Transit Master Plan fails to move us forward


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/05/2021 (757 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Why did I oppose the Winnipeg Transit Master Plan as it was presented?

Well, there are some significant financial questions not being answered. For example, the plan suggests building a pedestrian bridge which would only cost $15 million, which we know is not possible. The total investment is between $1 and $1.6 billion. Approval of this plan would max out the city’s credit ceiling. These are risks that I must consider, and there are more.
Here is a brief look at what the Winnipeg Transit Master Plan included: Bus radios; garage replacement; design studies for rapid transit routes; pedestrian bridges with varying costs; network infrastructure; and some electrification.

The plan calls for no additional buses. Even with the same city footprint (which we all know is growing) how can you have improved service and frequency without increasing buses? Page 82 of the plan states that in 25 years, the city will only have 13 more buses than it has today.
You may not have known that the mayor and his executive policy committee councillors supported a reduction of 68 bus replacements in the March 2020 multi-year budget

Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press A passenger gets on to a Winnipeg Transit bus on Graham Avenue. Coun. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) writes that the recently announced Transit Master Plan is flawed.

The Transit Master Plan is sold as a much-needed big plan but it seems no more thana showpiece. I don’t believe it is addressing some of the real issues  – only funnelling money to consultants and contractors.

Any transit plan not based on 100 per cent electrification is insufficient.
Was light rail transit even considered? It was 15 years ago. A master plan should move us forward and be functional t25 years from now, not just be more of the status quo.

Finally, the Winnipeg Transit Master Plan doesn’t address a primary concern I hear from residents regularly – Transit isn’t safe.

We recently saw reports of a protective screen breaking when someone threw a bottle at a bus driver. There is a video on social media of a person threatening to stab passengers on a bus.
I have had residents call me about people refusing to wear masks while riding the bus. They are afraid for their health. Others have reported that thieves take their shopping bags if they sit too close to a door, and many are scared to use Transit to attend events because they will have to wait for a bus downtown at night.

I realize nobody wants to speak about this issue, but someone has to. Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

I stand behind the principle that quality data is necessary to inform policy, direct investments, and for appropriate planning. I will not spend over $1 billion of residents’ money on a master plan that is half done; that has glaring financial issues.

Before we decide on an investment of this magnitude, I want all my questions answered. I want access to quantified data without interference. And the safety of passengers should be at the top of the list.

We had an opportunity to change the status quo at City Hall and do things differently, but the council and leadership thought differently.

We can’t afford to continue mismanaging the city in this fashion.

Kevin Klein

Kevin Klein
Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood ward report

Kevin Klein is the city councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood.

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