Active transportation supporters want greenway included in road project


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This article was published 13/07/2011 (4271 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Some local active transportation advocates want to see the Northeast Pioneers Greenway extended as part of a series of proposed roadway improvements near Lagimodiere Boulevard and the Perimeter Highway.

The provincial government has proposed making changes to the intersection to ease traffic congestion in the area.

Sigrun Bailey and Louise Balaban, co-chairs of the River East Neighbourhood Network – Trail Committee, said the improvements would be an ideal opportunity to extend the trail fur­ther north to Birds Hill Provincial Park.

The avid cyclists said what they would like to see is a bridge built that would allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Perimeter at Raleigh Street, similar to the one that was recently built near Birds Hill.

A bridge would allow individuals to travel uninterrupted along the greenway and connect to the Floodway Trail System that leads to Birds Hill.

“We’re trying to get a safe facility for non-motorized transportation,” said Bailey, who lives in North Kildonan. “It’s also a health issue, getting people active.”

The province’s plans include construction of a full interchange at the intersection at an estimated cost of $80 to $100 million.

“Basically we would be building an interchange that would allow motorists in all directions to go through that intersection of roadways without stopping,” said Don McRitchie, a spokesperson for Mani­toba Infrastructure and Transportation.

McRitchie cautioned that any extension of the greenway would have to be a shared initiative between the city and the Rural Municipality of East St. Paul.

Bailey said it would be a mistake not to include the active transit trail in the province’s plans.

“They’re not considering active transportation, which is ludicrous,” she said. “They’re forcing people to be in their cars.”

Balaban said the proposed bridge would make the intersection safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.

“You can’t ride your bike on the shoulder with semitrailers going by at 80 km/h,” said Balaban, an East Kildonan resident. “We need to have a trail all the way to Birds Hill.”

Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), said plans are already in place for the greenway to be extended to Glenway Avenue once the construction of Chief Peguis Trail is complete.

However, he said extending it to Birds Hill likely isn’t something the city could consider at this time.
Bailey said she fears there might never be another opportunity to extend the greenway.

“They all say they’re for it, but I’m afraid it will slip between the cracks,” she said. “It’s a win-win for everybody, so everyone should chip in.”

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