January 28, 2010
By Jolie Toews, Canstar – Herald
Transcona will soon have a vast network of trails linking its neighbourhoods with one another and itself with the rest of the city. More than 12 kilometers of new trails, pathways and bikeways are expected to be ready for use in Transcona by this fall. It’s all part of a major active transportation project this year that will see 35 new active corridors constructed around the city. All three levels of government are funding the more than $20-million project. The existing Transcona Trail will be extended as part of the project.
The 5.75-km multi-use pathway will connect the eastern suburban area of Transcona with the rest of the city. It will be constructed south of the CEMR Pine Falls rail line corridor between Regent Avenue and Day Street and along the recently purchased abandoned rail line, located between the Manitoba Hydro right-of-way and the northern edge of Transcona, between Day Street and the Perimeter Highway. The Dugald Road Pathway will be a 3.3-km paved, multi-use pathway. In addition, a 4.5-km bikeway will run along Kildare Avenue.
Val Cousineau, chair of the Transcona Trails Association, is thrilled the city has taken an interest in expanding active transportation to provide better, safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists. “It’s a very big year for active transportation in Transcona. It’s probably the biggest year we’ve had to date,” said Cousineau, who joined the local non-profit organization when it started in 2003 to help develop and promote a recreational trail system in Transcona. “It’s way overdue. We just had a few tiny little paths in some parks,” Cousineau said of the year the organization formed.
The 30 or so residents who are members of the Transcona Trails organization helped the community get several trails, including the Transcona Trail, which provides a link between the Rotary Prairie Nature Park and the Transcona Bioreserve, the Cordite Trail along the Cordite Ditch and the Manitoba Lotteries Fitness Trail in Buhler Recreation Park. Although the number of trails throughout Transcona has grown significantly over the past several years, Cousineau said there is still a shortage. “This year we’re building wonderful trails within Transcona, to get around Transcona,” Cousineau said. “An effective trail system is one that you can get onto near your home to get to where you want to go that day, whether it’s school or work or the grocery store or the hairdresser. “I can see three years from now we will have an amazing system that will be easy for people to use. I can see a trail that goes all the way around Transcona.”
Kevin Nixon, the city’s active transportation co-ordinator, said this year’s project will better connect Transcona with other communities in the city. “Geographically, it’s a little bit isolated, so I think these facilities are going to be very well used in Transcona,” he said.