Monday, 19 Oct 2020

‘It’s a vulnerable area’: Lord Roberts residents to have their say about traffic, housing density

Lord Roberts residents who are frustrated with a spike in traffic on their streets will finally have their voices heard at a public engagement meeting slated for April 29.

The Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor and the construction of several large housing developments in the old Fort Rouge rail yards has created a rise in traffic and a decrease in street parking, said Bev Pike, coordinator of the South Osborne Residents’ Group Inc.

“We want our street parking back, we want to decrease the amount [of] traffic, we want to protect children around the [Lord Roberts Community] school, and speeds around the school,” said Pike.

These issues are at the core of a study launched by the city last year, aimed at reducing traffic and parking concerns in the area.

The community group brought their concerns to the attention of the city 10 years ago, when a land deal was struck by then-Mayor Sam Katz, Pike said.

“Part of that scheme was to add two 20-story towers, 5,000 people, and 10,000 cars to Lord Roberts. That was one major shock,” she said.

An artist\’s rendering of The Yards at Fort Rouge.

The $200-million The Yards at Fort Rouge development deal passed through council in 2010, and was named Winnipeg’s biggest infill housing project.

The development includes 1,100 units, one-third of which have already been built and people are beginning to move in, said area councillor Sherri Rollins.

The new infill would nearly double the number of residents in the neighbourhood, said Pike. Lord Roberts is home to 4,915 residents, according to the latest 2011 Census data.

Since the start of construction, Pike said the community has seen a surge in traffic on side-streets and a lack of street parking.

“With construction, big semis are driving through our neighbourhood and we have an elementary school in the area. Three times a day we have rush hour traffic,” she said.

The expansion of rapid transit came with its problems too, she said.

The Yards at Fort Rouge

“We have drop and ride with people who park all day and take the bus to work. Transit workers park on our streets, too. The transit expansion didn’t make room for more parking.”

It took years for the neighbourhood’s concerns to be addressed, said Pike.

“It took many, many briefs. The successful one was in 2018,” she said.

Rollins said she heard cries from the community first-hand when campaigning in the area during the last municipal election.

“I heard from residents and saw it myself the increase in traffic volumes that were causing a lot of concern. I had heard it at the door that they were interested to lower speed limits,” she said.

Public engagement from residents will identify key concerns and help find solutions, said Rollins.

“Essentially, we’re hoping to get their input and experiences as pedestrians and cyclists, and their experience as motorists and get their thoughts on solutions.”

The five-phase traffic study is steered by both a community advisory committee and a technical advisory committee which includes traffic and transit experts.

Pike hopes the study will garner some positive action.

“The end result is for a quieter, more peaceful neighbourhood,” she said.

The meeting takes place at the Lord Roberts Community Centre from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

A pubic engagement survey is also available on the city’s website until May 11. A final report is expected for fall 2021.

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