Chris Chyphya now has an easier time getting to family celebrations.
The Fort Garry resident and avid cyclist will have a much easier time getting to his brother’s East Kildonan home for weekly visits now that the Disraeli Active Transportation Bridge is open.
Chyphya said the bridge is easier for riding than the highway bridge, as there’s less of an arc to it. He was also thrilled to see six piers from the old road bridge repurposed for the project.
"I’m very impressed," Chyphya said. "A year ago, this was a high-speed highway bridge, and now, it’s a human-speed active transportation bridge for walkers, moms pushing their kids in strollers, and cyclists. It seems like a very beautiful thing now."
The bridge was opened to the public in September, but was officially celebrated with a grand opening on Oct. 3.
Chyphya, who will also use the bridge for regular visits to Sam’s Place, hopes snow-removal crews will keep the bridge in mind this winter for those who choose to cycle year-round.
Mayor Sam Katz was proud of the $16-million active transportation bridge, a public-private partnership (P3) which he said was completed on time and on budget. Katz added the two new bridges will go a long way to help wipe out the city’s infrastructure deficit.
"The completion of the Disraeli Bridge, and the completion of the Disraeli Active Transportation Bridge, are not only two things that are needed, but two things that make our city a better place to live, to work, to play," Katz said. "We all talk about active transportation — but we’re not paying lip service, we’re getting things done."
Katz is proud of the bridge as it helps to fulfill his vision of keeping the cyclist and vehicle traffic separate.
"I truly believe the safest way for active transportation (to proceed) is to keep it separate and isolated away from vehicles," Katz said, pointing to the Northeast Pioneers Greenway as an example.
Elmwood-Transcona MP Lawrence Toet agreed with Katz that keeping cyclists and motorists separate is ideal. He’s glad to see the progress made in connecting communities in the past decade, and feels stronger ones are in the cards in the future.
"You have to look at where we were and where we are today. That doesn’t mean we’re finished," Toet said. "I think we’re going to make the same progress in the next 10 years."
Minister of Local Government Ron Lemieux was also on hand to make the announcement, noting he hopes the bridge will encourage more Winnipeggers to seek alternatives to motor vehicles.
Though much of the talk surrounding the bridge has focused on bringing people from Point A to Point B, Elmwood resident Carlos Sosa said the bridge is a welcome addition for those looking to take a leisurely stroll.
"I’ve walked with the dog. I’ve walked over this bridge many times," Sosa said, adding he’s taken the bridge "numerous times" in the short period it’s been open.