Increased traffic and parking shortages may cause issues for the university community as a result of the forthcoming Bombers stadium.
As a partner with the Winnipeg Football Club, the University of Manitoba has been working with Creswin Properties, the developers of the stadium, to implement changes in order to accommodate the new stadium.
Currently, the biggest proposed changes facing students on campus are road closures and parking reallocations.
Natalie van Rosmalen, marketing and communications manager for Creswin Properties, explained that on days when there is an event on, University Crescent will be closed from Dysart to Dafoe, and Chancellor Matheson will be closed just west of Rh.way to University Crescent for vehicular traffic, with the exception of buses and emergency services.
The reason for these planned closures is to ensure the safety of patrons walking to and from the stadium.
The proposed closures will also help control traffic flow into the stadium area and designated parking lots, and will be in effect approximately two hours prior to an event and one hour after an event ends, or until the area is relatively empty.
Transit routes will not be affected, because buses will be allowed to access the closed roads. In addition, the frequency of the buses may be increased if seen necessary.
New “park and ride” and “fan fare” transit routes will be implemented to assist and encourage stadium-goers to leave their cars at home when visiting the stadium for events.
Up to 10 parking lots throughout campus are proposed to become designated parking for stadium patrons when events are held.
With so much potential foot and vehicle traffic passing through the campus, security and safety procedures are also being considered to ensure the safety of patrons and students, and to maintain the integrity of the campus.
“[ . . . ] Measures are planned so as to contain the football or event activity, including traffic flows and parking, within one sector of the campus,” said U of M spokesperson John Danakas
“Creswin certainly has made public its intentions to encourage a more family-friendly football game experience. Of course, there will also be police, university security and volunteers on hand to ensure safety.”
Many of the students the Manitoban talked to were excited to see the new stadium come to the campus.
“I think it should have come a while ago, but I think its good it’s coming now, and I hope it gets done soon,” said Roxanne McGimpsey, a student at the university.
McGimpsey also thinks that it will increase traffic flow and that parking might become a problem, which she sees as the only real downside.
“[ . . . ] There isn’t enough parking. I know when I come to school it takes me like 20 minutes to find a parking spot some days, and that pisses me off,” said McGimpsey.
Second-year student Kyle Burky agreed that traffic will be a big issue but also pointed out that most games are held at night after regular classes.
“I don’t mind it too much, besides inhibiting traffic for other students. That’s kind of an issue for me, but most games are played in the evening and most students aren’t at school in the evening, so it doesn’t affect me too much,” said Burky.
Both students also felt that more could be done to make students aware of what is happening, because they had heard very little about stadium plans and called for more open houses and information seminars.
Burky thought that it would be beneficial if students could provide input and suggested an online survey.
Danakas encouraged student input so as to ensure the plans reflect the needs and expectations of students, stating that “having a new state-of-the-art stadium on campus will be a point of pride for the University of Manitoba community.”
He explained that students can provide input through the Blue and Gold website, which outlines details of the plan for the stadium and construction progress, and are welcome to contact the university through a number of channels, including contacting the public affairs office.
An open house to be held on the Fort Garry campus is planned for early November, and will allow students to provide input, and become more aware of what the stadium entails.