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Committee OKs rapid-transit corridor through Parker Lands

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Public works chairman Coun. Dan Vandal said Winnipeg needs to rush to finish the second phase of rapid-transit.

This morning, council's public works committee voted in favour of extending the second phase of Winnipeg's rapid-transit corridor through the Parker Lands despite concerns raised from members of council and the public who said Winnipeg needs more information on how the corridor could run down Pembina.

A report recommends the city extend the second phase of the Southwest Transitway west through the Parker Lands, then southeast along a Manitoba Hydro corridor. The report said the proposed route will have less impact on traffic and will allow buses to travel faster, as there are fewer road crossings. It is also expected to attract more riders from future housing developments in the Parker Lands and adjacent areas.

Couns. Justin Swandel (St. Norbert) and John Orlikow (River Heights) said the city should evaluate the benefits of running the rapid-transit corridor down Pembina before making a decision.

Orlikow said it would be easier for the city to run the corridor through Parker, but not necessarily the best choice.

Other residents raised concerns about the impact of development on the environmentally-sensitive Parker Lands.

Vandal said the dogleg route is the cheapest and will have the least impact on neighbours who live in the area. He said Winnipeg has done due diligence and a professional analysis on the proposed route and needs to move it forward.

"We need to rush to finish rapid transit, we're 40 years behind," Vandal said. "Other cities have grown tremendously on the rapid transit file and we haven't done a lot so we need to rush."

The route still needs to be approved by council's executive policy committee and city council.

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Updated on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 1:11 PM CST: Writethru with quotes.

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