The City of Selkirk unveiled short-to-long-term plans for the street that leads to Selkirk’s primary shopping destination and its heath and recreation facilities.
Detailed designs and staging plans for Manitoba Avenue West were announced at an open house Oct. 20 at the Gaynor Family Regional Library. The $500,000 project was cost shared 50-50 with the Province of Manitoba.
Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson said consultations with the public regarding future plans for Manitoba Avenue have been ongoing for several years and public input was crucial to the Manitoba Avenue design process.
“We value the public input for this project and any project the city undertakes. Community engagement is a Strategic Plan priority and it’s something we take very seriously,” Johannson said.
“With Manitoba Avenue, we know the street has gotten busier, but it is holding its own. At the same time, we want to be prepared for the future and these plans take a measured approach to addressing concerns, doing what’s required in the short term and planning for other work in the future.”
Manitoba Ave. performing well within acceptable guidelines
The detailed design plan for Manitoba Avenue was completed by MMM Group and includes a three-term staging plan. Traffic flow studies conducted by MMM Group showed that vehicular movement through the 12 intersections and approaches on Manitoba between Main Street and Hwy. 9 fall into an acceptable level during both morning and afternoon rush periods. Using a rating system with A-C being acceptable, D and E being less acceptable and F being the worst conditions, Manitoba Avenue consistently is rated either A or B, with the exception of the Main Street intersection, which is rated E during the morning rush and F during the afternoon rush.
Duane Nicol, Chief Administrative Officer, said the study confirms that while Manitoba Avenue is certainly busier than it’s been in the past, it is operating effectively and within its designed parameters. He said this plan gives future Councils the tools to effectively manage new growth while not over spending millions in unnecessary infrastructure.
“We’re trying to hit a moving target here. This plan gives us the flexibility to consider the impacts of future growth in the context of future potential alternate routes and connections to the commercial zone, which may actually take pressure off of Manitoba in the long run. This is a long-term plan and it provides us with a cost-effective strategy to invest tax dollars if and as necessary,” Nicol said.
Expect to see improvements in stages
In Stage 1, which could potentially happen within the next 1-5 years, plans for Manitoba include an Easton Drive Intersection upgrade, the installation of a sidewalk and multi-use path, sewer repairs and Manitoba Avenue and Hwy. 9 intersection upgrades. All changes are subject to budgetary approval.
Changes to the Easton Drive intersection would focus around improving safety for drivers while turning. Sewer repairs include replacement of sections of pipe and lining of pipe from Annie Street to Main Street and, it’s recommended that traffic lights be installed at Manitoba and Hwy. 9.
Both stakeholders and members of the public called for better routes for active transportation along Manitoba Avenue, and in the short and medium term there are plans to improve the way pedestrians and cyclists get around.
The addition of a multi-use path on the north side of Manitoba from Canadian Tire to Easton Drive is planned for Stage 1, and from Easton Drive to Main Street for Stage 2. A sidewalk on the south side of Manitoba from Selkirk Crossing to Mercy Street is also called for in Stage 1, and from Mercy Street to Main Street in Stage 2.
In Stage 2, which could potentially happen within the next 5-15 years, plans are to reconstruct Manitoba Avenue from Main Street to Easton Drive, add a service road on the north side of Manitoba from Selkirk Crossing to Purvis Boulevard and pave a public road to the Rec Complex.
In Stage 3, which is targeted for 15-plus years, it is recommended that Manitoba Avenue from Easton Drive to Hwy. 9, be reconstructed.
Shaping Selkirk’s Future
Improving Manitoba Avenue falls in line with Selkirk’s Strategic Plan in numerous ways. The plan calls for building a strong and stable local economy – improvements to our busiest thoroughfare will do that by building on Selkirk’s status as a regional service centre and will revitalize the city’s image. Improvements contribute to safe and sustainable infrastructure by guaranteeing smooth operation of transportation systems and demonstrating clear intentions for future development. And the public engagement utilized to arrive at the Manitoba Avenue staging plan has the entire community helping shape our future.