It looks as if there’s a rapid transit line in Winnipeg’s future. Problem solved, right? Wrong. The choice facing us now is whether or not we succeed in building a viable system, one that provides a better service than the buses on Pembina Highway do, and one that creates new economic opportunities while fighting sprawl and improving the environment.
The question hinges on the accessibility of the stations, and on land use regulations adjacent to them. If the stations are readily accessible, rapid transit can create new development opportunities, contribute to the clean-up of our environment, and provide a much-needed transportation option to all those who do not have access to an automobile, or prefer convenient public transportation. To the extent that they are not, users of rapid transit will have experiences similar to those I had in Miami last summer, and Winnipeg’s development will suffer accordingly. As I write this, the prognosis is not good.