Kenaston widening proposal gets first green light

A City of Winnipeg committee has given the green light to widening a portion of Kenaston Boulevard to six lanes.
A typical section of Kenaston widening, showing noise attenuation walls and sound berms. (City of Winnipeg)

A City of Winnipeg committee has given the green light to widening a portion of Kenaston Boulevard to six lanes.

It cites growth in the city's south and the opening of Ikea later this year, both of which are expected to significantly increase traffic volumes.

City council still needs to approve the plan, which would impact a stretch from Taylor Avenue north to where Kenaston turns into Century Street and meets up with Ness Avenue.

The $130-million project is still several years away from becoming reality but Coun. Dan Vandal said Monday's decision by the standing policy committee on infrastructure renewal means the city can now begin preliminary discussions with property owners along the route.

The city estimates it would need to purchase property from about 45 homeowners.

"We're giving the administration the authority to go out and talk to people and potentially purchase property.  We're not giving the authority to expropriate," Vandal said.

"Everyone knows that Route 90 is a major thoroughfare between Waverley West, Polo Park [and] the airport, and so we need to move on it."

Car culture

Ken Klassen, who lives just off Kenaston, spoke against the project at the committee meeting. He said the city is buying into a car culture.

"Three out of every four people who go up and down Kenaston every day are alone in their car, and the city wants to preserve that," Klassen said.

"So all this nonsense about sustainability? Down the drain."

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi agreed and was the only councillor on the committee to vote against it. She argued that more attention should be paid to alternative forms of transportation, such as transit.

Council will vote on the expansion proposal later this month.