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Molson/Panet twinning gets thumbs up

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East Kildonan residents seem to like the City of Winnipeg’s plan to twin Panet Road and Molson Street.

Locals were invited to an open house at John de Graff School on April 24, where details of the city’s plan to add a lane to the road between Munroe Avenue and Kimberly Avenue over the course of the next year were revealed. Construction is expected to start this summer.

The Molson intersection at Concordia Avenue has been a particular target of criticism in the past. In addition to the two driving through lanes, there will be a left-turn lane and right-turn cutoffs to alleviate the bottleneck at the intersection.

Henryk Berezowski of Concordia Physiotherapry and Sports Injury Clinic, located at the corner of Molson and Concordia, was initially concerned about how construction might impact his business. However, after the open house, he was satisfied the effect would be minimal.

"I was a little bit concerned about access and egress for patients in wheelchairs who come to the facility — there’s a dentist’s office, a medical office, and myself in the strip mall," he said.

"We’re making sure that some of the construction can be staged to allow patients to visit the mall and leave safely."

In addition to ensuring the clinic will remain as accessible as possible during construction, plans call for sidewalk ramps and detectable sidewalk tiles to be installed at the Molson/Concordia intersection.

Juanita and Mike Patterson, who live on Eaglemere Drive, had no qualms with anything they saw at the presentation.

"They’re thinking ahead. They’re communicating, which is great," said Juanita. "We’re pretty impressed."

Mike said the project is long overdue.

"When there are trains and heavy traffic, you can’t turn and you have people skidding past you on the gravel," he said. "It really needs to be fixed up."

Project manager Neil Myska also revealed plans for twinning from Kimberly to Grassie Boulevard, but said that initiative likely would not begin for approximately 10 years, as that section of the road had an overlay in 2012.

Myska said the city is taking feedback on the proposal, and while he doesn’t expect any major changes, he’s already considering tweaking the plan at minor intersections.

"We’re looking at making some changes at the Kimberly intersection," he said. "(Residents are) telling us that there’s a lot of northbound delay waiting for vehicles to turn left, so we would be going to look back at the intersection to see how much delay there is.

"We may continue the two lanes right up to Kimberly so they can bypass the left-turning vehicles."

As for construction, Myska said there may be street closures, but they’ll be scheduled for weekends as much as possible, and won’t last longer than a few hours.

Mark Cohoe, the executive director of the Bike to the Future cycling advocacy group, was glad there were active transportation elements, such as bike lanes between Munroe and Concordia and a bike path north of that, included. However, the Corydon Village resident would have preferred to see a raised bike lane for the entirety of the street to keep safely keep cyclists as part of the traffic flow.

"It provides a bit of separation between cyclists and traffic, but by raising up the bike lane, it also keeps debris off the bike track," he said.    

For more information on the project, visit http://www.winnipeg.ca/publicworks/MajorProjects/PanetMolsonStreetTwinning/default.asp

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