New vision for downtown Winnipeg aims to attract new residents, visitors

A vision of a revitalized downtown Winnipeg proposes to transform Graham Avenue, build more housing and add parks and green spaces in an effort to attract more residents and visitors to the city’s core.

The City of Winnipeg released a draft of a blueprint to redevelop downtown over the next few decades, called CentrePlan 2050.

Among its proposals, it sets the goal of creating 350 new housing units per year until 2030, and then 500 per year until 2050.

The document, released on Thursday, also proposes “ideal neighbourhood streets,” which would “provide safe and inviting places to walk to local residences, stores, and businesses.”

These streets would be narrower, to encourage drivers to slow down, with on-street parking, trees and pedestrian lighting. 

A major focus of the plan is the redevelopment of Graham Avenue, as the city’s plans for future rapid transit development involves moving buses off Graham and onto Portage Avenue over the next decade.

“This gives us an incredible opportunity to reimagine how we use that space and design a street to meet the needs of people living, working, and visiting downtown,” the document states.

“Centrally located, with lots of great destinations along its length as well as some prime development sites, Graham Avenue is perfectly situated to be downtown’s signature open space.”

The plan proposes various zones with different purposes and amenities.

“Shared zones” would allow cars, but more space would be devoted to pedestrians, cyclists and patios. “Green zones” would include vegetation, with buildings set farther back. “Celebration zones” would offer space for community gatherings and street parties.

The plan also offers ideas for expanded bike routes along St. Mary and York avenues, Notre Dame and Cumberland avenues and William Stephenson Way and Graham Avenue.

People can provide feedback through an online survey until June 15. The city will hold an open house on May 25 at Manitoba Hydro Place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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