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Investment, long-term planning needed for Winnipeg roads, infrastructure

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Investment, long-term planning needed for Winnipeg roads, infrastructure

According to a professor of urban geography at the University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg is decades behind other Canadian cities in terms of planning and budgeting for better infrastructure for active transportation, highways, and public transit.

According to Jino Distasio, now is the time for leaders who will think big and have a generational influence as the city’s population continues to nudge closer to a million and voters prepare to select a new mayor and council.

Distasio said on Tuesday’s episode of The Start on 680 CJOB, “We have to truly take that leap of faith and do something daring, and be a leader instead of lagging behind and looking at other cities that are passing us by—and at a heck of a lot more efficiently with the systems that they’ve planned.”

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According to Distasio, Winnipeg had stagnant growth at the same time as cities like Calgary and Edmonton started to plan for and upgrade its public infrastructure with initiatives like LRT decades ago, preventing the city from being able to conduct similar work.

He claimed that as a result, Winnipeg’s infrastructure is deteriorating and will need to be improved as the population increases.

However, according to Distasio, doing so will need long-term planning and a dedication to spending money on expensive projects like highway widening and LRT that may take decades to accomplish.

The regrettable $5 to $10 billion investment needs to be made, he said, adding that the longer the city delays, the more money will be spent.

We stall there, I say. People experience sticker shock when they notice the price.
Physical activity
According to Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg, improving public transportation and rehabilitating roads alone won’t be enough to reduce commute times as Winnipeg grows.

Cohoe claims that even while Winnipeg’s system of dedicated bike lanes and walkways has improved over the past ten years, there is still work to be done.

For instance, he claims that the city’s bike routes need to be better integrated, a task best accomplished while bigger road and infrastructure upgrades are being finished.

He told Global News Winnipeg Morning on Tuesday that “(it’s) still a really big problem for folks and lots of connectivity issues where you can get near but you can’t quite get to where you’re going.”

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