Snow job for citizens?City to consider requiring residents to keep
The burden of clearing snow from city sidewalks may soon fall onto the
shovels of Winnipeg homeowners.
Residential walks are currently cleared of snow by the city, but support is
growing at city hall to follow the practice of most other Canadian cities,
which force homeowners to shovel the city's walks and fine those who refuse.
"We typically look at it annually during the budgeting process," said Brad
Sacher, director of public works, adding the city spends hundreds of
thousands of dollars every winter clearing sidewalks.
"We're asked to look at what kind of efficiencies we can find, and this one
sticks out like a sore thumb because so many other cities do it this way."
Coun. Janice Lukes, chairwoman of the public works committee, said if
Sacher doesn't raise the issue in a pending cost-benefit analysis of snow
clearing, she will make sure it becomes part of the public debate.
"We should put the facts on the table about what it costs," Lukes (St.
Norbert) said. "We're one of the very few cities that do it."
The issue surfaced after it was discovered it was included as part of a
20-year pedestrian and cycling strategy. Buried in the 344-page report was
a recommendation the city end its practice of clearing residential
sidewalks and instead require homeowners to do it and fine those who don't.
Residential sidewalks "should become the responsibility of every owner or
occupant of any building abutting the public sidewalk," the recommendation
in the pedestrian and cycling strategy report states. "These sidewalks
should be cleared within 24 hours of end of snowfall and should be
shovelled to bare pavement...
"Penalties should be imposed on residents who fail to clear their sidewalk."
Public works acknowledges some people -- particularly seniors and those
with mobility issues -- may not be able to clear their own sidewalks in
winter, and recommends initiatives to assist those individuals, including a
"snow angels" program -- neighbours and volunteers who shovel works for
those physically unable.
Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt told the committee the recommendations on
sidewalk snow clearing should be removed from the strategy document, but
the committee accepted the report in its entirety and it now heads to
council for consideration.
In addition to sidewalk snow clearing, city streets are cleared down to the
bare pavement, from curb to curb.
There was a public uproar when a consulting firm reviewed the public works
department operations and said city hall could save money if it didn't
clear the streets from curb to curb. The suggestion was never adopted.
Sacher said the sidewalk snow-clearing issue found its way into the
strategy document after it was raised by residents during the public
Sacher said some residents said they'd prefer to shovel the walk in front
of their homes instead of waiting for city crews to do the work a week
after a snowstorm.
*Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2015 B1*
JUST TO BE CLEAR...
WINNIPEG isn't the first Canadian city to consider DIY snow clearing for
public sidewalks. The Ontario cities of Hamilton, Kitchener, Waterloo and
Windsor have all left residents responsible for sidewalk snow clearing.
Here are six other cities that have also gone that way:
- *Vancouver:* Residents and business owners are expected to clear
sidewalks by 10 a.m. the day after every snowfall, seven days a week. The
city encourages residents to adopt the sidewalks of neighbouring seniors or
people with mobility issues and keep them clear all winter long. Failure to
keep walks adjacent to residential homes can lead to fines of $250 per
offence, while apartment blocks and business can incur fines ranging from
$750 to $2,000.
- *Calgary: *Since 1974, property owners in Calgary have been
responsible for clearing the sidewalks adjacent to their properties within
24 hours of snow or ice accumulating. The city has also been promoting a
Snow Angels campaign for more than 10 years, encouraging able-bodied
residents to help seniors and others in need by adopting sidewalks to
clear. Residents nominate their Snow Angels annually for special
recognition letters from the mayor, and Snow Angels are given free parking
passes from the Calgary Parking Authority. If property owners don't clear
their sidewalks within 24 hours, the city gives them notices to shovel and
scrape their walks within an allotted period of time. Fines vary based on
the length of sidewalks and the amount of snow and ice accumulated.
- *Edmonton: *A community standards bylaw requires property owners
shovel their adjacent walkways -- sidewalks and driveways -- within 48
hours of a snowfall. Those who violate the bylaw are given one warning
notice per season before being issued a ticket. Tickets are $100, and if a
contractor has to be sent to remove snow, the property owner will be
invoiced again separately. The city recommends residents sprinkle salt or
gravel on the ground to give pedestrians traction and provides free boxes
of sand at community drop points for citizens to use.
- *Regina: *The City of Regina also provides sand to help residents keep
their walks safe. Regina requires downtown businesses to clear their walks
within 24 hours of a snowfall, while businesses, apartments and vacant lots
outside downtown are given 48 hours to clear the snow.
- *Saskatoon:* Residents are required to clear their private walks
within 48 hours of a snowfall, while some commercial properties are only
given 24 hours. When reports of uncleared sidewalks are filed to the City
of Saskatoon, a bylaw inspector investigates and doles out 48-hour warnings
to residents. Those who don't clear adequately can expect fines ranging
from $100 to $2,000, depending on the severity and number of infractions.
- *Toronto: *City crews clean the snow and ice from much of Toronto but
aren't able to do so in core areas. Residents and business owners in the
city's core are asked to clear adjacent walkways within 12 hours of every
snowfall. Violating the bylaw can result in a $100 fine, with $25
surcharges. People needing snow-clearing help in Toronto's core can submit
special requests to the city.
*-- Jessica Botelho-Urbanski*
Lukes eyes 30 km/h speed limit for residential streets
DO you like driving 30 km/h in school zones? How about on all residential
Coun. Janice Lukes, the public works chairwoman, wants Winnipeg to consider
reducing all residential street speed limits to 30 km/h.
The lower limit would not apply to regional streets, which are major routes
such as Main Street or Portage Avenue.
Lukes wants a pilot project in Fort Richmond, which is in her St. Norbert
ward, but approval would have to come from the province first.
"That solves all of our problems with cycling, walking, to have a limited
speeding amount for vehicles," she said.
One idea she has is to piggyback off the work of former Daniel McIntyre
councillor Harvey Smith, who attempted to lower residential street speed
limits to 40 km/h from 50 km/h in 2012. The motion was defeated by the
public works committee in 2013 after an administrative report recommended
Earlier this week, a community committee in Toronto voted in favour of
reducing the speed limits in some residential areas to 30 km/h.
A report by Toronto's city staff said it could increase safety for
residents and increase the number of residents using active transportation,
but would be costly and might not work with every local road.
Lukes said she would be open to investigating reducing the speed limit on
weekends or at certain times of the day.
"It is absolutely something in my tenure I will be looking at," she said.
"I know (Fort Richmond) has five or six schools in an area, parks, so there
is nothing wrong with piloting a project to see what happens."
*-- Kristin Annable*
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2015 0
* * * * *
Crossing guard fed up with reckless driversPosting licence plate numbers on
A Winnipeg crossing guard hopes to shame bad drivers into better behaviour
by posting their licence plate numbers on social media.
Cecile Desjarlais has worked at a busy intersection in the West End since
last fall, helping adults and children from a nearby school cross the
Desjarlais says she's blown away by the number of close calls she's
encountered with drivers, seeing kids almost hit by cars.
On Monday, she said she had three narrow misses with vehicles.
"I was in my intersection in the middle of the road with my vest on and my
flag out, trying to get some kids across," Desjarlais said Tuesday. "Out
come two vehicles, one after the other, and they passed on the inside of
me, thankfully, so I was able to protect the kids."
Thirty seconds later, another car nearly hit her and pedestrians again, she
"There was even a closer call two weeks before where a child was just
stepping off the curb... and somebody cut in the outside lane and hit the
flag right out of my hand," Desjarlais said.
"(Drivers) are being inattentive, they're late possibly for an appointment
or work, or they just don't care."
Fed up, Desjarlais decided to create a Facebook group where she plans to
list the licence plate numbers of reckless drivers she sees. She will also
be reporting the numbers to Winnipeg police, she said.
Desjarlais talked to police about the issue and they said it's all right
for her to post the plate numbers online. Police told her they will also be
following up on all the numbers she reports.
The Facebook group, Crossing Guards Wall of Shame, had 118 members
subscribed after one day. Desjarlais said she will be the only person in
the group posting licence plate numbers, so she can ensure they are
One group member who hopes to help is Maurice Grégoire, the president of
Teknisult Enterprises Ltd., which manufactures video cameras for school
Grégoire said he wants to help Desjarlais by giving her a wearable
hat-camera that will shoot video and audio. That way, she won't have to
take her eyes off the children to write down licence plate numbers in a
notebook, he said.
"It's all about advocacy for student safety," he said. "Whatever resources
I have that she can use, go for it."
Desjarlais hopes the Facebook group will raise awareness among drivers and,
consequentially, make for safer commutes to school.
"The drivers need to be aware that the crossing guards are out there. We're
not out there just to cause havoc with traffic or anything. We're just
trying to get people across the street safely," Desjarlais said.
"How would they feel if they were running late or on the way to work and
they were to hit me or a child? They're not going to get to their
destination any quicker if that was to happen."
*Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2015 0*
Council to vote on bike route barricades
A civic committee has given the green light to reinstate barricades along
the city's Sunday/holiday bike routes.
At Tuesday's public works committee meeting, councillors voted unanimously
in favour of bringing back the barricades, which helped warn motorists the
roadways were for local traffic only.
The motion to reinstate the barricades must still be approved by council.
The barricades were removed this year and replaced with signs at the
intersections that read, "Motor vehicle travel limited to one block,
8:00-20:00, Sundays and holidays."
However, the removal of the barricades was met with displeasure from
councillors whose wards are within these routes.
River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow and Daniel McIntyre Coun. Cindy
Gilroy voiced their approval of the motion from the city centre community
committee, which called for the barricades to return along the four
Lyndale Drive, Scotia Street, Wellington Crescent and Wolseley Avenue are
considered cycling paths from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays and statutory
holidays from mid-May to mid-October.
Orlikow said since the barricades were removed, his Sundays have been
filled with emails and phone calls from his constituents, who say motorists
are not reading the signs.
Gilroy, who is also on the public works committee, echoed these concerns
stating at the meeting, "it is just not working," now that the barricades
The barricades were removed this year after a recommendation from the
public works department, which saw it as a way to save money.
Public works director Brad Sacher told a civic committee last July that it
cost the department $35,000 a year to have staff put up and take down the
barricades on the four routes every Sunday during the cycling season.
Progress on cycling routes
A 20-year strategy for constructing a network of pedestrian and cycling
paths across Winnipeg is heading back to city council for approval.
The pedestrian and cycling strategy was endorsed Tuesday -- for the second
time -- by the public works committee.
Couns. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) and Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) told the
committee they were concerned that area residents weren't notified about
the impacts the strategy will have when specific streets are identified as
routes. They also said the maps in the report contained errors.
But the report was unanimously adopted without changes after a senior
administrator said the strategy is a long-term guide that will be subject
to council and public approval before any component is implemented.
Brad Sacher, director of public works, said annual action plans will
contain detailed routes and costs and they will be subject to public
consultation and council approval.
Sacher said the strategy included maps to demonstrate where gaps exist in
existing pedestrian and cycling routes and where new routes should go but
they're not set in stone.
Coun. Janice Lukes said councillors and residents will determine the
details of routes on an annual basis.
Questions about the public consultation process of the study were resolved
when the new office of public engagement reviewed what the strategy authors
had done and said the methods were adequate and complied with industry best
*-- Aldo Santin, Kristin Annable*
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2015 B3
[I met with Thomas, the creator of this program in Nantes. He heard I was
behind Winter Bike to Work Day and wanted to chat. I found this system to
be very interesting, sophisticated and graphically beautiful. Its
essentially a platform for companies and individuals to get started,
challenge each other and share their experiences cycling. It doesn't appear
to really be aimed at a "normalized cycling culture" but it may have its
uses, particularly in places like Canda or the UK or Australia with dismal
numbers that already do stuff like Bike to Work Week or Commuter Challenge
to get people talking. It certainly seems to be catching on all over the
place. It takes the basic concept of the above, injects some digital
steroids, and tosses in strong social media muscle to make it spread
widely. It costs $ to implement, but the costs seem fair for what you get.
The sponsorship component is handled deftly. It may be worth considering
brining this to Winnipeg, or replacing certain IT aspects of what we
already do with their system. . . esp. considering the number of
cities/countries that are signing on. At the very least, I am going to look
into how perhaps we might be able to do this nationally for Bike Day in
Canada Next Year. If any of this interests you, talk to me. - Anders]
It was great to meet you at Velo-City. Here is some more information for
you and your colleagues to look at re Love to Ride.
Our Partner facing site - www.lovetoride.org
A short 2 min Animation on Love to Ride -
A short 5 min TEDx Talk I gave -
A couple of example sites:
UK – www.lovetoride.net/uk
Sydney, Australia - www.lovetoride.net/sydney
Please feel free to pass this email on to any partners you work with who
might also be interested in learning about Love to Ride.
A skype call in the next few weeks could be a good option.
Love to Ride
US: +1 (310) 9067897
Does getting paid to cycle 1500 km this summer across our fair province
sound like an amazing experience to you? Trails Manitoba is looking for a
Trail Auditor to assess the condition of the Trans Canada Trail in Manitoba
from its western point from the Saskatchewan border to High Lake, near
Falcon Lake to the east. Applicants must be physically fit, own a
well-maintained mountain bike, have vehicle support, attention to detail
and strong written and verbal skills (as an audit report must be
submitted). Experience with gps is an asset, but training will be provided.
This is an honorarium position of $3000, plus all reasonable out-of-pocket
expenses and per diem to cover hotel/accom. GPS and trail orientation
knowledge is an asset, but training will be provided.
Please view a detailed job description at trailsmanitoba.ca.
Interested applicants forward their resumes in confidence (with 2
references) to executive_director(a)trailsmanitoba.ca *by June 30, 2015*.