Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rapid Transit

Free Press picture of Katz at bus announcement.

Sam Katz seems to finally come aboard on bus rapid transit. Like most people, I used to take the bus regularly back and forth to school. However, I found that on some occasions, it was faster for me to walk back to River Heights from the University of Winnipeg rather than wait. I did that frequently.

Nowadays, my work involves me travelling from suburb to suburb on an almost daily basis. I could ride a bike to work in the summer but the lack of bike stands where I work makes that a difficult prospect.

My wife works at Health Sciences Centre and while bus travel is possible back and forth, it would make a 12 hour day probably a 14-15 day if you included the commute.

I know some people will say we picked where we live in Charleswood but we did so in part for financial considerations. Homes in River Heights which have several bus routes are more expensive.

Sam Katz rejected an earlier form of rapid transit and instead used the money for community clubs. The jury is still out on that one but clubs are still falling apart or showing no indication they are willing to collaborate to build actual multi-purpose facilities.

The new plan for rapid transit comes with help from the provincial and federal government's. Gary Doer was also on hand for the announcement on September 8.

From the Free Press:

The first leg of the corridor -- which comes with a $138-million price tag -- will begin at Queen Elizabeth Way near The Forks and then snake 3.6 kilometres southwest to Jubilee Avenue near Pembina Highway, crossing over Osborne Street on a new bridge and then tunnelling below CN Rail's Fort Rouge Yards along the way.

The overall plan is for a $327 million corridor to the University of Manitoba but CN seems to have a lot of questions about the plan, the borrowing to get it done and details about the housing surrounding the 12 bus stations.

Katz says light rail is coming but that is in the future. I have no idea what that means.

There is a plan for 700 apartments to help finance the busway but details on that are sketchy as well.

Once approval of this plan happens, it will take three years to get the first phase done.

No rush it seems to bring fast mass transit to Winnipeg.

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