City awards consulting contract for rapid transit’s eastern corridor

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A firm that angered north St. Boniface residents for its previous consulting work for the city has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to do the planning and community consultation for the second leg of Winnipeg's transit corridor.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/12/2016 (2107 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A firm that angered north St. Boniface residents for its previous consulting work for the city has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to do the planning and community consultation for the second leg of Winnipeg’s transit corridor.

MMM Group was awarded the contract for the eastern transit route with its bid of $2.9 million. The contract requires MMM to devise a transit corridor route from downtown to eastern Transcona, including a replacement for the aging Louise Bridge.

The eastern corridor is one of six transit corridors adopted by council in its Transportation Master Plan. That plan called for the southwest corridor to be constructed first; followed by the eastern, north and west corridors, and all to be built by 2030. Transit corridors to the northeast and southeast are to be built after that, depending on transit demand.

MMM Group was highly criticized for its handling of the public consultations for the Marion upgrade project. The final proposal, which called for massive widening of Marion Street and a rail underpass just east of Archibald Street, had an estimated price tag of more than $500 million and would have resulted in the expropriation and demolition of 140 properties. The firm was scorned for failing to contact all neighbourhood residents about the plan and former public works chairwoman Coun. Janice Lukes described the company’s work as “horrible.”

When the original proposal was scrapped this fall, in part because of its price tag, city officials recommended hiring MMM again for community consultations on a scaled-down version of the project, which would consider only improvements to the Marion-Archibald intersection. Residents were opposed, but MMM was given the contract on the basis it was most familiar with the project.

The design study for the eastern corridor is complex and comprehensive, and will include an environmental review, co-ordinating related capital projects in the departments of public works, water and waste, and property, planning and development; and designing a comprehensive public engagement process where, in cooperation with civic staff, public input will be provide at every stage of the project.

A 2006 civic corridor study proposed the corridor be built in two phases: first stage is from the Graham Avenue Transit Mall to the Crossroads Station Shopping Centre (northeast corner of Lagimodiere Boulevard and Regent Avenue); the second stage is from Crossroads Station to Plessis Road and Kildare Avenue.

How the eastern corridor links the Graham Avenue Transit Mall to Crossroads Station still needs to be determined. The city is considering two routes from downtown to Nairn Avenue — through South Point Douglas and across a new Louise bridge; or across north St. Boniface — and wants the study to consider both options, highlighting anticipated land acquisition costs.

The north St. Boniface route includes a corridor that links the transit mall to Foster Avenue in East Elmwood, then to the CNR overpass at Lagimodiere Boulevard, and then to the Crossroads Station area.

The RFP says Winnipeg Transit wants a better route between the transit mall and the Main/Stradbrook entrance to the southwest transit corridor by linking Graham Avenue to Union Station and using CNR tracks to the southwest transit corridor.

The city has an agreement with the railroad to use the right of way along two of those tracks for transit, including alongside Union Station, where transit also wants a transit station to be located.

The study will also include:

An environmental review;

Identifying transit station locations, as well as those for park-n-rides and kiss-n-rides;

Developing a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan, “anticipating land use issues and opportunities”;

Identifying potential location along the route for a transit satellite garage, a 257,000-square-foot facility designed to accommodate maintenance of up to 200 transit buses; and

Designing off-road bike and pedestrian path linking the north end of Disraeli Bridge with the Brazier/Roch neighbourhood; and a pathway linking Brazier to the Northeast Pioneers Greenway corridor.

The consultant’s report will go through the committee process with a final presentation to city council.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

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