Proposed bike bridge in Wolsely over Omand's Creek on your way to cross the footbridge over the Red River demonstrates what I consider a modern tradegy.
The particular site in question is a bike path that exits Wolsely/Raglan, enters a steep decline down to the creek, crosses a short footbridge, and begins a moderately steep incline about 100 metres long up to a level surface overlooking two baseball diamonds. I am overly familiar with this site because my running club uses this hill in spring and cross-country training. If you ever see a bunch of crazy people sprinting up this hill like it was no big deal, that would be us.
This is a neat place. It's a diamond in the rough. The scenic, winding trail weaving in and out of trees and over the creek is something of a rarity here in Winnipeg. Lest I forget to mention the two HILLS. Yes, hills. If only because the path goes in and out of a creek bank, hills nonetheless to us here on the prairies.
So what do they plan to do, to "upgrade" this well-travelled and scenic section of cycling infrastructure? Build a giant bridge over it of course, sending concrete piles into the creek bed and replacing a weaving, scenic trail with a boring, perfectly level, sterile, bridge. No doubt hacking down a few trees along the way.
Modern sterility practices involving "upgrades" to pedestrian-orientated infrastructure bothers me.
Let me float a better example, if I may, as I'm sure few are very familiar with this Wolsely location, Birds Hill Park.
At BHP, there is a 7-kilometre trail that goes around the inside of the park, around the lakes, in and out of the cedar thickets and up and down a couple hills. It was wonderful, amazing, and for a 15-minute-rollerblade-per-lap I get far more than I could ever hope for out of that trail. It is perfectly placed, perfectly designed.
However over the years the old tarmack surface became nearly unbearable and everyone started to wonder, hmm, when oh when will they ever resurface this wonderful trail?
Well, they did it last year.....except that they didn't only resurface the trail, they sterilised it. Made it boring. They cut down trees, they made it wider. They lowered the grade of the hills, they lessened the curves of the formerly winding trail. There is now, where there used to be not, a "buffer" zone of nothing a few feet from each side of the trail, where the trees and grasses used to come right up to the trail, making you feel like you were only one step removed from a hiking trail, it now makes you feel like youre on some superspeed highway down the #1. It makes you feel like you're not even in Birds Hill Park at all, any more.
Modern engineering and "planning" and "upgrades" seem to do their best to ignore what is unique to a particular location rather than working with it. Instead we end up destroying what makes a place unique and place something boring and souless in it's stead.
I will most definitely show up to this "open house" to voice my opinion and go further than that if need be. I'll also try to get out there to take some pictures of this wonderful location the City feels the need to Upgrade and Destroy.