Public engagement is important to the City of Selkirk, and when citizens and business owners at an April open house for the Manitoba Avenue East redesign told city council and staff they we concerned by the reduction of parking, they were heard.
A newly revised design of the downtown avenue includes more on-street and lot parking, resulting in a net loss of just five spots.
Council has adopted the revised plan with increased parking and construction will begin at the end of June as originally planned.
Working together to build a vibrant downtown
Selkirk CAO Duane Nicol said the open houses process is designed to elicit ideas from the public and the city is always receptive to good ideas.
“We heard lots of support for the new design and vision for our downtown and we heard some concern over the loss of parking. Working with our design partners we’ve been able to maintain more of the total parking, while retaining the enhancements that create a safer, more pedestrian friendly, vibrant downtown street.”
The revised plan supports the goals of the city’s Downtown Renewal Strategy by significantly enhancing the operation of Manitoba Avenue East. Two of the biggest improvements will be the avenue’s conversion from a one-way to a two-way street for vehicle traffic and angle parking will be replaced by parallel parking, which will provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists.
The new Manitoba Avenue East will include decorative paving and pedestrian scale lighting as well as active transportation infrastructure like an off-street bike lane. Planters and landscaping, space for public art along with the two pocket, or mini, parks will enhance the avenue.
Open house sparks idea to implement parking strategy
The city will be implementing a Downtown Parking Management Strategy and will begin public engagement during the process. The strategy will look at existing parking and identify potential solutions to any issues.
“One of the other issues we heard, primarily from business operating on the street, is that much of the existing parking is used by employees working in area shops and offices. We want to work with employers in the area to better manage all of the available parking. By reducing the parking lost to only five spaces and better management of parking availability we are taking very real steps to address the concerns we heard,” said Nicol.
The redevelopment of Manitoba Avenue East hits on almost all points in the city’s Strategic Plan, including Priority 1 – a vibrant, safe and healthy community, achieved through continued development of the city’s natural features and outdoor spaces and a revitalized downtown. Priority 2 of the Strategic Plan is a strong and stable local economy, which will be sustained by building on the city’s status as a regional service centre and building on Selkirk’s tourism potential.
The newest design of Manitoba Avenue East can be viewed at HERE