On Feb. 25, City Council voted to expropriate a large portion of the Parker Lands in order to build a retention pond. Its planned location is on land the City promised would be developed as transit-oriented development (TOD), according to the Southwest Corridor Alignment Study.
Functional Transit Winnipeg is concerned the City is not following through with its commitments to develop certain lands along the corridor as TOD. Although we are opposed to the Southwest Corridor, if the City is going ahead with this project, it needs to fulfill its planned commitments to transit-oriented development (TOD) so that the system remains useful for everyday riders.
The definition of TOD, from the Winnipeg Transit-Oriented Development Handbook, is as follows:
“Moderate to higher density compact mixed-use development, located within an easy five to ten minute (approximately 400m to 800m) walk of a major transit stop. TOD involves high quality urban development with a mix of residential, employment and shopping opportunities, designed in a pedestrian oriented manner without excluding the automobile” (pg 6).
While there is still potential for TOD in the remaining smaller Parker Lands area, the Fort Rouge Yards master plan is skeptical that retail could succeed in that area while the development plan for the Sugar Beet Lands shows segregated land uses with no promises for how much and what type of commercial spaces will be built.
The Yards at Fort Rouge – A TOD Development, Area Master Plan states that “due to the nature of the existing rail lines to the west, cutting the site off from surrounding neighbourhoods and potential clientele, it is not likely that the Fort Rouge station would attract enough support for retail businesses to succeed” (pg 40).
In order to justify moving transit off of Pembina Highway, the City promised to develop areas along the corridor as TOD. Developing these areas with segregated land uses and with few plans for any retail or commercial activity near the corridor not only makes these developments not appear to meet the City’s definition of TOD, they ensure that transit riders are worse off because they will have less access to the amenities than they currently do on Pembina Highway..