We are writing on behalf of Functional Transit Winnipeg, a community group that has for some months been engaging in detailed analysis of plans for the Southwest Corridor. While we object 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.
Today, City Council voted to begin the process of expropriating 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 TOD, according to the Southwest Corridor Alignment Study. This is part of a larger ongoing concern we have about what is happening to areas the City promised would be developed as TOD.
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. TOD can be new construction or redevelopment of one or more buildings whose design and orientation facilitate the use of convenient and sustainable modes of transportation, including public transit and Active Transportation.” (pg 6)
There were four large infill areas along the Southwest Corridor designated for redevelopment identified in the Winnipeg Transportation Master Plan. These are the Fort Rouge Yards, the Parker Lands, the Sugar Beet Lands and the former Southwood Golf Course lands.
Of these areas, development plans for the Fort Rouge Yards and the Sugar Beet lands have been made public. 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 TOD as the City of Winnipeg defines it, they ensure that transit riders are worse off because they will have less access to commercial amenities than they currently do on Pembina Highway.
The City should look closely at plans for TOD along the Southwest Corridor, because, increasingly, the areas that were promised to be developed as TOD are not.
We look forward to your response on this issue.
On behalf of Functional Transit Winnipeg
Functional Transit Winnipeg advocates for improved public transit through bus frequency, affordability and accessibility.
Sugar Beet Lands development plan: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/crossing-into-residential-262335551.html
The Yards at Fort Rouge Area Master Plan: http://fortrougeyards.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Area-Master-Plan-LQ_pgs-24+.pdf
Winnipeg’s TOD handbook: http://www.winnipeg.ca/ppd/tod/pdf/Handbook.pdf
Winnipeg Transit map with TOD areas: http://winnipegtransit.com/en/major-projects/southwest-transitway/stage-2—southwest-transitway/southwest-transitway-stage-2-overview/#.