Transit users raised a number of concerns at a pair of recent open houses on the second phase of the city’s Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor.
The two open houses were held Sept. 19 and 22 at the Holiday Inn on Pembina Highway.
Members of the public were presented with details about the options being considered for the next phase of the corridor and had an opportunity to present their concerns to Winnipeg Transit officials.
Both options for phase two of the corridor start at the Pembina and Jubilee Avenue station and end at the University of Manitoba.
Option one, dubbed the Hydro Corridor alignment, runs west from Pembina but takes an L-shaped detour through the Beaumont and Maybank residential areas.
Option two, the Letellier alignment, would see the path run straight down the west side of Pembina.
Many of the people who attended the Sept. 26 open house questioned the idea of having the corridor go anywhere but straight down Pembina.
"The direct route seems like the best if we want to make a long-term investment," said University of Manitoba student Brendan Cade, who said he often uses phase one of the corridor. "It doesn’t really make sense to have it swing out (to the suburbs) and come back in… I think everyone would be happier with (it going straight).
"There’s already so much infrastructure on Pembina — there are lots of shops and lots of people live close. I don’t really see the point of going so far away from Pembina with (what’s supposed to be) a Pembina-centric bus route."
Sandeep Sidhu echoed Cade’s concerns.
"The whole point of rapid transit was to get the people that are already here to use it. The (Hydro Corridor concept) is so far away from Pembina… how are the people from Pembina going to get to those stations?" Sidhu said.
"Pembina is the most direct route you can take."
Sidhu, an avid cyclist, said he was also concerned with the absence of bike paths in either of the options for the second phase of the corridor.
"They mentioned at the first open house a couple of months ago that there was going to be a bike path, but none of the maps show it," he said.
Dave Wardrop, director of Winnipeg Transit, said the purpose of the open houses was to present the community with options and allow them to voice their concerns.
"Getting (the community’s) feedback and perspective is part of the input into the process. At the end of the day there are a number of issues that need to be considered in coming forward with our recommendation, and certainly a large part of that is the public’s perspective on the preferred alternative," he said.
Individuals who were unable to attend the open houses but would like to obtain information on the project can visit Winnipeg.ca or contact Jacqueline East at firstname.lastname@example.org.