(September 2, 2016)
Winnipeg needs to open its doors to a larger redevelopment strategy that would build light-rail transit, bike paths and pedestrian corridors to transform it into a world-class city for the 21st century.
Coupled with a free, redesigned public transit system to encourage people to stop driving cars, these strategies could also cut greenhouse gas emissions (which in Manitoba are largely from transportation).
Rail relocation is the place to start. Rather than filling the same potholes, year after year, and building underpasses or bridges — all at a huge expense — the rail yards and main rail lines should be moved outside the city.
To do that, we need a systems perspective on our situation in Winnipeg that deals with more than one thing at a time. Otherwise, we are simply playing Whac-a-Mole — that game at the Red River Ex in which, for every mole you whack with the mallet, two more pop up even faster. It’s a game you can only win by unplugging the machine.
We need to set the question of rail line relocation in a broader context that includes the costs of any proposal and a full cost accounting of business as usual. What are the subsidies involved (obvious and hidden)?