kildonan’s Jeff Browaty, Elmwood’s Lillian Thomas and Transcona’s Russ Wyatt – also oppose the city’s plans for fixing the Disraeli Freeway, mainly because the connection between downtown and Elmwood could be severed for up to 16 months while construction is underway.
Provincial politicians are also attempting to make the freeway an issue in the provincial Elmwood byelection, though the province has no direct control over the city’s construction plans.
The South Point Douglas residents’ request was all but ignored by the public works committee, as Couns. Bill Clement, Dan Vandal and Harvey Smith voted to receive Pagtakhan’s request for a new study as information.
The idea will still move on to executive policy committee and then council as a whole on March 25.