Green Action Centre and Bike Winnipeg invite you to join us for a local
viewing of this month's APBP webinar.
The webinar viewing takes place in the EcoCentre boardroom (3rd floor, 303
Portage Ave) and will be followed by group discussion of local
RSVPs appreciated but not necessary. Hope to see you then!
* * * * *
*Intersections that Work for Pedestrians and CyclistsWednesday, October
19 | 2:00 - 3:00 pm CST *
Intersections present the greatest safety risk for vulnerable road users
and are the point of greatest potential conflict. The Dutch approach to
intersection design of separating modes and increasing sociability through
eye contact presents an opportunity for significant safety improvements to
transportation networks while meeting operational demands.
This webinar will evaluate the safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists
that lie in traditional intersection designs, as well as identify the
principal elements involved in protected intersection design and explore
their role in increasing safety. In addition, case studies of safety
improvements from both Dutch and North American contexts where protected
intersection designs have been implemented will be discussed.
- Dick Van Veen, Senior Consultant / Lead Designer Public Space, Mobycon
- Brian Gould, Bike Planning Engineer, City of Vancouver
*Beth McKechnie* | Workplace Commuter Options
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Pilot projects going permanent
By: Brent Bellamy
Resistance to change is a natural human condition. We feel security in what
is familiar and see risk in what is unknown.
As cities grow and progress, this inertia can be a difficult obstacle for
planners, developers and political leaders trying to implement new ideas.
When change threatens to alter familiar, established patterns in a
community, opposition galvanizes, and decision-makers face the uphill
challenge of articulating the goals and benefits of new proposals in an
effort to alleviate neighbourhood concerns.
Cities across North America are looking for new ways to engage in this
dialogue and inspire a greater feeling of public inclusion in the
decision-making process. In some cases, cities are implementing short-term
pilot projects as a method of testing ideas and building community support.
Pilot projects allow residents to observe the real-world effects of an
idea, fundamentally changing the nature of public outreach. Traditional
open house-type consultation offers case studies from other cities,
academic theory and glossy renderings that often do little to change
attitudes and preconceptions. By implementing smaller-scale pilot projects,
the starting point for public engagement is shifted from a hypothetical
description to a discussion about an observed experience.
The lower cost and flexibility of pilot projects often means designers can
very quickly implement substantial change in a city, evaluate performance,
react to public feedback and easily modify or remove components before a
permanent solution is implemented. These temporary projects often face less
public resistance because the impact of failure is perceived to be lower.
A successful example of this will soon come to an end in Calgary. In April
2014, the city decided to create a temporary 6.5-kilometre-long protected
bike-lane network throughout the downtown. The argument was made that a
minimum grid needed to be established to realize an impact on cycling
Constructed using moveable planters, precast parking curbs and plastic
bollards, the system opened in June of that same year. To evaluate the
effects, a record of 82 different metrics has been kept, including
participation rates, percentage of female riders and impact on traffic
congestion. Fourteen months later, a celebration was held for the one
millionth rider to pass one of the counting stops and surveys have shown
the number of bike commuters into the downtown has doubled since the
network was built. Public acceptance of the lanes has substantially
increased, and the city is now preparing to make the system permanent and
is even looking for ways to expand.
Last week, the City of Edmonton decided to follow Calgary’s lead and build
its own seven-kilometre-long downtown cycling network next spring. Compare
this to Winnipeg’s piecemeal approach, where a 1.5-kilometre-long permanent
protected bike lane on a single downtown road began public consultation in
2015 and will not experience its first full summer season until 2019. At
that pace, it will be far more than a decade until we achieve the minimum
effective network Edmonton will establish in two months.
Having seen the effects of the pilot project, initial fears in Calgary have
largely been overcome, meaning further expansion of cycling infrastructure
will likely meet with less resistance moving forward. In Winnipeg, each new
lane will continue to face opposition because their effect cannot be fully
evaluated until the network is complete.
There are many other pilot projects Winnipeg could borrow from other cities
to test designs and gauge public reaction. During the last election, Mayor
Bowman mused about creating a pedestrian promenade in the Exchange
District. Last year, Montreal created five different temporary pedestrian
mall pilot projects across the city to observe how they would work and
evaluate their impacts. The City of Montrose, Col., recently implemented
temporary diagonal parking stalls, much like those Coun. Pagtakhan is
currently proposing for downtown Winnipeg.
One of the city’s most contentious urban planning issues, the opening of
Portage and Main to pedestrians, might also achieve greater public
acceptance through a pilot-project strategy. This approach could allow
Winnipeggers the opportunity to experience the benefits of a vibrant public
space at the heart of their city, while planners and engineers could
observe the real-world consequences of their designs, responding to public
fears of congestion and safety before a final scheme is implemented.
A relevant precedent study for this would be from New York City where, in
2009, five blocks of Broadway, including three of the seven vehicle lanes
running through Times Square, were closed and transformed into a series of
public plazas for a one-year test period. The asphalt was painted red,
seating areas were delineated by planters and the spaces were filled with
lawn chairs, moveable tables, umbrellas and public art. Concerts and events
were held, allowing people to imagine the possibilities of what a new
public space could become.
After the year, predictions of stifling traffic congestion and fears for
public safety were alleviated, and community support for the project went
from 40 per cent to 75 per cent. Today, the public plazas are becoming a
permanent centrepiece of the Manhattan cityscape.
As we move forward in our community, we might learn from the experience of
other cities and consider implementing pilot projects such as these, as a
strategy to ensure effective investment in key urban design initiatives and
encourage a more informed public dialogue.
*Brent Bellamy is chairman of CentreVenture’s board and the creative
director at Number Ten Architectural Group.*
Could a cycling grid be right for Winnipeg?Coun. Janice Lukes will hold a
public seminar next month to see what it'll take to complete Winnipeg's
A Winnipeg councillor who saw the lights and lanes of a complete bike
network out West on a recent visit thinks one could be rolled out here if
only there were the “political will.”
Councillor Janice Lukes (St. Norbert) recently attended the Pro Walk/ Pro
Bike conference in Vancouver.
She said she was “blown away” by how easily navigable the city was by bike.
“You can do all the reading in the world, follow all of the blogs, listen
to all of the people but there’s nothing like experiencing it,” she said of
the city’s bike infrastructure.
“I was biking in downtown, day and night, up and down very busy streets and
felt completely safe.”
At home, she admits openly she’s a part of a reasonably intimidated
demographic of people who wish cycling felt safer, aware that disconnected
lanes siphon cyclists into traffic often feels anything but safe.
“It makes me nervous without protected bike lanes, you can only go up and
down Assiniboine Avenue so many times,” she said.
“Biking all over Vancouver with protected bike lanes was spectacular.”
While at the conference, she also attended an information session on
Calgary’s successful implementation of a minimum cycling grid—a network of
protected lanes installed quickly to gauge potential usage.
Edmonton city council is making moves to follow Calgary’s example, and
Lukes said Winnipeg could be next.
“Now is the time we should be looking at doing it, looking at temporary
pieces of infrastructure to try it out,” she said.
“We can learn from these other cities and apply it in a timely manner.”
Lukes plans to host a seminar on the bike network question near the end of
“We are going to talk about what Calgary did, what Edmonton is doing, and
where we are at with what Winnipeg can do,” she said, noting the date and
place are to be determined.
Depending on how that session goes, and what kind of support she has from
others councillors, Lukes said there’s a chance increased interest in
closing the gaps in our bike network could be reflected in this year’s
Bike Winnipeg Executive Director Mark Cohoe said he hopes that’s the case.
“We are falling behind, we’re in a position in this city where we can lead
if we want to—we are flat, sunny, perfect for biking—but we have to have
that political will and it has to be backed up with funding,” Cohoe said.