On Feb. 9 the University of Manitoba hosted a public session about an active transportation river crossing that will provide a direct connection between Fort Garry and St Vital.
The pedestrian and cycle crossing will go over the Red River and enter Fort Garry near the U of M. During the session the City of Winnipeg and MMM Group Limited provided professional consulting about the project.
The U of M – St Vital active transportation project was initiated by the city and consists of a conceptual design study to identify viable options, locations and assess public opinion for a pedestrian and cycle crossing. A similar session was held Feb. 8 at the Dakota community centre in St Vital.
“The City of Winnipeg is studying the feasibility of providing an active transportation crossing,” said Kenn Rosin, project manager of the study for the City of Winnipeg.
“Optional possibilities and structure technology types need to be developed and evaluated,” Rosin added. In the two interactive sessions the public viewed display boards about the study and people were asked to provide answers to different questions regarding how they see the project and what impact it has on their daily life. They were also asked to fill out surveys.
Luis Escobar, a representative from the City of Winnipeg, said there has been good feedback from the public on the project thus far.
He said people are interested in seeing the project move forward and are happy to be asked for their input. “I believe approximately 200 to 300 persons attended the session on Feb. 8, I hope we will get the same attendance today,” said Escobar.
Professionals from the city, MMM and Bike to the Future helped explain different options to the public. Mark Cohoe, manager of Bike to the Future and consultant for the project, said that many people have asked questions about how to get to the future crossing as a cyclist and what is the best solution to go from St Vital to the University.
Colleen Plumton, professor in the faculty of kinesiology and recreation management, said she thinks the project is an excellent idea because it is important that there are more connections to the U of M.
“In terms of pedways and active transportation we are far behind the times, we are far behind larger centres in Canada,” Plumton said.
Plumton said she supports any project that improves active transportation in the city.
Neil Johnson, a citizen of St. Vital, said the session was informative.
“I think [it] is important to be aware of what’s going on in the neighbourhood, particularly in matters that can really impact the liveability of the neighbourhood and I want to make sure that my opinion was being heard,” he said.
The consultants will analyse the information from the sessions and see if some options are more acceptable to the public.
Once the decision is made the city will provide a report in June.