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Posts Tagged ‘jim maloway’

MP Jim Maloway is taking a page from Pat Martin’s playbook and prematurely announcing that the provincial government will be contributing at least $50 million to the city for a new four lane Disraeli to be built alongside the existing bridge.  The plan is to keep the current bridge open until the new bridge has been completed, which would eliminate most of the construction gridlock.

Mayor Sam Katz has responded to Maloway’s announcement, saying that it will cost $200 million to create the bridge that Maloway describes including Active Transportation.  (it’s unclear if the $200 million would include a separate Active Transportation bridge, or Active Transportation lanes on a new Disraeli span.

Quite a few people are upset that the plan is for only four lanes, and not six.  There are traffic delays along Henderson just north of the Disraeli bridge, so many residents would like to see a six lane bridge to ease congestion.  Unfortunately, a six lane bridge won’t ease that congestion, because the bottleneck happens at Hespeler Avenue and will continue to happen no matter how many bridge lanes are added.

One of the things about traffic flow is that limited-access expressways are different from regular thoroughfares.  Generally, a regular thoroughfare requires one extra lane both ways compared to an expressway, because it needs a lane for turning, bus stops, and cyclists.   Henderson is a thoroughfare, and that third lane greatly increases the efficiency of the road, because it usually means two unobstructed lanes available to traffic.  This gives Henderson as many unobstructed lanes as Disraeli has, since Disraeli has ramps for turning and for bus stops.

Disraeli Freeway is a true freeway for most of its length; of course, it’s an older freeway, so its on and off ramps are shorter than most.  It also has the issue of a pedestrian crossing on its Sutherland Avenue ramps, which slow traffic slightly.  Even with these shortcomings, the Disraeli does not have any major bottlenecks.  In truth, while traffic often slows during rush hours, particularly heading away from Downtown in the evening, traffic rarely comes to a stop on Disraeli.  When traffic is stopped, it is normally due to traffic backups from the lights at Hespeler Avenue, and in particular the light for turning onto Hespeler.

The addition of a third lane will not eliminate traffic backups at Hespeler, as it will not lower the amount of time spent at the Hespeler traffic lights.  There are only two ways to improve traffic flow on Henderson:

1.    Widen Henderson Hwy from three lanes to four, forcing business and residents to relocate: This is not considered a realistic or practical solution.
2.    Lessen the amount of traffic on Henderson Hwy or on Hespeler/Talbot/Midwinter: moving traffic to another route would reduce the bottleneck.

Other options do not result in better flow.  Removing access to Hespeler from Northbound Henderson would cause as much or more traffic problems as commuters attempt to use Johnson or a side street to reach the Redwood Bridge.  Building an interchange for Henderson, Hespeler, Talbot and Disraeli is even less practical than widening Henderson itself due to space limitations.

Assuming that population growth in North Kildonan, Transcona, and outlying municipalities will continue, it is reasonable to assume that traffic volume on Henderson will continue to increase.  Unless alternatives to even more cars on Henderson Hwy can be found, no amount of investment on Disraeli will prepare the Northeast for more traffic.

There are three major road projects occurring in Northeast Winnipeg over the next decade:

1.    Disraeli Bridge reconstruction
2.    Chief Peguis Trail extension from Henderson Hwy to Lagimodiere Blvd
3.    Louise Bridge relocation and reconstruction

All three projects are ambitious and will change the way traffic flows in the Northeast.  However, these three projects are missing one very important piece: connections between them.  Chief Peguis will function well for commuters who live at the North edge of Winnipeg, but will not alleviate traffic issues closer to downtown.  Commuters travelling to and from downtown will still need to take Henderson Hwy, and many will continue to take the smaller East-West routes to get to Lagimodiere and beyond.  The best route to take commuters from downtown to Lagimodiere is currently underused: the twin routes, Gateway Rd and Raleigh Street.

Gateway and Raleigh have the potential to become part of an efficient thoroughfare that runs directly from The Forks to Lagimodiere and the Perimeter.  This route does not need to become a high-speed freeway (or neighbourhood annihilation road); it can have speeds ranging from 50-70 kph as it runs diagonally to the Northeast corner of Winnipeg.  This route comes with room for a transitway and with an Active Transportation corridor that is mostly developed already.

Here is one possible path for the Gateway / Raleigh route (tongue-in-cheek suggestion: we could call it Gary Doer Blvd if that brings in some provincial money):

1.    The south end of Gary Doer Blvd is where Higgins Avenue meets Waterfront Drive.  The new road runs north to the CPR tracks and follows them to the Red River at the eastern tip of Point Douglas, where it crosses the river and Archibald Street via the new four-lane Louise Bridge.
2.    Once over Archibald, Gary Doer Blvd heads under the Nairn Overpass.  This portion is the most complex of the entire plan, because there are three rail lines to negotiate to arrive under Nairn Avenue.  Part of the new Louise Bridge is the offshoot that leads to the upcoming Russ Wyatt Parkway, which leads to Transcona.  This portion won’t of course be started until after Russ is crowned king of Winnipeg in 2020 (my timeline could be a little off).
3.    From under Nairn, Gary Doer Blvd crosses Talbot and heads along Raleigh and Gateway.  The boulevard has three lanes each way, but the right lane is a diamond lane.  It’s not a diamond lane for buses, which actually use the center lane to access their bus turnouts along the Northeast Pioneers Greenway, but for turning on and off the boulevard from the various side streets that pour into the road.
4.    North of the new intersection with Concordia and Kimberley, Gary Doer Blvd’s southbound lanes run alongside the northbound lanes, completely East of the Greenway.  The five residential streets from Helmsdale to Roberta Avenues see the once busy Raleigh Street replaced with a one-way and single-lane road to connect the streets to their back lanes and to each other, with outgoing traffic using Golspie St to access Kimberley.  This allows Centennial and Anderson parks to connect directly to the Greenway without any roads in between.  This arrangement continues, with only minor adjustments, all the way to Springfield Rd.
5.    Chief Peguis Trail and Gary Doer Blvd meet with an interchange, the only one that Gary Doer Blvd has between the Louise Bridge and the Perimeter.
6.    After Chief Peguis, Gary Doer Blvd continues to Knowles Avenue.  At Knowles, the route turns almost due east, where it connects to Lagimodiere and the Perimeter as part of a turbo roundabout.

Has the time come for a serious study of Gary Doer Blvd?  I think it has.  It seems silly to spend over half a billion dollars over the next decade on transportation in Northeast Winnipeg without having a complete solution in mind.

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I’m sure I’m not the only person wondering why the Premier would bother parachuting Transcona’s Bill Blaikie into a constituency that already had two potential candidates.

“Blaikie said Doer approached him to run in Elmwood – not the first time the premier has tried to woo Blaikie into provincial politics.”  Winnipeg Free Press, Dec 5, 2008 – http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Blaikie_.html

Of course, there had been several other rumours about the Premier pushing for a transplant for Elmwood:

Past rumour that Scott Smith is moving to Elmwood: http://hacksandwonks.blogspot.com/2008/10/elmwood-gossip-that-wont-go-away.html

Phil Walding, Son of Pawley-government kaibosher Jim Walding, approached to run in Elmwood by-election to succeed Jim Maloway: http://tgcts.blogspot.com/2008/10/september-guest-and-story-review.html

What’s wrong with choosing a candidate from among the people who live in Elmwood?  Why is it that citizens like Darryl Livingstone, who has worked for years with Councillor Lillian Thomas, or Ed Innes, who has been fighting alongside former MLA (and current MP) Jim Maloway on the Disraeli bridge issue, are not considered worthy of the seat?  Why did the Premier decide that he needed to search high and low for a third choice from outside of the area?

I’m not sure why an esteemed Member of Parliament would retire from politics, only to run for a provincial seat in an area he doesn’t live in.  I’ve certainly heard the rumours that Mr Blaikie wants to be the next leader of the Manitoba NDP, and/or that Mr Doer decided that he needed a favour from a big name because the voters of Elmwood have been left feeling neglected after years of, well, neglect.   All I can say is that I do not believe that Premier Doer gave any consideration to the actual needs of Elmwood when he made his choice… he seems to be more focused on what HE needs.

In these days of uncertainty about the motives of some Federal politicians, I think it’s a bad idea for the Premier to be meddling politically in a constituency that already has its local talent.   There are far more important things that our Premier should be spending his time on.

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