One day an Elie resident who works in downtown Winnipeg might be able to save on gas and parking fees by using a park and ride service running from Red River Exhibition Park.
Stantec Consulting’s engineer Robert Kurylko recently completed a park and ride study commissioned by the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region and Canadian Federation of Municipalities. The study examines the feasibility of a park and ride site in west Winnipeg and identified the best one of three possible locations within Red River Exhibition Park. This is shown as being located south of an area that is used as the site of a farmers’ market in the summer months. Just off Racetrack Road, this site is close to the Bell MTS Iceplex, Assiniboia Downs and the commercial/light industrial Westport Festival development.
An expanded parking lot could hold over 600 vehicles with drivers becoming transit riders for travel into Winnipeg.
The plan for a transit exchange includes two bus bays with heated shelters, bike storage, and an optional transit driver’s washroom.
Winnipeg Metropolitan Region executive director Colleen Sklar said the study is part of a larger regional development plan now underway. The park and ride at Red River Exhibition Park could be one of several situated close to major transport routes leading into the City of Winnipeg.
"We will need these metro corridors," Sklar said, adding that the bigger development plan will extend 30 years into the future.
"We’re still a ways away from this," she said. "But we need to start asking, ‘What infrastructure is needed for growth in the region?’"
The Stantec study was received and reviewed by Headingley council in December last year, said Headingley mayor John Mauseth.
"The park and ride scenario is huge," he said, but cautioned that a lot of work has to be done before local residents can use a park and ride at Red River Exhibition Park.
One factor that will have to be changed is current regulation prohibiting public transit from crossing municipal boundaries.
Sklar said there are similar transportation systems in place in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver that allow people living in surrounding municipalities to use public transit for part of their workday commute.
Peguis, Rolling River and Swan Lake First Nations own property and land along the Winnipeg-Headingley boundary and in the RM of Headingley. Future economic development partly depends on workers being able to travel to and from their job sites that are now only easily accessible by car.
"We need to find ways for people to get to their jobs," Sklar said.
Community journalist — The Headliner
Andrea Geary is the community journalist for The Headliner. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org Call her at 204-697-7124