Residents have say on Wolseley-downtown plan  

A SWARM of Wolseleyites, West Enders, and other Winnipeggers descended on a Wednesday night open house to give feedback on the latest iteration of the Wolseley to Downtown Walk Bike Project — an ambitious plan that promises to transform areatransportation.

The event packed the lecture hall at Westminster United Church, with a line of attendees snaking out the door and down the street.

Chris Baker, an active transportation co-ordinator with the City of Winnipeg public works department, said the plans, maps, graphics and information on display to the public represented the recommended design for the project, following two previous rounds of public engagement.

“But that being said, we’re here to collect meaningful feedback from the public and have meaningful conversations,” Baker said. “So once we collate all this, the online survey and tonight’s feedback, there’s still an opportunity to change the design, make some refinements. If we missed something, or missed the mark, we’ll be able to refine the design and make it the best it can be, and the most palatable for the most people.”

Canora Street resident Chris Brown showed up with three pages of detailed notes outlining his concerns about how the plan intends to deal with rush-hour motorists who cut through Wolseley by converting sections of Westminster and Wolseley avenues into westbound, one-way streets.

“What everyone I’ve heard say is: leave Westminster alone,” Brown said, explaining the plan will inadvertently shunt shortcutters onto his residential street.

James Plett, who lives in West Broadway, was also concerned about the impact of proposed one-way streets in his neighbourhood.

“My work location is never in the same location, so sometimes I need to go east and head down to Osborne (Street). And if the one-way is put in, that means I would have to go west onto Broadway, which is already a backed-up street. And this will definitelycause more people to start using Broadway.”

Luanne Karn said she took part in previous phases of the consultations, in a successful effort to prevent a Transit bus from being run on Home Street.

“It was both a good public engagement process, but also very negative in that it just came out of the blue at us,” she said. “I’m also concerned that they haven’t addressed the issue of cut-through traffic very well.”

Marianne Cerelli, chairwoman of the Wolseley Residents Association, said she had some misgivings about the way public consultations had been done. Her group is holding a community meeting to discuss the plan, Feb. 10 at the Westminster Housing Co-op.

“But all of that said, I think most people support active transportation,” said Cerelli. “They support having a bike corridor, they want people to be safe on their bicycles, they want people to be safer walking, they want to reduce the speed and the cut-throughs through the neighbourhood.

“But the high-interventionist nature of the proposal has caught people off-guard, so I think they need to bring people along a little bit better, through a better engagement process.”

Baker stressed the plan is still open to adjustment. An online survey on the project remains open until Feb. 9. Twitter: @sol_israel