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Winnipeg Transportation and Infrastructure

47298 Views 213 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Taller, Better
There has been a lot of talk of what is happening with Winnipeg's Rapid Transit. Some have said it has abandoned BRT in favour of LRT. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Yes it is true it was postponed by the mayor (the $45 million for it was subsequently lost), but it was not in favour of LRT. Right now there is a "Rapid Transit Taskforce" that is coming up with a revised rapid transit plan. They will announce their plan in June. Anyway, after a lot of research here is a Rapid Transit Plan for Winnipeg my group came up with.
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Here is a picture of the system map

The Blue Line goes along rail corridors from the University of Manitoba through downtown across the Red River to the eastern part of the city.

The Red Line goes from the west part of the city through downtown to the north. It goes along a dedicated corridor on Portage and Main.

The Yellow Line goes from Downtown to the Airport via Sargent Avenue.

The Green loop follows the Blue Line and then branches to the southeast. It then loop backs from the southeast to meet with the south line.

The Light Blue Line serves the the southwest part of the city and intersects the red line at Polo Park Mall. It then goes north to the airport.

The Purple line serves the Northeast part of the city via a rail corridor

The Orange line serves the Northwest part of the

The Light Green Line serves the southwest and goes downtown.
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Here is a picture of how the actual corridors look on a map.
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BTW This is a BRT system that tries to capture the best aspects of an LRT in that it runs on a guideway and has low floor vehicles. It is also more flexible and less expensive than LRT so it gets the best of both worlds.

Here's a picture of a similar system being built in Eugene, Oregon.
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Here's an image that shows where the Downtown Stations are located.

Union Station is the main hub of the whole system.
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Great concept. I like the idea of running BRT on median boulevards as shown in that photo. Portage and Broadway would be better choices for dedicated BRT (or LRT) since they are both very wide roads. Broadway's median would be excellent. It is a busy and vibrant neighbourhood with mixed residential and office. If only the city can build the line in the middle of that boulevard without damaging their precious elm trees. Where did you find out that it will infact be BRT and not LRT?
This thing has been studied to death. I'm actually pretty sick of them saying "We need to have a study done to determing what is best for Winnipeg in terms of rapid transit" Such a waste of time and money. I'll bet they could have built the first phase already with the money they would have saved on studies since 1960. BRT is obviously the only thing that would work in Winnipeg in terms of cost effectiveness. But what really ticks me off about the whole thing is that IT WAS READY TO GO !!!! until that schmuck cancelled it. Now we have no funding set aside from the feds or anyone else for that matter. Again, Winnipeg's backwards and visionless mayors have managed to give the young people of this city one less reason to stick around. Idiots.
LooselogInThePeg said:
Again, Winnipeg's backwards and visionless mayors have managed to give the young people of this city one less reason to stick around. Idiots.
The whole of North Dakota has the same trouble...
Yes, Winnipeg is starting to sound like Toronto. They have been studying the Spadina line for decades yet hasn't even gotten started and god knows if it ever will.
Built a BRT system. They now have LRT/BRT systems. By the I mean that they are advanced buses that run on rail guideways but at the end of the rail they also run on the street like a normal bus. Excellent versatility and a hell of a lot cheaper thanan entire LRT system.
The reality is is that Calgary is growing like a bat out of hell and has gobs of money to spend on its very successful LRT but Winnipeg doesn't so you build what you ca affod.
Whatever they choose, don't do it on Toronto time or it will NEVER get built.
It is true that BRT has been studied to death. The most important thing is that they get started in building it. The first phase of this plan is the same as the first phase of the city's plan. The only problem with the city's plan is I think they cheap out a bit. Only 2 km of the route is an actual separate guideway, the rest is like a normal bus or on diamond lanes. At least it's a start though, it can always be upgraded.
Here are some zoomed-in maps which show the station names

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Places Served by WRT

Here's a list of all important institutions are locations served by WRT
-Union Station
-Can West Global Park (Katz's Ballpark)
-Whittier Park (Festival du Voyageur)
-Assiniboine Park
-University of Manitoba
-University of Winnipeg
-Red River College
-Centennial Concert Hall
-Pantages Playhouse
-Kildonan Park
-St. Vital Mall
-Polo Park
-St. Vital Park
-Pan Am Pool
-Winnipeg Soccer Complex
-Unicity Mall
-Victoria Hospital
-Grace Hospital
-Health Sciences Centre
-Club Regent
-McPhillips Street Station
-MTS Centre
-Portage Place
-Winnipeg International Airport
-Sargent Park recreation complex

There's problem some I'm forgetting, but as you can see it serves most of the major destinations in the city. As for neighbourhood coverage, lines go to each part of the city.
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This is absurd! People in a forum who are obviously interested in urban issues and discussions actually endorse a BRT system? You do realize that screenshot of the guided BRT in a median was rejected by the city of Eugene, OR simply because its so stupid! Like c'mon! Why would you pay double for a bus with guide wheels or equiped with a camera that read painted lines instead of a coventional bus? I realize New Flyers come from Winnipeg but surely, any city wouldn't waste precious tax dollars on a half ass system that doesn't work! If you want to build a successful rapid transit system that will get people out of cars and into transit and at the same time, encourage transit oriented development, do it properly...aka RAIL! Look at Portland and the rail transit system that we use that have made our city a masterpiece in urban planning...nuff said!
^Rail is unfeasible here. For one thing, Portland has a much higher population and the density required to support LRT. Winnipeg does not. LRT also costs in the neighbourhood of four times BRT. Winnipeg cannot afford or justify this cost. BRT does not automatically mean a guided rail system. All it means in reality is a seperate corridor devoted exclusively to buses (and usually emergency vehicles) Ottawa's system is just this. When we talk of BRT in Winnipeg the Ottawa model is what we're referring to.
^ Portland has the density because the city made it a point to ensure development becomes that way. Winnipeg can do the same to since dense cities are easier to service in terms of mass transit systems. But I think Winnipeg is big enough to justify an LRT line.

LRTs, though more expensive, should be seen as an investment, not a burden. LRTs encourage high density development and reduce auto dependency and urban sprawl. If the city of Winnipeg has the will power to make it a better place for its people, then it should consider this necessary investment for the long term good of the city. BRT is just a waste of money and simply will not attract people out of cars and into transit. So why spend your precious tax dollars on something that doesn't work?
^'re not following here. Winnipeg cannot afford or justify LRT. Some tall forehead might decide that we will build one but it would be stupid here.
You only need to look at a map of Winnipeg to see this.

Imagine if Portland decided to run a line northwest along the Willamette along the west side of the river. It would make no sense because it it isn't cost effective. If you absolutely had to run a transit corridor along that way the only sensible thing to do would be to make it BRT. You can always upgrade it later but paying out a fortune in the interim is irresponsible. It's also important to note that in Winnipeg the city spreads out pretty evenly in all directions from the core. That means that given current densities there's no way to justify the expense of LRT. It is the same reason there is no subway going from Hillsboro to Tualatin. It simply wouldn't make any economic sense. Plus you have to remember that Winnipeg is not a high growth city. It could be fifty years at least before we could justify the expense of LRT over BRT. It's just simple economics.
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First of all LRT is a good system, but BRT fits Winnipeg better. Winnipeg's planned BRT will go along dedicated corridors but will be more flexible. It can get off the guideway at its terminus. An LRT system would end more than a kilometre from the University of Manitoba. Passengers would then have to get off and transfer. With BRT none of that is needed, the bus can just get off the guideway and go directly to the destination. Winnipeg's BRT will not be exactly like Ottawa's. Ottawa's busway is a bus highway. Winnipeg's will have more modern, low-floor vehicles that operate on a guideway for a smoother more convenient ride (Like LRT). Also buses are less loud than rail vehicles when they brake. Some corridors do go through residential areas so noise is an issue. I can understand why some are weary, many cities have cheaped out on so called BRT systems.
I like to think of Winnipeg's BRT compared to an LRT like the Montreal Metro is to other subway systems. The Metro uses rubber vehicles on a guideway and is still considered a subway system. The concept is similar for Winnipeg's BRT.
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I have not posted it yet but Transit Oriented Development and infill development are key components of this Rapid Transit Plan. There is no reason why BRT if done properly can't encourage redevelopment.
I'll have some station renderings here soon.

Here is what the Union Station site looks like right now

As you can see it is just a parking lot right now
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Here is a rendering of the expansion of the system's hub station Union Station.

Right now Union Station has 4 sets of two tracks going through it. That means eight tracks all together. Right now the first two are occupied by the Winnipeg Railway Museum. The next four have Via Trains and the last two carry freight traffic. The platforms at the station are dark, ugly and narrow with poor access to them. In this plan a set of tracks would be removed and freight traffic would bypass the city. Two sets would be dedicated to Rapid Transit while the last one would still have Via service. Also the platforms will be covered by a glass roof. The trains that are part of the museum will be moved to a dedicated site in the new station complex. There will be on street retail and offices in the building.
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