When 28-year-old Boris Hryhorczuk rapped smartly on a map in Metro's committee room Tuesday, project WATS was launched.
Winnipeg Area Transportation Study and it's geared to keep traffic moving smoothly in Metro for the next 25 years.
"Every applicable modern medium of transportation will be investigated so that a balanced transportation system can be developed to provide for the expeditious movement of people and goods in this area during the next quarter century," said Metro transit director D. I . MacDonald.
Mr. Hryhorczuk, Metro's traffic planning engineer, has been chosen by the streets and transit division to take charge of WATS. It can be broken into four units:
The first stage will be to "paint a picture" of traffic as it is today in Metro. This includes pedestrian problems, street capacities, transit, where people are going, where they are coming from and parking.
Metro completed a study last year after questioning many individuals in Greater Winnipeg. This was done by adding questions to assessment queries and jotting down the results on maps.
Mr. Hryhorczuk said there has never been a study in the world like it.
Mr. MacDonald said Metro is in a unique position because it has the authority to implement such a plan. He said many cities have spent more than $500,000 for a single attack on traffic problems.
"Then the plan is usually relegated to the archives," Mr. MacDonald added. Toronto's master development plan has never been lifted off the floor.
"We are now ready to get on with the job. It will take time and we can't expect everything to come t to a stop while we plan."
WATS will survey the possibilities of special express transit, rapid transit, future expressways, truck routes, routes to handle peak period traffic (football games, concerts, the summer exodus to the beaches) and anything that will help people get from point A to point B faster.
"Human behaviour is what we're dealing with," Mr. MacDonald explained. "The people won't always want to follow the plan and we'll have to be able to adjust."
Coun. Bernie Wolfe said Metro is the only centre in North America at present capable of producing and implementing a plan like WATS. "We're reducing the guesswork to the smallest amount possible."
Mr. Hryhorczuk, a graduate in civil engineering from Yale University, said Metro began working on WATS three years ago. Enough data has been accumulated now to start work on analyzing the statistics.
The study of present facilities includes an investigation of area populations, land use, employment, vehicle registration, street capacity, transit, signal systems and parking.
The next step will be to develop a 25-year transportation plan to fit in with the accumulated information.
"It'll probably be the best investment Metro will make," said Coun. Wolfe.