How the city plans to improve Winnipeg’s downtown and make it a destination

A new plan to make downtown a destination over the next few decades, has more people living there while transforming a bus hub.

The city is looking for feedback on CentrePlan 2050.

The vision sets out targets to have 350 residential units added every year until 2030, and then 500 a year after 2030, in part to attract grocery stores and other businesses.

To do this the plan says there would have to be a mix of housing types, for all incomes.

Sean Brookes works downtown and says he’d like to see more families living in the area.

“Affordable, you know something that is somewhat subsidized. Maybe more like family things downtown,” said Brookes

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ says that post-pandemic, the area can’t rely on office workers alone to drive the economy.

BIZ CEO Kate Fenske says the housing targets in the blueprint aren’t ambitious enough based on current builds.

“Over 400 units were added in 2022 downtown,“ said Fenske. “In 2023, we’ve got about 1,000 units that are getting under construction or will be opened this year.”

One of the centrepieces of the vision includes a rethinking of Graham Avenue in the bus corridor stretch. Buses are set to move from Graham to Portage Avenue over the next decade.

There are different suggestions to replace the stretch including green spaces, bike lanes, patios, and even white out parties.

Bailie Sager also works downtown and she’d like to see more entertainment.

“I was recently in Nashville, they close Broadway and allow pedestrians to like, walk on the street between the bars and restaurants and stuff like that,” said Sager. “So I think that could definitely bring people downtown.”

The plan also says vehicle traffic should be slowed on some streets by narrowing roads, and adding on-street parking, and bike lanes, which could provide buffers for pedestrians and cyclists.

“I think it would be really cool to be able to bike through the heart of the downtown,” said Brookes

CentrePlan 2050 also has provisions to add more parks and trees downtown.

“If we look at building our city for people first, that’s when we create really exciting public spaces,” said Fenske. 

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