of the
Greater Winnipeg Transit System


1. The General Problem

Transit is by definition a common carrier passenger transportation service operating within the confines of an urban area and contiguous suburban environs. The type and extent of transit service required depends on the size, both physical and population-wise, of the particular community, as also on its special characteristics.

Cities have existed from earliest ages, both for the readier transaction of business and the wider field of employment available. But always their extent appears to be controlled by an unwillingness or physical inability on the part of the inhabitants generally, to spend more than one hour travelling between one's domicile and place of daily employment, in fact forty or forty-five minutes each night and morning is nearer an average maximum.

Prior to the introduction of public transit service, cities of necessity were limited in size and greatly overcrowded. People were compelled to live close to their place of daily work, for few could afford the up-keep of private means of transportation. It was the coming of the street car, just over one hundred years ago, that brought about the segregation of residential and business areas and expanded the area of definitely urban living from a radius of two miles at most to three miles with horse drawn vehicles, and to six miles or more upon the introduction of electric traction.

With the motor vehicle age reaching full fruition following the second world war, with the provision of paved highways over an ever expanding area, cities have literally exploded under its impact so that the zone of urban living is now anywhere within a radius of fifteen miles from the business centre, and that of suburban living as much again.

But the motor vehicle has created its own problems namely ever increasing street congestion and insatiable need for parking space. The street system inherited from the past is now fully used. The improvement of traffic conditions, however accomplished, and the provision of additional parking space, has up to the present, resulted only in the "bringing out" of additional motor vehicles to at once load to capacity the new facilities, with relatively little if any improvement over previous conditions.

The above is mentioned only as to its effect on transit service. That effect of course is that it has become next to impossible to provide regular and certain transit service at hours of maximum street congestion.

The service provided by a transit vehicle that is locked in congestion for minutes at a time, and takes double its normal time to make its half-round trip, is far from being satisfactory service to the passengers on board it who at least have some idea as to the reason for the slow out-bound trip, and is most unsatisfactory service to would-be passengers waiting for that bus to arrive on its in-bound trip, with no reason visible for its being behind time.

On an evening in November last I boarded an Osborne trolley bus about five o'clock at Dufferin Avenue and Salter Street. Two very competent-appearing business girls were in the seat ahead of mine. As the bus inched along Isabel Street in a very extended traffic jam, locked in a phalanx of motor vehicles, I overheard one girl say to the other, "This settles it. I am going to buy myself a car." No explanation was forthcoming as to how a car would expedite her home-going under the existing or similar circumstances.

But the remark succinctly epitomizes the major transit problem, which is an increasing inability in a major city, to provide satisfactory transit service (and that includes self-sustaining service at a reasonable fare level) in view of street congestion, particularly at rush hours, coupled with a sanguine hope on the part of many that the private motor-car can somehow solve the problem.

2. Various Suggestions for Relief of Congestion

Cities being what they are, from the very nature of things it is most unlikely that in any major city, there will ever be a complete solution to the problem of congested streets. While the city continues to thrive, at times in the business area all traffic media will be compelled to operate at the very brink of complete stagnation. Relief, however, is possible through segregation of various forms of traffic. Sidewalks are an early example, though the segregation of pedestrians and wheel traffic is limited to the individual block.

The construction of specialized roadways for motor vehicles, completely grade-separated from the existing street system, offers but a limited solution, for the reason that an expressway has no terminal facilities other than the existing public streets. All motor vehicle traffic destined for the downtown area (much the greater part of that moving) will still have to debouch into the downtown streets and seek to obtain parking accommodation in the business area. The dead storage of motor vehicles within the downtown area adds nothing to the attractiveness of its appearance, and detracts from its overall business utility. An expressway will indeed tend to induce the use of more motor vehicles so that terminal facilities will be in increased demand.

Unless the downtown streets can readily handle the traffic leaving an expressway, traffic will back up on it and clog all movement, including that solely interested in cross-town travel. No benefit will accrue to the transit system, which must also serve the area.

Motor vehicle expressways can be built as depressed roadways or as elevated structures or embankments, but except for very minor lengths, must be open to the air, if artificial ventilation is to be avoided. Great expense for right of way, and substantial destruction of business properties cannot be avoided.

The alternative is the provision of specialized grade-separated road beds for transit vehicles. These can be on elevated structures or depressed below street level, either in open-cut or enclosed structure. Free from conflict with miscellaneous street traffic, economic use of track is obtainable, and with track, transit vehicles can be operated in trains of great carrying capacity, at speed, with assured regularity and safety, and at the lowest possible cost per passenger.

Rapid transit relieves street congestion in two ways. It permits the elimination of many of the surface transit vehicles that now enter the downtown, and to do so travel the major streets leading to it. It tends to reduce the number of motor vehicles entering the downtown as workers and others having business downtown will find it highly convenient to utilize the rapid transit service, reaching an outer station by walking to it if nearby, or by feeder bus or by motor-car, and by parking close to the outer station, avoiding the difficulty, inconvenience and greater cost of downtown parking.

Reduction of street congestion in the business area, however much that area may expand as the community grows, will increase the desirability of that area for business, commercial and cultural uses, with the great attendant advantages of business propinquity as also obtaining full economic use of what in any case is a limited area of valuable land. Also, a much lesser part of it is required for the dead storage of motor vehicles.

Lastly while the costs of rapid transit structure and expressway structure in downtown locations are about the same per unit of length, experience is that, for the conveyance of passengers, a rapid transit structure has an effective carrying capacity four to five times that of an expressway.

Nevertheless no one can gainsay the convenience of personal transportation direct from one point to another that is possible by motor vehicle, provided adequate expressway space from point to the other is at all times available, as also parking space at either end. But the cost of providing such facilities to satisfy all would-be automobile users is so astronomic as to at once show the fallaciousness of any such idea. In fact if a metropolitan city were to be wholly or even largely dependent on the private automobile for transportation, so much space would be taken up in roadways and so little left for business purposes, as to destroy the value of the district for the business uses that attracted the traffic in the first place.

It would seem that at some place along the line, the free use of the automobile in heavily built up urban areas, will be restricted.

3. Essential Bases of Urban Life

Two historic facts relative to urban life must be noted. Whatever was the occasion for a city to develop at its particular site, whether as a port or a ferry; as a convenient point of trade, or a seat of government; as a monastery, or an educational centre; as a point of defence, or a police post; whatever the reason, a considerable density of development was present from the beginning, and this density increased as additional population came in to supply ancillary services to those already there, or to take advantage of the facilities or opportunities the established community offered for the carrying on of some new adventure in trade, commerce, amusement or what have you. (The dictionary meaning of town or city implies little more than a considerable collection of dwellings, etc. Any sense conveyed of a specific corporate status derives from Canadian statutory definition).

The other fact that should be mentioned is that living in close proximity to other citizens, all inhabitants must accept some restriction on complete personal freedom of action when necessary for the general benefit of all. The curfew bell when instituted was no doubt deeply resented by many citizens. But this mandate to extinguish all fires was for the benefit of all. In a wood and thatch town, a conflagration at night was too great a hazard to the entire community to permit taking any chances. So today building and zoning bylaws are definitely restrictions on individual action in the general interest, as are also traffic regulations.

In turn the provision of many services in urban communities can best, if not only, be supplied by the community as a unit, either directly or through a specifically authorized agency. Water supply and the sanitary services, fire protection, police protection, traffic control, parks and gardens, are some of these. Another is transit service. Ready means of travel between all parts of a community is what makes it a community. The means of communication must in degree correspond to the need, that is be in accordance with the population and its distribution at any time, and with the general lines of expected travel. This is the basis of this present study. It involves consideration as to the future growth and development of Greater Winnipeg, both in degree and direction, as well as other more or less pertinent factors affecting same.


1. Winnipeg's Strategic Situation

The location of Greater Winnipeg is truly a strategic one. Southward on the Red River from Lake Winnipeg, and then westward on the Assiniboine, was the water highway to the western prairies, both from Eastern Canada and from Hudson's Bay. This was the line of impact and of conflict between the two great trading organizations that opened up Western Canada; a conflict only ended by the merger of the Northwest Company and Hudson's Bay Company in 1821. At the mouth of the Assiniboine stood Fort Gibralter, the fortified post of the North-West Company, rebuilt as Fort Garry after the merger. North from Point Douglas was the first agricultural settlement on the prairies, founded in 1812, with altruistic intent, but destined to suffer a decade of violence. On Point Douglas itself was the trading post and village nucleus of this Colony.

The short ninety mile stretch between the U.S. boundary and the south end of Lake Winnipeg, is truly the gateway to the prairies. Through it all railways joining eastern and western Canada had to pass. When, in 1880, the choice fell on historic Point Douglas for the first railway crossing of the Red River, and as the location of the C.P.R. shops and terminals, the future of Winnipeg was assured.

On June 15, 1870 Manitoba was created a province of Canada and on November 8, 1873 Winnipeg was incorporated as a city. Its limits included both the settlement at Point Douglas and the trading post and accessory developments at the mouth of the Assiniboine. The population according to its first assessment numbered 1,869.

In 1878 railway connection to the east was obtained from St. Boniface via Emerson and St. Paul. In 1880 with the organization of the C.P.R., decision was made to build the railway westerly from Winnipeg. When six years later transcontinental service from Montreal to Vancouver commenced, Winnipeg's population was close to 20,000.

By 1914 when the great railway construction era had ended, the population of the city itself had increased ten times to 203,255. Other than for the inclusion of certain park lands, there has been no extension of city boundaries since that date. None the less the City's population increased 25% to 254,612 as of 1958. But the major increase in the urban population had occurred in the adjoining municipalities whose joint population in 1958 was fully 180,000.

But the increase in Greater Winnipeg's population was only symptomatic of the great increase in population of the three prairie provinces, in the golden years of free land and immigration in the fifteen years prior to the first world war. The census figures are as follows.

Population of The Three Prairie Provinces, and all Canada
Year Prairies Canada
1871 61,220 3,689,259
1891 238,500 4,833,239
1911 1,328,120 7,206,643
1931 2,353,530 10,376,786
1951 2,547,770 14,009,429

It was through Winnipeg that all the immigration to the prairies came. Winnipeg was the supply house for all their needs, and in turn the funnel through which all their produce passed.

2. Winnipeg—A Commercial, Manufacturing and Cultural Centre

In the 80-year period that has ensued since the advent of the railways, Winnipeg has built itself up as a great railway terminal and equipment maintenance depot, a great air centre, a major wholesale supply base, a most substantial manufacturing centre, and a major financial one. Clearing house statistics are impressive. Winnipeg ranks next after Toronto and Montreal in the number of cheques cashed at its clearing house.

(9 Mos.)
over 9 Mos.

Cheques Cashed at Top Four of the 35 Clearing House Centres in Canada
Year Toronto Montreal Winnipeg Vancouver
1947 20,210,585,424 20,611,366,139 7,381,392,595 5,321,162,167
1949 24,712,385,631 22,037,124,579 9,186,178,131 6,157,070,811
1951 32,271,836,720 29,184,504,317 10,373,940,214 8,212,945,667
1953 42,579,170,381 34,178,607,458 12,072,971,671 9,790,943,286
1955 55,628,552,603 43,262,348,510 11,294,022,822 10,398,019,050
1957 73,497,633,000 54,937,930,000 13,418,516,000 13,523,017,000
1957 10.0% 3.5% 16.0% -4.8%

As a manufacturing centre Winnipeg has continuously since 1933 ranked sixth among the cities of Canadian gross value of manufactured products, and the same applies to the Metropolitan areas of these cities since such statistics have been developed. This last comparison for the years 1951 and 1952 appears on page 712 of the 1955 Canada Year Book, and is set out overleaf.

Values of Manufactured Products in Metropolitan Cities
Metropolitan Area of Establishments No. of Employees Salaries & Wages Cost of Fuel & Electricity Cost of Materials Gross Value of Prod. 1951. Value of Factory Shipments - 1952
Year 1951
Montreal* 4686 230,603 582,436,046 41,001,307 1,469,058,595 2,616,414,158
Toronto 4466 195,143 543,597,110 24,339,207 1,275,564,909 2,330,355,717
Hamilton 650 62,084 181,760,616 20,922,630 405,198,540 782,021,632
Vancouver 1585 50,809 143,706,862 8,450,470 422,313,553 727,493,246
Windsor 324 35,611 113,817,235 5,601,283 356,932,055 635,639,664
Winnipeg 992 36,578 89,237,598 6,604,181 297,718,672 471,828,715
Year 1952
Montreal* 4883 244,556 668,391,832 42,927,741 1,584,960,418 2,918,119,449
Toronto 4584 196,751 590,274,862 25,521,719 1,248,197,084 2,414,796,814
Hamilton 671 62,657 199,160,901 21,944,130 399,562,543 811,245,985
Vancouver 1614 48,986 150,892,594 8,467,160 376,690,476 672,232,692
Windsor 357 37,414 132,071,266 6,195,414 383,459,223 656,773,394
Winnipeg 995 37,759 97,612,884 5,744,042 288,166,100 478,573,305

* Exclusive of the non ferrous smelting and refining industry.

Comparable Statistics for the Province of Manitoba for 1952 are as follows:
Manitoba 1531 43,365 112,147,572   347,664,650 574,037,212
Winnipeg 651 87.1 87.0   82.9 83.4

From the foregoing table it is apparent that Greater Winnipeg is responsible for the bulk of the manufacturing within the province. The provincial total is classified by industrial groups as under (1955 Canada Year Book—page 692). This division should be fairly typical of the diversity of products of Greater Winnipeg.

Province of Manitoba — 1952
Employees Value of Factory
Food and Beverage 9,941 245,662,067
Leather products 717 5,397,640
Textile products (except clothing) 787 10,725,181
Clothing (textile and fur) 6,298 47,959,463
Paper products 1,364 26,824,474
Printing, publishing, and allied industries 3,856 25,929,483
Iron and steel products 5,243 51,309,495
Transportation equipment 7,754 50,217,104
Non-ferrous metal products 682 16,315,436
Electrical apparatus and supplies 699 8,437,469
Non-metalic mineral products 851 12,498,737
Products of petroleum and coal 552 27,222,765
Chemicals and allied products 726 12,601,574
Miscellaneous industries 565 3,595,979
43,365 574,037,212

But Winnipeg is also much more than a commercial and industrial complex. Its University, colleges, and allied organizations proclaim it also a cultural centre.

Moreover the fabric of the city itself expresses in tangible ways the accomplishments and aspirations of its citizens. Few cities of 150,000 population would have had the course to reach out 100 miles for their water supply, as did Winnipeg. It had only one-fifth that population when its Parks Board was established, but the latter's accomplishments are notable both in their physical form, and also as an expression of the temperament of the citizens.

The Community courage in undertaking the obligations inherent in the provision of civic utilities capable of meeting anticipated needs, and not least in facing emergencies such as that of 1950 is noteworthy, as is also the spirit of cooperation, consistently exhibited, between the various entities of the metropolitan community, as also a pronounced regard for advancing the amenities of city living. "Prudence" holds a central place in the City's motto, and equally in the Community's history and outlook.

3. Future Possibilities

With this background, what of the future? In the first place Winnipeg's geographical location remains unchanged. For many generations yet to come, the vast bulk of east-west movement across Canada must continue to pass south of Lake Winnipeg, that is via Metropolitan Winnipeg, which will certainly remain the focus of all rail and road travel. As a distribution centre for the entire prairies, it is to be expected that Winnipeg in the years ahead will meet with greater competition from other prairie cities, but the development of Manitoba's own north country should bring a greater recompense. For there is every reason to believe that northern Manitoba will prove to be as great a treasure house as has Northern Ontario and Quebec in the limited areas of those provinces that have as yet been more than scratched.

In the Port of Churchill, Manitoba already possesses a developed port, the most southerly natural deep-water harbour on the west side of Hudson Bay. In the interest of Winnipeg and southern Manitoba generally, a firmer welding of the highly dissimilar but none the less mutually dependent north and south parts of the province by more direct road and rail connection, would be highly desirable.

I have read with great interest the report setting out the results of the Economic Survey of Northern Manitoba lately carried out for the Provincial Government by Arthur D. Little, Inc. It is manifest that the Government is giving urgent consideration to this matter of northern development. The extension of the Gypsumville branch of the C.N.R. as proposed in the foregoing report would bring the new mining territory (and the Port of Churchill) 215 miles closer to Winnipeg than is now the case. At the present time Regina is closer by 149 miles than is Winnipeg, to Wekusko, Thompson or Churchill. By the proposed extension to Wekusko, the opposite would be the case by 66 miles.

The development of super-highways and the increasing use of trucks for freight movements is to be expected, both in competition with, and in conjunction with the railways, this latter, in the form of so-called piggy-back operations. Truck movements will be referred to later in this report.


1. Street System

Greater Winnipeg occupies what is practically a level site at the junction of the Assiniboine River with the Red River. General prairie level ranges from a few feet below to a few feet above Elevation 760 feet above sea level, that is, 44 to 49 feet above seasonal levels of Lake Winnipeg, but 32 or so above the level of the Red River at low water at the city's heart.

The street system in the greater city in general conforms in direction with the early division into farm lots of the lands contiguous to the rivers. These farm lots appear to have been laid out at right angles to the general directions of successive portions of these rivers. While the street system is almost everywhere rectangular, its general orientation varies from locality to locality.

Notre Dame Avenue represents the governing direction for all streets on the west side of the river from that avenue northerly and as far back as Keewatin Street, and on the east side of the river from Hespeler Avenue northerly. An exception is the original townsite at Point Douglas between Henry Avenue, King Street and Pritchard Avenue, which manifestly was sub-divided to best conform to the natural shape of the point.

To the south of the Assiniboine River, the orientation of River Avenue and Corydon Avenue is the governing direction on the west side of the Red River as far west as Cambridge Street, and on the east side of the river, southerly from the north limit of St. Vital at Carriere Street.

In the interval between Notre Dame Avenue and the Assiniboine River and extending back to what would appear to have been a travelled road from Portage Avenue to the Pembina Highway (and now represented by Osborne Street), is the best planned area of Winnipeg. Its governing direction is that of a rectified pioneer trail now Main Street.

From this sub-division westerly on the north side of the Assiniboine, and westerly from Cambridge Avenue on the south side, the orientation of the streets is nominally that of the meridian.

St. Boniface, dating from 1818, appears to have been sub-divided in three separate sections each of slightly different orientation though the streets are reasonably continuous.

Outside the area covered by the original river lots, the Dominion Lands system prevails. Its geometric system of road allowances in no way influenced street development within the Metropolitan area.

What is of primary interest in the above is the lack of relationship between the street systems on either side of Notre Dame Avenue, as also at the Assiniboine River, and along the Osborne-Memorial-Balmoral line. A considerable number of street betterments have been made along this last line, and at the Notre Dame Avenue intersections, but local traffic problems will continue to persist along these lines of contact.

Winnipeg is a product of the railway age. From very early in the city's life traffic to the surrounding territory moved by rail. Other than for Main Street along the west bank of the river from the original base of supplies at Lower Fort Garry, and for Portage Avenue paralleling the Assiniboine River and extending that supply line to the west, it has few historic service roads into the countryside around it. The Pembina Highway became a major supply route after the railway from the east reached St. Paul, but with the extension of this rail service to St. Boniface in 1878, the importance of the Pembina Highway lessened, and its course from Osborne Street and Corydon Avenue to Portage Avenue or Main Street appears to have been superseded by a new street system. Kelvin Street and St. Mary's and St. Anne's Roads should be included under this heading, possibly also the Dawson Road.

That is to say there is a very limited system of long established and long recognized major streets. What were formerly carline streets have in a measure attained that status but their choice as carline streets appears more or less fortuitous and based wholly on local considerations at the time.

None the less it should be said that few cities have inherited arterial streets such as Portage Avenue and Main Street, each 132 feet wide. This width came about not due to any foresight for the needs of future traffic, but the immediate need for wagons to keep to unrutted prairie sod to avoid getting mired.

2. Traffic Barriers

As a community that owes its birth and growth to the railways, Greater Winnipeg has had in turn to accept the consequences and has suffered major severances by them. Probably the worst barrier to traffic flow is that occasioned by the C.P.R. Yards. Higgins Avenue crossing is the sole crossing east of Main Street and is 4,500 feet (0.85 miles) distant from it. Westward from Main Street underpass, it is 3,000 feet to the Salter Street viaduct. Arlington Street bridge in turn is 4,000 feet west of Salter Street, and McPhillips Street underpass 2,500 feet west of Arlington Street. The Keewatin Street crossing is 6,300 feet beyond McPhillips Street.

The C.N.R. Fort Rouge Yard, soon to be abandoned (other than the main line track) has a length of 7,500 feet (1.42 miles) with no intermediate crossing.

An even longer barrier to traffic and city expansion is the Winnipeg Airport with a total extent from north to south of three and two thirds miles.

But the major barriers to inter-municipal traffic are the rivers, or rather the limited number of bridges crossing them. The effect of these river barriers is aggravated by the crooked nature of the rivers themselves.

Only five traffic bridges cross the Red River within the precincts of the metropolitan municipalities. One of these, the Elm Park Bridge, is a narrow minor structure. The Redwood Bridge is also only a two-lane structure, but soon to be supplemented by the Disraeli bridge. This last, and the three major existing bridges, the Louise, the Provencher, and the Norwood Bridges, all feed directly into the downtown area, namely the central core of the city between the Assiniboine River and the C.P.R. tracks, and between the Osborne-Memorial-Isabel artery and the Red River.

The Assiniboine River is also crossed by five bridges. That at Main Street carries all the traffic of the Norwood bridge, and in addition a lesser amount of traffic from Fort Rouge. The new Midtown Bridge, and the Osborne Bridge, one of the earliest, carry the major streams of vehicular traffic from Fort Garry and Fort Rouge. All three of these bridges debouch into the aforesaid central core area of the City.

The Maryland Street bridge, next west, is in an essentially residential area and at the south end of a cross town artery, but its traffic movement is also largely directed to and from the central core. The most westerly bridge, the St. James bridge, is greatly overloaded with traffic, serving as it does the whole rapidly developing area to the west on the south side of the river, as well as local traffic to and from the newly built up section of River Heights. Traffic northbound across this bridge is delivered 100% into Portage Avenue, the major part also destined to the central core.

In brief the layout of the major highways, the barriers and the openings through the barriers, all tend to concentrate traffic into the central core area. While this is the destination of the majority, obviously the necessity of persons not interested in travelling through the central core but having to do so in the absence of any alternative, adds to traffic congestion in that area.

3. Street Traffic

The amount of traffic in the central downtown and the substantial amount not primarily interested in that area, is clearly set out in the Wilbur Smith and Associates report of December 1957, to which I am greatly indebted for the traffic statistics included therein. In that report the "cordon area" is that contained within the cordon line represented by Maryland-Sherbrook Streets, the C.P.R., the Red River, and the Assiniboine River.

The business area is that bounded by and including the following streets; Broadway, Colony, Ellice, Hargrave, William, Princess, Alexander, Louise, Rorie, Lombard, Victoria, and the C.N.R.

Movements across the cordon line are summarized in Table II-V. There are over 90,000 passenger car and truck trips daily of which over half (51.5 per cent) have destinations within the cordon area, mainly in the central business district (Page 26-W.S. & A. Report).

A total of 30,827 passenger cars travel across the cordon area between origins and destinations in zones located in surrounding areas within the city and suburban municipalities. These vehicles constitute through trips in the central city, having neither origin nor destination within the cordon area" (Page 28 Idem).

Truck traffic through the cordon area totalled 13,717 trips during the 12-hour survey period (7 A.M. to 7 P.M.)" (Page 28 Idem).

TABLE II — V (Page 28)
Movements across Cordon Line, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Average Day
Passenger Vehicles Trucks Transit Passengers
No. % No. % No. %
Destined to Cordon Area 38,765 55.7 8,426 38.1 62,766 76.2
Central Business District 30,507 43,8 5,510 24.9 51,733 62.7
Other Cordon Area 8,258 11.9 2,936 13.2 11,033 13.5
Passing Through Cordon Area 30,827 44.3 13,717 61.9 19,635 23.8

The above tabular statement setting out the amount of traffic, particularly truck traffic, not interested in the downtown area but routed through it, represents possibly the most fundamental finding of the Wilbur Smith and Associates survey. It is referred to in a later section of this report.

Reference will also be made to Table II-IV of the Wilbur Smith and Associates report, which appears on Page 24 and which is set out below. This is a count of all vehicles in and out of the aforementioned cordon area, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on an average day. Accordingly the great proportion of the actual vehicles included in in-bound traffic, are also included in out-bound traffic.

Summary of Cordon Traffic Movements
(Average Day - 7:00 a.m. \u2013 7:00 p.m.)
Mode of Travel Vehicles % Passengers % Vehicles % Passengers %
Total 100,895 100.0 222,321 100.0 97,860 100.0 218,170 100.0
Passener Cars 73,277 72.6 106,465 47.9 69,592 71.2 103,282 47.3
Trucks 21,274 21.1 27,718 12.4 22,143 22.6 28,819 13.2
Transit 3,208 3.2 82,401 37.1 2,968 3.0 80,274 36.8
Taxis 3,136 3.1 5,737 2.6 3,157 3.2 5,795 2.7

It may be seen from the above counts that passenger cars carried 1.45 persons in-bound and 1.48 out-bound. Trucks carried 1.30 persons in-bound and 1.35 outbound. Taxis carried 1.83 persons in-bound and 1.84 persons out-bound. Presumably in all cases drivers are included.

On the other hand transit buses carried on the average 25.69 persons in-bound and 27.04 outbound.

37.0% of all persons entering or leaving this downtown area were transported with 3.1% of the traffic movements. The 47.6% that travelled by motor car necessitated 71.9% of the traffic movements.

The totals of vehicles and persons entering the cordon area up to any moment, less the numbers counted out-bound, is the number accumulated in the area from the beginning of the count up to that time. The maximum concentration of vehicles, moving or parked within the cordon at any time was at 3 P.M. when the total was 17,485 vehicles. Of these 15,709 were private passenger vehicles, 1,250 were trucks and the remaining 526 about equally divided between transit buses and taxi-cabs.

The accumulation of motor trucks was heaviest at 9.30 A.M. when 1,859 were inside the cordon.

The maximum accumulation of persons in the cordon area occurred at 3:00 P.M. when 88,939 persons were found in the area. Of this total, 36,936 arrived by passenger car, 4,932 by truck, 1,100 by taxi-cab and 45,971 by transit vehicle." (W.S. & A. Reports- Pages 24, 26, etc.).

The above figures clearly indicate the source of congestion in the downtown zone. As indicated in Table II\u2013IV above set out, an automobile movement represents the transportation of only 1.47 persons, a bus movement, the transport of 26.36 persons.

Again of 21,274 total truck entrances to the cordon area 1,250 were within the area at peak hour or 5.9%.

of 3,136 taxi entrances there were about
263 inside at peak hour or 8.4%.
of 3,208 bus entrances there were 263
inside at peak hour or 8,2%.
of 73,277 automobile entrances there were
15,709 inside at peak hour or 21.4%.

It is not likely that more than a comparable 8.4% of these automobiles were in active operation, that is 60% of the private cars inside the area at this trine were parked, or about 9,425.

On Page 36 of their report, Wilbur Smith and Associates state their finding that the maximum accumulation of parked vehicles in the business district totalled about 10,350. Also that this number would be greater, if more parking space were available.

The problem of motor vehicle use in urban areas is the problem of our times. That this problem will intensify in the years ahead is quite to be expected. Metropolitan Toronto already has one motor vehicle for each three persons resident in the Metropolitan area. This ratio may be attained in Winnipeg within 15 years. The essential difficulty in reaching any solution to the motor vehicle problem is that each traffic improvement results only in bringing more vehicles into service. The result is that no highway traffic improvement anywhere has to date been overplanned.

"The great increase in the use of motor vehicles for private transportation has been a dominant factor in the development of traffic problems in the Winnipeg area, as elsewhere. In 1956 there was one automobile to each 5.4 persons in the Greater Winnipeg Area. It is anticipated (that) this ratio may reach one to 3.3 in 1981. At this ratio there would be nearly 225,000 vehicles by 1981, three times the present vehicle registration. The impact of a 200 per cent increase in traffic is difficult to comprehend." W.S. & A. Report—Page 9.

Total vehicle registration as of 1981 is projected at 295,000 or one vehicle for each 2.6 of population (Page 11, Idem).

What is apparent is that the private motor vehicle cannot adequately serve the heavily concentrated business centres of metropolitan cities, but it can, if permitted, stifle them with street congestion and scar them irretrievably with car parking facilities.

4. Present Transit Service

While I interpret my assignment as primarily a study of transit requirements in Winnipeg over the long term, I have in connection therewith given consideration to present transit movements, and have travelled over most of the routes presently operated, primarily to study the development of the metropolitan area, but also to gauge the extent to which it is now serviced with transit, and the sufficiency of same. In my opinion the service presently offered is of high quality both in area covered and in frequency.

Accordingly traffic flow on these transit routes represents the most factual data obtainable as to traffic arterial requirements.

The typical route is a crosstown route, each limb of which divides into two branches after passing out of the area of heavy traffic. Actual crosstown movement is not great, so that essentially each cross town route represents four radial routes of near equivalent traffic weight linked together because of that fact, with primary intent to minimize movements in the downtown. In several instances, in order to adjust service to requirements, the weaker of each pair of branch lines is stubbed at off peak hours, as for example Watt or St. Anne's. Similarly at peak hours some mirror routes terminating in the downtown area are extended to augment other routes where additional service is needed, such as Sherbrook or William.

Route signs at any time indicate the destination to be reached by a specific routing to and through the downtown area.

For the record the existing routes as operated are included as appendix 1 hereto.

To the great majority of Greater Winnipeg residents the streets followed by the various transit routes are known, or at very least the general locations of the sections of the metropolitan area that are served by the several routes. Accordingly the number of passengers paying fares on the various routes provides a realistic indication of major traffic movements. In Table 3-A that appears on Pages 31 and 32 the routes are listed in the order of revenue passengers carried on each during the four week period, August 10th to September 6th, 1958.

Greater Winnipeg Transit Routes in order of Revenue Passengers transported during 4-week period August 10 to September 6, 1958.

Route and Variation Revenue Passengers Accum. Total Total % of
Total 3,960,760 94.18
1. Portage-Mountain or N. Main 978,225 978,225 23.26
2. Kildonan-Academy or Stafford (T.B.) 411,760
3. Corydon-Selkirk 358,835
4. Osborne-McGregor 308,429
5. Ellice-St. Mary's (Conjugate with No. 9) 270,444
6. Talbot (Kent or Grey)-Grant (or Donald) 255,023
7. Wolseley-St. Boniface (Provencher-Tache) 240,210
8. Notre Dame-Logan 214,812
9. Ellice-St. Anne's (Conjugate with No. 5) 123,880
10. Sargent 114,827
11. Salter 109,639 3,386,084 80,52
12. Sherbrook 97,600
13. University 93,775
14. Arlington 90,550
15. Marion 87,977
16. William-Valour 77,135
17. Watt 74,985
18. Crescent-River 52,654

Route and Variation Revenue Passengers Accum. Total Total % of
Total 244,781 5.82
19. Morley-Jubilee 28,594
20. Aulneau
21. Charleswood 23,466
22. Portage West
23. Logan (Gas)
24. Cathedral 18,730
25. Academy-Stafford-Kildonan
26. Specials 17,970
27. Coniston
28. Manitoba
11,353 4,158,639 98.89
29. St. Norbert 10,233
30. Airport 8,782
31. North Kildonan
32. Sanatorium 5,820
33. Aberdeen
34. Archibald 4,910
35. Point Road 4,579
36. Ness (Sunday) 1,278 4,205,541 100.00

The revenue passengers on each transit route as given in the preceding table are computed from the revenue received on each line at a predetermined average fare of 13.3¢ per fare paying passenger. The total revenue from all routes for the four summer weeks was $559,337 representing 4,205,541 passengers.

Midwinter transit riding in Greater Winnipeg attains a level 24 % higher than is experienced in mid-summer. Comparable statistics of total passengers, based on fare receipts as above, for four weeks in January 1958 and the four weeks August 10th to September 6th, 1958 gave this relationship. In the summer period passenger movement on the normal week day (Monday through Friday) was 82.5% of that on normal week day in the winter period.

In the summer period Saturday traffic was only 67.86% of normal week day traffic, as against 82.91% in the wintertime. However, Sunday traffic was 26.34% of normal day traffic during the summer period, as against 25.33% in the winter period. Total traffic in the summer week represented that of 5.94 normal days: in the winter week 6.08 normal days.

Of the 36 routes listed on Table 3-A, the first 18 provide 94.18% of the total revenue riding. The first 11 provide 80.52%. The Portage-Main-Mountain route alone provides 23.26% of the total. This means that not less than 12% of all transit riding in the Winnipeg area is carried on Portage Avenue, west of Memorial Boulevard.

Transit movement on Main Street is even heavier. The three heaviest routes of the system utilize the Main Street subway. This gateway was found by the Wilbur Smith and Associates survey (W.S. & A. Report Pages 40 and 41) to carry the heaviest lead of traffic of any artery in the city, namely a one-way traffic volume northbound in one hour of 1,665 vehicles of all types and 1,575 southbound in one hour. The corresponding figures for Portage Avenue at Memorial Blvd. are 1,230 westbound, and 925 eastbound.

Osborne-Memorial-Isabel-Salter is another very congested thoroughfare, used in various sections by the Osborne, Academy, Stafford, Corydon, University, McGregor and Salter routes, all of which are adversely affected by rush hour vehicle congestion.

A point of very heavy local congestion is on Corydon Avenue at Osborne Street, where the Wilbur Smith and Associates survey found the heaviest one way intersection volume, namely 1,750 vehicles eastbound in one hour, absorbing the full rated practical capacity of the street. At this particular point it carries the full lead of both Corydon Avenue from West Fort Rouge, and that of the Pembina Highway from Fort Garry and beyond.

The solution would appear to be to draw off substantial portions of these traffic flows prior to this meeting point.

The great pressure on the bridge crossings is also shown up by the statistics given in the Wilbur Smith and Associates report on Page 41. In this connection it must he remembered that the capacity of a bridge, as also a highway is for vehicles, and not directly for the number of persons served there by.


1. Population Estimates by Metropolitan Planning Commission of Greater Winnipeg

There is every reason to believe that Metropolitan Winnipeg will see great expansion in area, population, business and wealth in the years ahead. This in view of its strategic position as the gateway between Eastern and Western Canada, its already established position in manufacturing, commerce and finance, and in the cultural attributes of a metropolitan city, and an expanded outlook and economy based on an increasing development of the northern three quarters of the province.

>Following the Dominion Census of 1956 the Metropolitan Planning Commission of Greater Winnipeg made a forecast of the population growth during the ensuing 25 years, in the various municipalities within the Metropolitan Area. This study took into account the likely ability of the various municipalities to provide utility services within that period.

This estimate which appears herein in somewhat different form as 4-A was based on careful study and has been adopted for this report, except that municipal limits have been discarded as a basis of reference in favour of the natural limits created by the Red and Assiniboine rivers. These divide the metropolitan city into three sectors — north-west, southwest, and east.

The embankment of the Canadian National Railway main line parallelling the north limit of St. Boniface, with the undeveloped area contiguous to it, provide (as of to-day) a physical separation between the north and south parts of the east sector.

Estimated Population Distribution in Greater Winnipeg
(On Basis of Study by Metropolitan Planning Commission, 1957)
  1956 (Census) 1961 1971 1981
North West Sector
Winnipeg 177,825 183,000 190,000 196,000
Brooklands 3,950 4,000 4,000 4,000
St. James 26,240 30,500 31,000 31,500
West Kildonan 15,149 21,500 23,000 24,500
Old Kildonan 1,011 1,500 5,000 10,000
Assiniboia 3,556 5,400 15,000 40,000
277,731 245,900 268,000 306,000
Rosser (part) 1,100 1,500 3,000 5,000
228,831 247,400 271,000 311,000
Per cent of Metro. 55.7 53.0 45.3 40.6
South West Sector
Winnipeg 62,650 66,000 72,000 76,000
Fort Garry 13,491 22,000 45,000 68,000
Tuxedo 1,158 2,000 5,000 10,000
Charleswood 4,979 7,500 18,000 40,000
  82,278 97,500 140,000 194,000
Per Cent of Metro. 20.0 20.9 23.4 25.4
East Sector
Winnipeg (Elmwood) 16,200 17,000 17,000 17,000
East Kildonan 18,588 22,000 22,000 23,000
North Kildonan 4,428 6,600 20,000 40,000
Transcona 8,269 11,000 20,000 30,000
Total North Part 47,485 56,600 79,000 110,000
St. Boniface 28,636 35,000 54,000 75,000
St. Vital 23,557 30,000 54,000 75,000
Total South Part 52,193 65,000 108,000 150,000
  99,678 121,600 187,000 260,000
Per Cent of Metro. 24.3 26.1 31.3 34.0
Metropolitan Area 410,787 466,500 598,000 765,000
Ratio of Growth 100 113.6 145.7 185.3

While the total metropolitan population is estimated to increase by 354,213 to 765,000 in 1981 or 85.3% in the 25 year period, the percentage of the population estimated as residing in the northwest sector is reduced from 55.7% of the whole as in 1956 to 40.6% in 1981. The southwest sector will increase its proportion of the total during that period from 20.0% to 25.4%, as will the east sector from 24.3% to 34.0%. The largest actual increase in population in any area is expected in this east sector, namely 160,000 divided 62,000 in the north part, and 98,000 in the south part. The increase expected for the northwest sector is 82,000 and for the southwest sector 112,000.

About 45% of the total increase in population of the metropolitan area in the next 25 years will be found on the east side of the Red River, and sixty per cent of that increase will reside adjacent to or south of the Trans-Canada Highway and Fermor Ave.

2. Outward Spread of Population

Greater Winnipeg in spite of the physical barriers created by the rivers, railway yards, airport, etc., is for almost every purpose a single community with downtown Winnipeg its accepted centre. The intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street is still nominally rated the centre of the greater city, though the retail centre is a half mile or so farther west. Indeed if a circle of 4 miles radius is described with its centre at Portage Avenue and Main Street, it encloses the domiciles of 361,000 persons, or 87.9% of the 410,800 population of the Greater Winnipeg Area as of 1956. The 49,800 persons residing beyond this circle of that year, were distributed as follows in Table 4-B.

Table IV — B
1956 Population outside 4-mile Circle
23,700 resided to the west in areas tributary to Portage Avenue of which 5,700 were on the south side of the Assiniboine River.
6,800 resided to the south in areas tributary to Pembina Highway of which 200 were in Tuxedo, the balance in Fort Garry.
7,700 resided to the southeast in St. Vital in areas tributary to St. Mary's and St. Anne's Roads.
8,300 resided to the east in Transcona and vicinity.
2,000 resided to the northeast in areas tributary to the Henderson Highway and Birds Hill Road.
400 resided to the north in Old Kildonan.
900 resided to the northwest in Brooklands and adjacent Rosser.

The four mile circle is a purely arbitrary limit. It does however enclose most of the fully developed area. This circle intersects Portage Avenue at Sackville Street in St. James; Tuxedo Avenue at Corydon Avenue; Pembina Highway at Waller Avenue Fort Garry; St. Mary's Road at Oustic Avenue in St. Vital; Nairn Road at Regent Avenue in Transcona; Henderson Highway at McKay Avenue in North Kildonan; Main Street at Seaforth Avenue in West Kildonan; McPhillips Street 400 feet south of Leila Avenue in West Kildonan; Carruthers Avenue at Conkling Street at Winnipeg City Limit; the north limit of Brooklands just west of Rosser Road; Barry Avenue at Linwood Street in St. James.

2. (a) Of the total population increase of 354,213 anticipated between 1956 and 1981, the increase within and outside the above 4 mile circle, based on the aforesaid projections of the Metropolitan Planning Commission, will be about as follows in Table 4-C.

Increase in Population 1956 to 1981
  Total Increase Inside 4 Mile Circle Outside 4 Mile Circle
North West Sector
Winnipeg 18,175 15,175 3,000
Brooklands 50 50
St. James 5,260 5,260
West Kildonan 9,350 9,350
Old Kildonan 8,990 4,495 4,495
Assiniboia 36,445 36,445
Rosser 3,900 900 3,000
South West Sector
Winnipeg 13,350 10,680 2,670
Fort Garry 54,510 5,450 49,060
Tuxedo 8,840   8,840
Charleswood 35,020   35,020
East Sector
Winnipeg 800 800
East Kildonan 4,410 4,410
North Kildonan 35,575 5,340 30,235
Transcona 21,730 2,170 19,560
St. Boniface 46,365 9,270 37,095
St. Vital 51,443 2,030 49,213
Total Increase 25 Years 354,213 70,120 284,093
Total Population 1956 410,800 361,000 49,800
Total Population 1981 765,000 431,100 333,900

2. (b) Of the 70,000 population increase within the 4 Mile Circle between 1956 and 1981, substantial concentrations are expected along the outer fringe in areas zoned for residential use but not as yet fully developed, distributed about as follows:

25-Year Population Increase within 4-mile Circle
25,000 in the Inkster-McPhillips locality
12,000 in the east sector north of the C.N.R. mainline
10,000 in the east sector in the Windsor Park zone of St. Boniface and in St. Vital
15,000 in South Winnipeg and Fort Garry in the Pembina Highway Zone

 The residual 8,000 population increase would be widely scattered throughout the developed area. 2. (c) The estimated twenty-five year increase in population outside the 4-mile Circle of 284,000 will, it is expected, be distributed about as follows:

25 Year Population Increase Outside 4-Mile Circle
In area tributary to Portage Avenue (Winnipeg, Tuxedo, Charleswood, Assiniboia, St. James) 88,230
In area tributary to Pembina Highway (Fort Garry) 49,800
In area tributary to St. Mary's and St. Anne's Roads (St. Vital, St. Boniface) 86,500
In area tributary to Nairn Avenue, Watt St. etc. (Transcona, North Kildonan) 49,060
In area tributary to McPhillips Street (Old Kildonan, Rosser) 10,500

Tables 4-B, 4-C and 4-D combined represent the total population outside the 4-Mile Circle, together with concentrations of new population within the circle and contiguous to it. This summation is shown as Table 4-F. Conditions are such in Winnipeg that specific sections of the population will have only one normal direct route of access to the downtown. Relatively few will have equally satisfactory alternative routes available to them. Greater Winnipeg is essentially a radial development.

Additional Populations by 1981 outside or contiguous to the 4-Mile Circle
Data from Table McPhillips Locality Henderson Nairn Locality St.  Mary's Locality Pembina Locality Portage Locality
Total 36,800 71,360 104,200 71,600 111,930
4-B 1,300 10,300 7,700 6,800 23,700
4-C 10,500 49,060 86,500 49,800 88,230
4-D 25,000 12,000 10,000 15,000

The above indicate major centres of new traffic concentration on the 4 mile cordon around the city. That Portage Avenue is the heaviest of these is not a surprise. That the vicinity of St. Anne's - St. Mary's Roads and the Trans-Canada Highway will be almost as heavy is probably more unexpected. The equivalent weights of the traffic concentrations in the Elmwood and in the Fort Garry zone are also interesting.

It is also to be remembered that the traffic represented by these population figures is very largely new traffic that would be superimposed upon existing traffic. Only the populations drawn from Table 4-B were actual as of 1956.

3. Recommendation

It is manifest that existing arterial streets and surface transit facilities will be greatly overtaxed by 1981, and as regards Portage Avenue at least ten years prior to that date.. The limited number of main arterial roads in Metropolitan Winnipeg will become increasingly apparent; particularly if dependence were to be placed on the private automobile as the basic transportation medium. It is my recommendation that the Metropolitan Community adopt in principle the development of a basic system of rapid transit subways as the primary solution to the transit and traffic problems.


1. Significant Features

The foregoing recommendation that Greater Winnipeg seek the primary solution of its ever increasing traffic problem in a basic service of "Rapid Transit" entails a clear explanation as to what is meant by that expression. It is the North American term for a type of transportation designed for a metropolitan city where distances are extended and/or street congestion severe. Primarily it implies a system of public transportation operating on its own fully grade-separated right of way. This factor permits the use of types of equipment and methods of operation that provide great passenger carrying capacity and permit much higher overall speeds than are possible under best conditions on the street surface.

Provided that grade separation is attained, rapid transit can be provided in the open air at ground level, or in depressed cut, or elevated on embankment or structure, and operated with conventional vehicles operating on rails, or straddling a single rail, or suspended from a single rail or a pair of rails. Or it can be provided underground in tunnel structure, designed and constructed in various ways, with car equipment of various types travelling on rails, or as yet may prove practicable, on rubber tires.

Rapid transit lines can also be of two types, according to their purpose. One type, more properly classed as express commuter service, is intended primarily to connect heavy concentrations of population five, ten, or twenty miles away with the central city. Intermediate stops at best are one to two miles apart permitting overall speeds of 30 miles an hour, or better.

The other type, such as exemplified in Paris or Toronto and herein proposed for Winnipeg, is designed to replace to the maximum degree possible, surface transit within the congested downtown zones. These rapid transit lines would operate as an integral part of the transit system with full transfer privileges between rapid transit lines and surface bus or trolleybus lines. Rapid transit stations would be located at reasonable intervals to accommodate transfer movements, and to serve the area traversed. Where two rapid transit lines crossed they would be at different levels, and completely grade separated but the station platforms of the two lines would be interconnected for the free interchange of passengers. The various rapid transit lines that might eventuate in the downtown area would be located to equalize transit service throughout the area rather than unduly concentrate it at one terminal.

There are many matters that must be considered in projecting a rapid transit line, such as:— present, and likely future traffic movements; anticipated growth of the community and its best planning; matters of natural and man-made geography; matters related to climatology; matters relative to underground utilities and soil conditions; engineering problems of permissible grade, curvature, etc.; operating requirements relative to station locations, turn-backs, yard and shop facilities, etc.; and economic operation in general of both the rapid transit facility and a coordinated residual surface system, etc. Always desirable, other things being equal, is a location that will permit construction methods that will minimize traffic disturbance during construction.

Some of these matters are referred to at greater length in subsequent sections. All the above and various ancillary matters have been considered at this time in sufficient measure to be assured of the desirability and practicability of the three routes proposed in the section following.

2. Rapid Transit Proposals for Winnipeg

The routes described in general terms hereunder (and always subject to refinement and adjustment) constitute a system of rapid transit subways, complete in itself, but capable of being constructed and economically operated in stages as later referred to, as also capable of being further extended and amplified in future years.

A. Portage— North Main — Mountain

From the vicinity of Queen Street in St. James, via Portage Avenue, Main Street, Mountain Avenue or adjoining streets to McPhillips Street. Length, 7.00 miles.

B. Osborne — Chalmers

From St. Anne's Road in St. Vital via Kingswood Avenue to Killarney Avenue, thence diagonally to Osborne Street at Churchill Drive, thence via Osborne Street, Memorial Boulevard, Balmoral Street, Colony Street to Notre Dame Avenue; thence by alternative alignments to Powers Street at Sutherland Avenue; thence northeasterly to Main Street near Redwood Avenue, then passing under the Red River and continuing easterly under Chalmers Avenue to Grey Street, and thence to Nairn Avenue near Kent Street. Length, 8.40 miles.

C. Pembina — William

From McGillivray Boulevard, via Pembina Highway to Mason Avenue, curving easterly into the line of Arnold Avenue and following that street to Fisher Street, then curving northerly into a tangent under the Red River, and following under Monck Avenue and St. Mary's Road to Marion Street, thence on tangent under the Red and Assiniboine Rivers to Main Street, south of Broadway Avenue, following Main Street to Bannatyne Avenue, thence curving northwesterly into William Avenue, following that street to Tecumseh Street, thence westerly to Notre Dame Avenue at McPhillips Street, thence to Keewatin Street. Length, 7.75 miles.

Total Length of 3 lines, 23.15 miles.

Briefly the locations of these routes are designed to:

  1. Provide the inhabitants of Greater Winnipeg with a basic system of transport throughout the metropolitan area, of assured regularity, capacity, comfort and speed, and freedom from the onus of a private vehicle in city congestion.
  2. Provide a rapid transit system of a few reasonably balanced routes likely to best satisfy the passenger requirements and produce maximum economy of operation.
  3. Remove from the street surface, to the maximum degree possible, the traffic generated by the create concentrations of new population expected by 1981, contiguous to and beyond the four mile circle with centre at Portage Avenue and Main Street, which traffic would otherwise further congest the downtown streets.
  4. Provide assured rapid transit service, under all conditions of traffic and weather, within two thousand feet from every part of the business centre, with ready transfer to other rapid transit lines and distributor bus lines.
  5. Reduce to the maximum degree practical, surface transit traffic on the three heaviest travelled arteries in Metro Winnipeg—Portage Avenue, Main Street, Osborne-Memorial-Isabel.
  6. Provide improved transit service from all sections of the metropolitan area to the new industrial areas in St. James and South Winnipeg, as also to assured industrial development in St. Boniface and Transcona.
  7. Provide four additional gateways of great capacity through the barrier created by the Red River, available to all sections of the public.
  8. Stabilize the central business area, save it from decay, and preserve its wealth and taxable values.

3. Further Considerations Relative to Routes

The form of routing proposed places a rapid transit line adjacent to both the west and east sides of the downtown area in order to better serve what is now, and is expected to continue to be, the central business area. Upon this central area are focussed six rapid transit lines from the various sections of the metropolitan area. These are linked into three crosstown lines. The various lines cross each other at five points, the passenger platforms at these free transfer stations being directly one above the other with connecting escalators. At almost every station on the above lines, free transfer to one or more surface distributor and collector routes will be available.

The Portage-North Main-Mountain line, likely first to be built in part at least, follows the itinerary of the heaviest present transit route, and one that has existed from the earliest days of transit in Winnipeg. The development of Assiniboia and the barrier created by the airport will combine to place a tremendous lead on Portage Avenue.

The Osborne-Chalmers line is designed, interalia, to break through, with high capacity facilities, the barriers to metropolitan cohesion and interchange, created by the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. In its central portion it supplements the important Osborne-Isabel crosstown artery which has far from adequate capacity for present traffic, let alone for the traffic the future is certain to place upon it. The areas south of the Trans-Canada Highway in both St. Boniface and St. Vital appear destined as the sites of heavy residential concentrations, for which the only present outlet is St. Mary's Road and Norwood Bridge. The proposed Osborne subway provides the means to siphon off whatever part of this traffic has no primary interest in St. Boniface or the Norwood bridge, with advantage to all concerned. A similar situation of increased traffic to and from the central city, is certain to occur in the Elmwood segment of the Metropolitan Area, with increased population in North and East Kildonan and in Transcona. Great increase in the industrial life of St. Boniface is to be expected with the opening of the C.N.R. Symington yards and the ancillary development that they will bring about. Feeder bus service from either end of this Osborne-Chalmers subway, would be the quickest most direct route to this development, from all the west-bank area. The direction of any extension of the south limb would be toward this industrial nucleus.

The Pembina-William subway is designed to serve the great population increase anticipated for Fort Garry and the southerly part of Fort Rouge, as also movement to and from the University where great expansion in attendance is expected in the next decade.

By transfer to the Osborne line direct access from Fort Garry is obtained to the westerly section of the downtown, as also to St. Vital and south St. Boniface. The two stations on this line in St. Boniface provide the greater part of residential St. Boniface with rapid transit service to all parts of the metropolitan city, traversing south Main Street this subway serves an area of great importance in former years, and of great immediate promise for general commercial and business development.

At Lombard Station there will be direct transfer to the Portage Avenue line, and to the North Main-Mountain line. At Isabel Street or vicinity there will be a second crossing of the Osborne-Chalmers line. The extension up William Avenue should expedite development in this area. The subway will serve the Health Centre and the great concentration of industrial plants at the upper end of Notre Dame Avenue, as also the considerable residential area tributary to Keewatin Street. The three rapid transit lines above described total 23.15 miles of two-way structure. The peak capacity of this six branch system would be 240,000 passengers per hour for peak movements inbound or outbound, or the equivalent capacity of thirty radial six-lane expressways. Nor, in the case of a subway program, would there be any diminution of business area, or diminishment of assessable values.

The Wilbur Smith and Associates survey in 1957 found that 82,400 persons entered the cordon area by transit vehicle in 12 hours and 80,000 persons left the area. As a general relationship applicable in most cities, about one quarter of the daily movement inbound occurs in the peak 60 minutes of the A.M. peak and about one-quarter of the daily outbound movement in the peak 60 minutes of the evening peak. That is to say present peak traffic would represent less than 10% of the absolute traffic capacity of the above rapid transit system. That of course is on the basis of eight car trains approximately 500 feet long, operating at the minimum practical interval of about 2 minutes. By widening the interval and decreasing the number of cars per train, service can be adjusted to meet actual requirements.

On the basis of the population increasing as anticipated, namely to 765,000 in 1981, it would be highly desirable to have the system as above outlined in operation by that date, in which event, in my opinion, transit traffic would be at least 2 ½ times what it is at this time under present conditions of impeded movement.

Such a program of construction would approximate a rate of about one mile per year. However a four mile section is about the minimum desirable for economic operation, but subsequent extensions of lesser length can be added.

4. Car Maintenance and Storage Facilities

A necessity for any operation is access to a car storage and maintenance yard and this generally governs the length and location of the first section of any line, and also to a lesser degree of subsequent sections. To avoid any extensive length of non-revenue subway structure, a car yard should be located close to operating track. Complete grade separation for opposing train movements is most desirable.

A very acceptable site for a main car yard and maintenance shops would be that presently occupied by the C.N.R. Fort Rouge shops, where direct access would be available from both the Osborne and Pembina subways, but not meanwhile from the Portage line, which will require its own car storage and maintenance facilities, temporarily if not permanently.

For maintenance purposes and general flexibility of operations, all subway tracks should be interconnected.

This can be an expensive matter if complete grade separation of opposing movements is to be maintained. The Portage line will cross the Osborne line twice. A single track right hand curve at each of these intersections would provide the essential connection.

5. Stage Program of Construction

There seems little question but that the first line to be built and placed in operation would be that on Portage Avenue and a section of North Main Street to a point beyond the C.P.R. overpass. A reasonable stage program might be as set out below, the termini being the stations located at the streets mentioned.


1st Stage — Portage \u2013 North Main Line
Queen St. (St. James) to Redwood Avenue 4.55 miles
2nd Stage — Osborne Line
Arnold Avenue to Notre Dame Avenue 2.50 miles
3rd Stage — Osborne Line
Notre Dame Avenue to Kelvin Street 2.40 miles
4th Stage — Osborne Line
Arnold Avenue to St. Anne's Road 1.80 miles
5th Stage — Osborne Line
Kelvin Street to Nairn Avenue 1.70 miles
6th Stage — Portage \u2013 North Main Line
Redwood Avenue via Mountain Avenue
(or St. John's Avenue) to McPhillips Street 2.45 miles
7th Stage — Pembina \u2013 William Line
Arnold Avenue and Daly Street (Fort Rouge Shops)
to Isabel Street (Kate Street) 3.75 miles
8th Stage — Pembina \u2013 William Line
Daly Street to McGillivray Boulevard 1.80 miles
9th Stage — Pembina \u2013 William Line
Isabel Street to Keewatin Street \u2013 Elgin Avenue 2.15 miles
23.15 miles

Some change in order of the 5th to 9th stages would be possible depending on relative needs following completion of Stage 4.


1. Portage-Main Subway

The initial section of rapid transit subway proposed for Winnipeg would follow Portage Avenue from Queen Street in St. James to Main Street and thence via Main Street to Redwood Avenue. This conforms with what is presently, and appears altogether likely to continue to be, the line of the two heaviest streams of traffic within the Winnipeg area. The west arm of this Subway would serve all the traffic moving to and from the city centre from or to St. James, Assiniboia, Tuxedo and Charleswood. With the construction of the proposed bridge at Waverley Street, a large proportion of the traffic originating in or destined to the River Heights section of the city, could be routed via the subway with advantage to the passengers. All the heavily populated area of the city between the Assiniboine River and Ellice Avenue would also be advantaged in some degree.

To the North Main Street arm could be directed the great bulk of the traffic moving to and from the downtown from north of Mountain Avenue on the west side of the Red River, and for an initial period that from East and North Kildonan on the east side. Also the areas served by the Selkirk line and the Talbot line would be advantaged materially.

This Portage-Main subway would cross the future Osborne-Chalmers subway at Memorial Boulevard and again at Redwood Avenue, and the future Pembina-William subway at Lombard Avenue.

In all cases the Portage-Main line would occupy the upper level in the joint stations at these points. Passenger platforms would be interconnected to facilitate transfer movements.

This station at Lombard Avenue herein referred to as Lombard Station would be located on Main Street in the north half of that street, extending north from the north limit of Lombard Avenue to the south limit of Bannatyne Avenue. The upper level platform and tracks would be directly above those on the lower level. Stairs and escalators would provide direct connection between the platforms and also to the mezzanine level above, providing access from and egress to the street.

The location of this station is determined by the opportunity presented for this needed transfer facility. Immediately north of this station the low level tracks curve northwesterly to reach William Avenue. Immediately south of the station the upper level tracks curve southwesterly to follow under Portage Avenue. The curves on both lines are of 450 feet radius. This is a practical radius, but the minimum desirable and compulsory in the circumstances. Even with this minimum radius curve the Portage-Main subway will encroach under the building at the north west corner of that intersection, and will be close against the south limit of Portage Avenue at Fort Street. From here it will bevel back to normal position in about the centre of the north half of Portage Avenue, on a long diagonal extending beyond Smith Street.

There are a lesser number of utility services to be taken care of on the north side of Portage Avenue than on the south side. It is believed that the subway structure will be at such depth between Main Street and Donald Street as not to require changing the position or grade line of any utility service, and as well permit construction by tunnelling (other than at stations) if found desirable. The matter of side or centre platforms is also largely determined by the method of construction adopted.

Memorial station will be a transfer point to and from the Osborne-Chalmers subway, which will pass below the Portage subway. The station on the latter would be centered about on the east line of Memorial Boulevard, and its mezzanine would be east of this street line. It will be possible to get access underground from the south side of Portage Avenue without disturbing the grade line of the 36" sewer in the centre of that street.

The Mezzanine on the Osborne line will likely be located on the west side of Memorial Boulevard and south of Portage Avenue, with sub-surface connection to the east side of the Boulevard. There would also be connection between the unpaid areas of the two mezzanines. There will be free transfer access between the platforms of these stations.

The stations on the two subways should be designed as a unit, with each capable of being constructed separately. It might, however be desirable to provide extra re-inforcement in the floor of the Portage subway to facilitate the construction of the Osborne line at a later date. Westward from Memorial Boulevard no special problems are anticipated in connection with the Portage subway other than the decreasing depth from ground surface to top of hardpan between Memorial Boulevard and St. James Street, namely from 48 feet at the former to 36 feet at the latter. This last depth however still provides adequate depth to construct the subway without abnormal disturbance of utilities. Also it may prove desirable to seek an off-street alignment to underpass the Canadian Pacific and Midland Railways at their overpass of Portage Avenue. This deviation might also be incorporated in the arrangement arrived at for lead tracks to a car storage yard in the vicinity.

Feeding trains into service or removing them from service, requires a sequence of operation, prompt, positive and safe. For all three reasons complete grade separation of opposing train movements is most desirable. The full distance between two stations centered 2,100 feet apart at minimum is required for a single track wye from each direction, if complete grade separation is to be maintained. Yard access is one of the intrusive factors that govern station spacing. The location of a yard to service the Portage line is one matter that must be decided on in the first stages of construction planning.

The extension of the Portage Avenue subway beyond Queen Street is to be expected at some future date, but this will also be contingent upon the construction of a traffic bridge across the Assiniboine River at some point immediately west of Assiniboine Park.

2. Main Street and Main Interceptor Sewer

A major consideration in locating a subway under Main Street is the position both laterally and vertically of the 6'6" main interceptor sewer under this street. Fortunately there appears to be no necessity to disturb this main sewer in any way.

This sewer enters Main Street at Broadway Avenue and from that street to Henry Avenue is located under the east pavement of Main Street. The proposed Pembina-William subway will be fairly centrally located on the west half of this 132 foot street and will pass below the interceptor sewer at Broadway Avenue. Rail level will be about 46 feet below pavement level. This is also a desirable position in order to pass under the Assiniboine and Red Rivers as is proposed. Also this subway will occupy the lower level of the Lombard Station, and so in normal course will be low-level throughout its extent on Main Street. (Low level is 15 to 20 feet below high level position).

The main interceptor sewer keeps within the east half of Main Street until about 50 feet north of Henry Avenue, when it veers westerly, crossing Main Street diagonally to pass through the C.P.R. overpass under the centre roadway, the top of the sewer being about 14 feet below pavement level at the lowest point of the underpass. From this point north the interceptor sewer keeps within the west half of Main Street.

From Portage Avenue northward to Henry Avenue the Portage-Main subway will be located in the west half of Main Street at high level grade. A few modifications to local sewers may be found necessary in normal course.

Main Street bends slightly westerly at Henry Avenue and again at Higgins Avenue. Assuming the subway alignment between William Avenue and Henry Avenue were continued straight ahead it would intersect the east limit of Main Street 100 feet or so north of Higgins Avenue. It would cross the interceptor sewer where it is at such depth (its top 28 feet below pavement level) that the subway could pass above it and still leave the standard 8-foot clearance for utility services. It would also be possible for the subway to overpass the sewer, and then by the use of maximum grades to pass through the C.P.R. overpass keeping below pavement level. However this is an undesirable solution.

The width of any present opening under the overpass is not sufficient for a double track subway tube. A single track tube, could be located under the east roadway and another in the strip east of the east sidewalk, but this last would interfere with any future widening of this underpass to the full width of the street, as appears to have been provided for in the original plans. Also for the subway to dip sharply down to keep below roadway level through this underpass would inhibit the placing of a station at Higgins Avenue, which is a logical location.

The desirable solution is for the subway to undercross the railway in an underground easement, immediately east of the street allowance, with the roof of the subway 12 feet or so below Higgins Avenue pavement. This would permit a station to be placed with its north end at the north side of Higgins Avenue.

The subway would be back under Main Street immediately north of the overpass, and from there north occupy a position in the east half of the street to Redwood Station which would be its initial terminus. On its extension it will overcross the interceptor sewer again in the vicinity of Mountain Avenue. This sewer will also be either overcrossed or undercrossed south of Redwood Avenue by the Osborne-Chalmers subway as will appear most desirable on detailed study of the Redwood Station arrangements.

3. Utility Services

The great number and diversity of utility services occupying positions at various depths across the width of the streets, as also the need to allow for same where not already installed, renders it advantageous, if not necessary, to keep the roof of the subway at least 8 feet below street surface, and at least 5 feet deeper if the majority of the sewers are to be underpassed. This means that platform level is normally about 25 feet below surface level and a minimum of 30 feet below if underground mezzanine or cross passages have to be provided. As this depth makes the use of escalators desirable, an extra five or ten feet of depth is of minor account to subway passengers. This extra depth may however make construction by tunnelling desirable provided subsoil conditions are favourable. That this last is the case in Winnipeg was indicated in the construction of the main interceptor sewer, of which substantial sections were built by this method with substantial economies.

4. Subsoil Conditions in Winnipeg

The following description of subsoil conditions in the Winnipeg area is drawn almost verbatim from a paper by A. W. Fosness, A.M.E.I.C. Designing Engineer for Carter, Halls, Aldinger Company of Winnipeg, published in the Engineering Journal of December 1926.

Bedrock is a hard limestone 50 to 75 feet below prairie level averaging about 60 feet in the central business area. It is covered with a thin (18") layer of decomposed limestone. Above this is a glacial deposit composed of boulders of granite and limestone in a mixture of sand, glacial clay and ground up limestone dust, making a mixture practically as impervious as the clay above. This deposit varies greatly in thickness, but generally runs from 5 to 10 feet thick. Locally it is referred to as "hardpan." It can be readily excavated though not as easily as the clay strata above it.

Above the hardpan is a thin layer of soft white clay of a somewhat different character than the blue clay above and containing considerable water. Above this to the surface of the ground is clay deposited on the bottom of old Lake Agassiz. The top few feet of this clay is surface soil and yellow clay running gradually into brown clay, and as a rule at a depth of from 8 to 13½ feet there is a sharply defined band of yellow clay about six inches thick; nine feet is about the standard depth through the business part of the city. This band of yellow clay runs over the entire Winnipeg district except in places along the rivers where the soil has been washed out to a lower level and silt deposited. This streak of yellow clay has been the curse of many of the old foundations in this district.

From this point down to the white clay above the hardpan is a fairly firm clay locally called blue clay. This blue clay although it contains a fairly high percentage of moisture is practically impervious to the passage of water through it. This bed of blue clay is usually about 40 feet thick. In some parts of the city this blue clay is streaked with brown clay for a considerable depth. At the Hudson's Bay building site considerable brown clay was mixed with the blue to a depth of 25 feet in some places.

5. Depths to Hardpan

The City Engineer's Department has prepared admirable maps showing by contours the elevation of the surface of the ground and the top of hardpan from best information available. In the table following are the elevations read from these maps for various points in the City.

Elevations of the Ground and of Top of Hardpan at Various Street Intersections, as read from Contour Maps prepared by the City Engineers' Department.

  Elevation of
Elevation of
Approx. Depth
to Hardpan
Portage Ave. at St. James St. 768 732 36
Portage at Valour Rd. 765 726 39
Portage at Arlington St. 763 718 45
Portage at Memorial Blvd. 761 712.5 48.5
Portage at Main St. 762 710 52
Main St. at Alexander Ave. 761 708 53
Main St. at Higgins Ave. 761 710 51
Main St. at Selkirk Ave. 760 711 49
Main St. at Redwood Ave. 759 704 55
Mountain Ave. at Powers St. 759 713 46
Mountain Ave. at McPhillips 760
Osborne St. at Jubilee Ave. 761 715 46
Osborne St. at Morley Ave. 762 712 50
Osborne St. at Corydon Ave. 761 714.5 46.5
Osborne St. at Assiniboine River 758 712 46
Osborne St. at Broadway 760 712 48
Isabel St. at Notre Dame Ave. 761 719 42
Isabel St. at Logan Ave. 760 709 51
Dufferin Ave. at Powers St. 760 710 50
St. John's Park at Red River 754 713 41
    (727 at waters edge)
Chalmers Ave. at Kelvin St. 751 718 33
Chalmers Ave. at Watt St. 758 713 45
Pembina Hwy. at Jubilee Ave. 762 714 48
Pembina Hwy. at Weatherdon Ave. 761 717 44
Main St. at River Ave. 754 718 36
William Ave. at King St. 761 710 51
William Ave. at Sherbrook St. 763 719 44
William Ave. at McPhillips St. 761 719 42
Notre Dame Ave. at Saskatchewan Ave. 761 717 44
Notre Dame Ave. at Keewatin St. 763

6. River Crossings

Prairie level in Metropolitan Winnipeg averages about 760 feet above sea level, the maximum and minimum elevations of same within the city limits being 10 feet higher or lower than the above average. Summer water level of the Red River at the Provencher bridge with the water held back by the lock gates at Lockport is 734.1. With the locks open the water falls to 726.4. During the 1950 flood, the water level rose to 757.87 or 30.3 feet above city datum (727.57) which was the level of the ice in this vicinity in 1876.

As previously indicated, rail level (3'6" below platform level) will be 25 feet to 35 feet below ground level, or at best 10 feet above river level at low water. The length of grade required to underpass the river or to bridge it above high water level is about the same. To ascend to above surface level would necessitate the closing of several cross streets in each instance. Also an open portal close to the river might be a hazard in the event of a recurrence of high water. The approaches to these bridges would have to be watertight to well above high water mark. For these reasons under crossings of the rivers are proposed, even though the total length required for these crossings may be slightly longer.

It would appear that the beds of the rivers are in hardpan. It is tentatively assumed that these subway crossings would be carried in concrete tubes constructed in channels cut into the solid rock with the roof of the subway eight feet or so below the bed of the river. It is presumed this construction would be carried out during the winter season when the rivers could be confined to half their normal channel widths.

7. Off Street Right of Way

Consideration has been given to high level subway on private right of way either in open cut or enclosed box structure, as an alternative to a location under the public street.

By the very nature of things rapid transit subways normally parallel heavily travelled arteries. Where these streets are narrow, and parallel streets are not available to which traffic can be diverted during construction, a parallel off-street alignment may prove a desirable solution, particularly if the area is ripe for redevelopment, and a right of way close at hand can be obtained relatively cheaply and early construction is a certainty.

First subway construction in Winnipeg will almost certainly parallel Portage Avenue and Main Street. These are streets the like of which few cities can boast. Conditions look favourable for tunnelling, but cut and cover construction on these wide streets is possible without too seriously discommoding traffic, and whether construction were to start next year or ten years hence. There are certain stretches along the Osborne-Isabel line where an off street alignment might be considered, but there appears no imminent likelihood of any drastic change in conditions at these particular points, that would block this alternative. Where certain present proposals show the subway running diagonal to the street system it is believed that construction in these approximate positions can be by tunnelling with no disturbance to existing buildings or surface rights. There would be some compensation payable for underground rights, but even if such, in specific instances, entailed the purchase of the property, the price paid could be largely recovered on resale subject to underground easement.

Lastly any off street locations herein proposed are preliminary only. Instrumental surveys and additional data re underground conditions at specific locations will be necessary before the extent of the need for any private property can be determined.

8. Stations and Station Spacing

The type of rapid transit as herein proposed for Winnipeg calls for stations at fairly frequent intervals. Stations at mile intervals would be of small advantage to any city below the 3,000,000 population class in which heavy concentrated traffic moved over very extended distances, and where a more local rapid transit service was also provided.

It is of course the fact that frequency of stops is the controlling factor on overall speed. Besides the time spent at stations, the trains only average half their possible speed while accelerating from rest to top speed, and also while decelerating to rest at the next stop. If stations are too closely spaced, the trains may never reach full speed before they must start decelerating for the next station stop.

On the other hand, if stations are too far apart, passengers are inconvenienced, that is, the economic utility of the service is affected. While speed is an important element of service, it is only one of a great number of factors which together create the "convenience" of the service which is what induces riding.

A station spacing of 500 metres, or its near equivalent 1,650 feet or 5/16 miles, has proven a desirable minimum to keep to. Stations at certain dominant intersections are compulsory traffic-wise, while grades, curves, or other operating controls may intervene, resulting in intermediate stops being necessarily placed at greater or less distances apart than are possibly desired. The likely future as well as present development of an area must also be considered, for subways are permanent improvements.

A station platform length of 500 feet is assumed for ultimate requirement in Winnipeg, and accordingly station structures would be built to that length. Possibly trains of lesser length would be adequate for a substantial period ahead in which case part of the platform could be walled off and left unfinished until required. Stations must be located on tangent alignment, with the tangent extending 100 feet at minimum beyond the end of ultimate platform to allow for curve spirals, both horizontal and vertical. This is to ensure that the platforms need not be cut back to provide for car overhang on a curve, as an unexpected wide space between platform and car is a potential danger to passengers boarding or alighting.

Also the grade through a station should be practically level, both for the comfort of persons using the platforms, as also to prevent any tendency for a train to roll if left standing. A grade of three tenths per cent is adequate for station drainage and otherwise desirable.

From the above it will be seen that the location of stations is a prime element that must be considered in the initial projection of any rapid transit line. In turn their specific locations and traffic arrangements can be determined only after detailed study of all contributing factors.

9. Grades and Curvature

Steep grades and sharp curvature restrict speed and increase maintenance costs, yet in urban location neither can altogether be avoided, for to give maximum service and obtain maximum use for the facility a rapid transit line must pierce the nodes of maximum traffic concentration. These are also the centres of maximum building development and most generally zones of greatest underground utility congestion, and the alignment may be affected by these considerations.

While curves of 400 feet radius or even less are within the range of rapid transit operation when essential, curves of longer radius are much to be desired. The most difficult situation in Winnipeg is that at Portage Ave, and Main Street. A curve of 450 foot radius is just possible at this corner, and it is proposed that this radius be adopted as minimum and not decreased elsewhere on the system, except possibly in yard service.

10. Transit-System Integration

The fact that rapid transit would be introduced in stages in replacement of surface transit and not in competition with it, is a very definite consideration affecting the location of proposed lines, and the location of stations along them. Transfer facilities to and from the surface lines is an essential element.

Where bus lines will terminate at subway stations, off-street terminals for the buses are required, both to loop the bus lines, as also to provide free passenger interchange between subway and buses without the need of transfer tickets, etc.

Ample bus terminal facilities will, for example, have to be provided at Queen Street and at Redwood Avenue, as well as at Ingersoll Street or vicinity once a bridge at Waverley Street has been provided.

The very vital factor of car service facilities for the rapid transit equipment, as a determinant in the location of a rapid transit line, and particularly as regards the initial stage of its operation, have been referred to.


It should again be stressed that the major purpose of rapid transit in Winnipeg is to overcome the crippling effect of street congestion on the surface transit service, especially at rush hours when both street congestion and demand for transit service are at peak. The prime cause of that congestion is the constantly increasing number of private motor vehicles. Experience everywhere to date has been that automobile use has been limited only by the roadway space and parking space available to them. Improved facilities have only temporarily battered conditions of congestion, and that wholly for the users of the private vehicles, as distinct from the city at large.

On the other hand rapid transit subways permanently improve transit conditions, doubling or tripling speed and increasing capacity to five times that possible on the street surface; also easing somewhat conditions of congestion on the surface streets, and all without defacing or scattering the city, or destroying assessable values, but stabilizing the city and providing planned directives to its growth and development.

Rapid transit operation, with stations spaced an average of slightly less than 2,000 feet apart as herein proposed for Winnipeg, provides travel at double the overall speed that surface transit service can provide in mixed traffic on reasonably uncongested urban highways. This is accomplished by clear track, automatic block signals, equipment capable of quick acceleration and high running speed, and by cars and station platforms designed for quick loading and unloading, etc.

The removal of a large proportion of the transit vehicles from the street surface is also a permanent contribution to the relief of street congestion, as is also any reduction in the use of private vehicles that may be brought about.

In turn it is too closely spaced stops that is the chief deterrent to overall speed. As previously mentioned a vehicle averages only half its possible maximum speed when accelerating from rest to full speed, as also when decelerating to the next stop. Overall speed is also affected by standing time at stops. This last depends essentially on the amount of passenger movement at the particular stop, and this is prone to be greater when stops are fewer, that is more widely spaced. But in turn though individual stations may be busier, the total passengers picked up may be less with the fewer but more widely spaced stops. That is to say the service to the public as indicated by the revenue earned, may be less. On the subways as proposed herein, an overall speed, (including time at stops) of 18 to 20 miles per hour would be provided at all hours.

Travel time from Queen Street, St. James to Memorial Blvd. would be 9 minutes, to Lombard 11½ minutes, to Redwood 16½ minutes, to McPhillips 23½ minutes.

Travel time from Portage and Memorial to Osborne and Jubilee Avenue would be 8 minutes, and to St. Anne's Road at Trans-canada Highway 13 minutes; to Redwood 8 minutes; to Kelvin Avenue 10½ minutes and to Grey Street 14 minutes. Travel time from McGillivray Blvd. to Osborne-Arnold would be 7 minutes; to Broadway and Main 13½ minutes; to Lombard 15½ minutes; to Keewatin and Notre Dame 26 minutes.


A controlling factor in the cost as in the ultimate capacity of a rapid transit system is the length and makeup of the trains for which it is designed. This determines length of station platforms, length of sidings, length of storage tracks in car-yards, etc. Length and location of stations affect the whole profile and hence all operating considerations.

A station length of 500 feet was adopted in Toronto and has proved very satisfactory. It is used in these proposals. Trains of this length have an absolute capacity of 40,000 passengers per hour in each direction or 32,000 per hour as an efficient working standard.

In comparison a 6-lane expressway has a working maximum of 4,000 cars per hour in one direction representing in normal course 7,000 passengers per hour. Very seldom does the average number of persons per car exceed 1.75. Even in the days of Wartime Industrial Transit, with use of cars fully controlled and with compulsory allotment of passengers, it was extremely difficult to maintain an average of 3 persons per car.

Relative costs of Rapid Transit and Expressway structures are interesting. The estimated engineering cost of the 9.88 miles of rapid transit subway construction comprising the Bloor-University-Danforth project in Toronto as of 1957 was $113,922,000. This was exclusive of shops, car yards, cars, track, third rail, signals, fare collection equipment, escalators, etc., (totalling another $68,328,000) the net sum representing the cost of facilities, equivalent to those provided by an expressway to motor vehicles. This yield an estimated physical cost of $11,530,000 per mile of structure.

The estimated cost of 6.25 miles of crosstown expressway in Toronto through miscellaneous industrial, residential, and ravine park areas, including sections of depressed cut, embankment, and elevated structure, prepared by the Metropolitan Planning Board as of the same year totalled $68,000,000 or $10,880,000 per mile.

While the aforesaid subway deliberately follows or parallels major arteries, the expressway traverses about as favourable a location as regards costs as is likely attainable within the built-up area.

Except for three minor sections, the proposed Toronto subway is an enclosed structure throughout to be built in enclosed tube, in part constructed by tunnelling and in part by cut and cover: The total length is about equally divided into street and off street locations.

Expressways suffer the disability that, except for occasional very limited lengths, they must be left open to the air, or artificial ventilation is required. If depressed in open cut, every utility on every intersecting street is interfered with and has to be re-routed in some manner. An enclosed rapid transit structure can be built at sufficiently low level to underpass most of the utilities. Also in the case of a depressed expressway, streets must be bridged across the open cut, or else the streets closed with concurrent consequential damages to owners directly affected, and also dismemberment of the street system. Great width of right of way is required for a six-lane artery having in view its use by individually controlled vehicles moving at high speeds. There is also the extra width required for side slopes when an expressway is built in depressed cut or an embankment. All in all, continuous right-of-way, 160 to 200 feet wide, is necessary, and at interchanges very much greater widths are needed. Demolition of buildings occasioned by expressway building is generally most substantial, and as the right of way must be left open to the air, very limited resale values can be realized. Against this the right of way required for a rapid transit line is, except at stations, quite narrow, in fact as little as 40 feet if no greater width is available. As well, the right of way land is still available for building, as only an underground easement for the subway need be retained other than for station entrances.

Probably the cheapest form of fully grade separated expressway through fully developed urban area is elevated structure. In this case underground utilities at cross streets are not normally affected. Nor need these streets be closed except where interchanges are located. Right of way required for a 6-1ane structure is desirably 100 feet wide at minimum to carry a structure about 86 feet wide. The cost of a normal 6-1ane structure is estimated at $1,000 per linear foot. Right of way costs, provision for interchanges and other contingent items, add another $800 to $4000 per foot representing a total cost of $9,504,000 to $10,560,000 per mile; this for the most minimum expressway possible closing but a minimum of intersecting streets.

Probably the cheapest form of fully grade separated expressway through fully developed urban area is elevated structure. In this case underground utilities at cross streets are not normally affected. Nor need these streets be closed except where interchanges are located. Right of way required for a 6-1ane structure is desirably 100 feet wide at minimum to carry a structure about 86 feet wide. The cost of a normal 6-1ane structure is estimated at $1,000 per linear foot. Right of way costs, provision for interchanges and other contingent items, add another $800 to $4000 per foot representing a total cost of $9,504,000 to $10,560,000 per mile; this for the most minimum expressway possible closing but a minimum of intersecting streets.


The joint use of a right of way for both expressway and rapid transit is frequently mooted, but full consideration seldom proves this either feasible or desirable, and definitely not for the type of rapid transit under consideration for Winnipeg, namely designed to overcome and relieve downtown congestion.

There are no heavy concentrations of Winnipeg metropolitan population at distances of 20 miles or so from the business centre to occasion any need for rapid transit express service, and this is the only type of rapid transit which can be accommodated with any advantage on an expressway right of way, the requirements for the two facilities being so contradictory.

The service demand (which is also the economic demand) for a rapid transit line is to pierce the very heart of the business area, that is, directly through the points of heaviest traffic concentration, and heaviest business assessment. This an expressway cannot do, except at enormous cost and the near or complete destruction of the area.

The location generally proposed for the rapid transit line in a joint proposal is a position in the centre mall of the expressway. If the centre mall serves any necessary purpose for the expressway, its use by rapid transit trains vitiates that purpose. For rapid transit use with third rail power supply, the mall must be fenced. To provide for the necessary width at rapid transit stations the mall must be 66 feet wide throughout. The approaches to stations are also inconvenient, particularly where the expressway is built at ground level. Limiting grades and radii of curvature are also different for the two facilities. Primarily the desire of an expressway is for relatively cheap right of way. That is, a somewhat out of the way location will serve as the motor vehicles utilize the surface streets to reach their ultimate destinations. The desire of rapid transit is to pierce the nodes of most active business and human concentrations so that as many of its passengers as possible will be delivered as close as possible to their final destinations.

As a means of reducing expressway costs by avoiding costs of grade separation, a practice has developed of closing intersecting streets and establishing service roads parallel to the expressway to provide outlet for the dead-ended streets. Access across the expressway is then frequently limited to widely-separated crossings.

The barrier created by the Canadian Pacific Railway yards has been referred to. Unfortunately the suggested western and northern expressway plans for Winnipeg provide for equally infrequent crossings.

At interchanges also, the expressway arrangements require the dead ending of many streets and the diversion of others. Substantial areas of the city are blotted out, neighbourhoods are broken up, and school sections disorganized, with frequently the end result that more barriers are created than are broken through. Expressways have as their basic purpose the expediting of motor vehicle traffic to the outer areas of the metropolis. Unfortunately it is the inner and intervening areas, which suffer the dismemberment of their street systems and other amenities and loss of economic values.

The main virtue of a rapid transit subway is that it works no disturbance to existing surface conditions, and its cost to the community is solely its construction cost.


a. The Elevated Railway

The need for a better power supply than the tractive ability of horses or mules became apparent soon after the introduction of the street car about 1850. Steam engines were tried on the streets, and in shallow tunnels (the Inner Circle in London) but were not acceptable in the first case nor wholly so in the second. The first elevated railway was however steam-powered (New York — 1871), until later converted to electric traction on its invention and development. This type of facility built over the public streets has disappeared from New York proper but still exists in Chicago and Philadelphia. It is noisy and has a depressing effect upon the business value of the streets traversed, and appears slated for extinction.

b. The Mono-Rail

The Mono-Rail is another form of elevated railway of which much is heard at the present time. In principle it is an old form of overhead conveyer, there being working examples in every machine shop. Cableways are another example.

The main fact to be recognized is that the elevated structure must be sufficiently strong to support the transit vehicles or trains whether they are carried above the structure or below it. Adequate foundations having substantial cross width must be provided, and this brings in the problem of interference with, and the necessary diversion of, underground utilities, or else acquisition of private right of way. Station platforms must also be provided. These would be separate structures with platform level fully 18 feet above street level, if 15 foot clearance for street traffic is to be provided. Presumably some form of movable fence would have to be provided for the safety of passengers awaiting trains, on these high platforms. The switching of cars from the main line to a branch line or to or within the car yard area is possible but cumbrous, as a whole section of the mono-rail structure has to be moved laterally for each operation. Car service and yard tracks require expensive overhead installations. Also, the problem of car swing during travel is a factor. One procedure to prevent carswing is for the cars to be suspended from 2 rails 18" or so apart so as to overcome any tendency for the car to act as a pendulum. Other procedures are for the cars to be braced by two near horizontal wheels which travel against the base of the main longitudinal member of the structure, or against side beams special for that purpose.

The Mono-Rail is capable of high speeds, but like other vehicles, only if it has the advantage of long distances between successive stops.

The Mono-Rail would appear to have its future in specialized transport, such as the transfer of an airplane load of passengers to and from a downtown depot from or to an airport. Such an installation is under consideration for the London (England) Airport. In this case a longitudinal enclosed slot open at the bottom, would extend down the centre of the car, which slot would fit over the main beam of the mono-rail structure. The car would be kept from swinging by two horizontal wheels travelling against this beam. The driving wheels would be in the top of the slot and travel on the top of the beam. All wheels would be rubber-tired. The novelty of the arrangement is that the car is fitted with normal bus wheels which project below the car only a matter of a few inches. At the airport the mono-rail beam slopes down to ground level, when the bus wheels come into play and the vehicle continues as a driver steered bus to the actual airplane for which its passengers are booked. The route is over private right of way, in substantial part existing railway lands.

As to how the slot affects the interior arrangements of the vehicle I am not fully aware. The vehicle is something of the order of an Irish jaunting car.

The utility of the mono-rail for this specialized type of use, stems from light vehicles, the high speed possible due to grade separation and no intermediate stops, as also its ability to operate as a bus at terminals. It may well be that there is a future for a vehicle adapted to this type of specialized travel, an operation which in no single way resembles the operation of a common carrier rapid transit service.

The mono-rail system at Wuppertal has been operating for over three decades, but has not attracted any imitators. For part of its route it is suspended over the Wupper River. The opportunity this location provided was likely one reason for its being. The supporting structure is quite as heavy appearing as a normal elevated railway structure, as indeed it is in fact.

c. Rubber Tires on Subway Trains

Another possible development is the use in subways of trains of rubber-tired electrically driven vehicles. Some experiments to this end have been made in the Paris subways. Lateral movement of the cars would be controlled by horizontal or inclined rubber-tired wheels operating against sidecurbs or a concrete ridge in the centre of the car path. Another possibility is an electronic steering mechanism by which each vehicle would individually follow a charged wire centered on the desired path, either below the car or above it. Also some electronic method for the train to register its position at all times would be needed in connection with the automatic signal system.

Should this type of equipment prove feasible and advantageous, its use would still require a subway in which to operate. The only difference would be that the rails would be removed, and the rubber tired vehicle would travel on the paved floor of the subway.

d. Railway Commuter Service

When mentioning alternative methods of rapid transit, some reference should be made to railway commuter service. There are so many railway lines intersecting Winnipeg that some suggestion may be advanced that some of them might be used to advantage in solving the problem of rush hour congestion. Seventy-five years or more ago, when the horse cars were, for the vast majority of city dwellers, the only means of transport about the city, the steam railways provided the only means for suburban living. Suburban dwellers in turn were wholly dependent on the railways, not only for their daily transport to and from the city, but also for the transport of almost every pound of materials they used, whether building materials, house furnishings, fuel or eatables. It was this ancillary freight business that made the development of commuter traffic of considerable interest to the railways. With the introduction of the motor vehicle, and the coming of good roads following the first world war, commuter passenger traffic declined, but the local freight traffic disappeared completely, being taken over by the motor truck. The continuation of commuter service is still desired by suburbanites, but essentially only on a stand-by basis, and on that basis the whole operation is so unprofitable at any acceptable fare, as to be impossible except on some basis of municipal guarantee. There are also difficult practical problems in operating short light trains making frequent stops, on the same tracks with long heavy non-stop trains.

But also Winnipeg has few if any daily commuters from outside the metropolitan area. The transport problem in Winnipeg, as in most cities of its size, is not a problem of high speed over long distances, but of downtown congestion by motor vehicles.


Operation cost of various forms of transit service are only comparable when the items included in operation cost are the same in all instances. The following operating costs of various types of vehicles operated in the Toronto system for the first six months of 1956 were given publicity at the Chicago Conference on Rapid Transit in May 1957.

No capital costs (interest and depreciation) are included for rapid transit structures, such being deemed the equivalent of the public streets available free to street cars, trolley coaches and buses. But the charges assigned rapid transit do include all capital charges for track, third rail, car yards, shops, and car equipment; also maintenance and housekeeping of the subway structure. Comparable items of cost were charged respectively to street car, trolley coach and bus operations. All costs of every nature are included other than the capital charges referred to.

Type of Vehicle Seating Capacity of Vehicle Max. Hour Rated Capacity Per Mile Per Seat Mile Per Unit of Capacity
Subway Car 62 155 65.04¢ 1.05¢ 0.42¢
Street Car 52 100 68.58¢ 1.32¢ 0.69¢
Trolley Coach 48 80 61.73¢ 1.29¢ 0.77¢
Bus 45 70 64.05¢ 1.42¢ 0.91¢

From the above it will be seen that per unit of service provided, rapid transit is the least costly of present day transit media. This however is on the basis that no toll is exacted from transit passengers for the special roadway facilities provided, that being the basis on which it is presumed an urban expressway would be provided for private motor vehicles. In fact the transit riders are charged on a more onerous basis, as normal maintenance of the subway structures and properties, housekeeping, lighting, etc., would be assumed by the transit riders.

Hence the development of rapid transit system and/or an expressway system is wholly a question of the relative benefit to the metropolitan community derived from the expenditure of substantial sums of money. This basic question has been discussed in Section I, and my recommendation is set out at the end of Section IV.


Another matter of interest to the transit system, as augmenting traffic congestion in the downtown and affecting transit service to that extent, is truck movements.

The removal of many warehouse businesses from the Main Street zone of the downtown area to new locations in West Winnipeg and St. James, and the many new industries which have established themselves in that vicinity, all very largely dependent on motor trucks for both in-bound and out-bound freight movements, will continue to throw increasingly heavy truck traffic on the few major streets in Winnipeg. All of the avenues leading from this new development converge on the very limited section of Main Street from Portage Avenue to Logan Avenue.

The result is clearly indicated from the statistics of traffic set out in Table II-V of the Wilbur Smith and Associates Report, reproduced in Section III-3 hereof.

Of 22,143 trucks entering the cordon area in the average 12-hour day, 13,717 or 61.9% had no interest whatever in the cordon area except to get through it.

The anticipated great increase in freight traffic moving by truck directly or in piggy-back combination, has been referred to. While trucks could not be debarred from an expressway, they would seriously diminish its utility for private cars. Nor does it seem proper or desirable under any circumstances to move this freight traffic through the central downtown if such can be avoided.

What seems desirable would be trucking arteries from the aforesaid industrial zone leading east and west to connect with the major provincial highways beyond the zone of metropolitan congestion.

What is suggested, in principle only, is the development of a freight artery of at least six-lane width, parallelling the C.P.R. yards, in the vicinity of Henry Avenue, possibly by the widening of that street on the north or south side, from Main Street to Arlington Street, and thence westerly on the north side of the Midland Railway tracks to link up with Saskatchewan Avenue.

East of Main Street this artery should be carried easterly parallelling Higgins Avenue to Point Douglas, where a bridge would later be needed, though the Louise Bridge could be used for a period. From Archibald Street this arterial street would be continued easterly parallelling the C.N.R. main line to Birds Hill Road or beyond. This artery is suggested as a surface road, but being close to railway lines throughout it would not create any greater barriers to cross traffic than now exist.

At the west end it would be desirable to obtain an outlet for this artery to the north of Stevenson Airport, either by a new road or a connection to Highways 6 and 7.


The present system of transit in Winnipeg is well organized and operated. The routes are well adapted to serve the basic movements of traffic, and the frequency of service appears well proportioned to the demand.

The main problem in Winnipeg as elsewhere is that of street congestion, brought about by increasing population and business development and by an increasing use of private automobiles; as also by the physical characteristics of the metropolitan area which funnel all traffic into and through the business downtown.

As these conditions increase in intensity, it will be impossible for the transit system to provide satisfactory or even worthwhile service through the central area. Yet no city of half a million inhabitants can do without a system of public transport.

Two alternatives to improve conditions have been suggested—the construction of expressways, or the construction of rapid transit subways. Both, for the locations proposed in Winnipeg, represent almost identical expenditures per foot or per mile, while the lengths proposed also approximate the same. On the other hand the capacity of rapid transit subways for the movement of passengers is four to five times greater than that of an expressway. Also experience is that an expressway is filled to capacity almost from the day it is opened, while a subway has capacity to provide for increasing traffic for many years ahead.

Moreover a subway necessitates no permanent disturbance to the areas traversed, and tends to stabilize use and assessable values in its vicinity. An expressway on the other hand inevitably demands great demolition of buildings and a general disorganization of business use and property values. It creates new barriers to cross traffic by the closing of streets, if not always for extended distances, then almost certainly where traffic interchanges are located.

And where a rapid transit line brings only persons into the congested zones, an expressway also brings their cars, creating great increase in the demand for car parking in areas where the cost and difficulty of providing same is at maximum, and where there is every reason to believe that restrictions on the unnecessary use of personal transportation will sooner or later be put into effect for the benefit of the community at large.

In view of the above city planning considerations, a program of rapid transit subway construction is recommended.

    March 4, 1959.