*** Please share widely. Thanks! ** *
*Peg City Car Co-op seeks Member Services Coordinator*
We’re looking for someone who is passionate about sustainable
transportation and is keen to help make carsharing a practical, convenient
and cost-effective solution for more Winnipeggers. If you are someone who
likes a variety of responsibilities and working with a small, tight-knit
team, this is for you. Care to join us?
Sure wish the media (and Uber) would refer to themselves correctly as
'ride-hailing' instead of ride-sharing. For clarification, check out Mel's
excellent blog post: Carsharing, ridehailing, carpooling, ridematching, oh
* * * * *
Taxicab board dissolved, municipalities to take control
Ride-sharing gets green light
IT’S official: Uber is on the way to Winnipeg.
Manitoba opened the door to ridesharing services such as Uber on Monday
with the introduction of the Local Vehicles for Hire Act. It is enabling
legislation that will allow municipalities to create bylaws to regulate
them as they compete with the taxi industry.
The legislation will dissolve the Manitoba Taxicab Board, formerly the
licensing and regulatory body governing the industry, and will pass off all
of the responsibilities for the ride-forhire business onto municipalities.
The act covers limousines and other car services and includes those hired
via online platforms. It is to come into force no later than Feb. 28, 2018.
Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke said the province will continue
to work with the City of Winnipeg, but there has been no discussion about
assisting the city with the cost of setting up such a regulatory system.
“The city will have the option to write their own bylaws, and we are not
going to speculate at this time in what avenue they will take to modernize
the business. We will work with them in a transition period to discuss what
they want to do,” Clarke said.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he was caught unaware that the province
would assign the taxicab board’s responsibilities to the city, but said he
was excited at the prospect of ridesharing services coming to Winnipeg.
“I believe this is an opportunity for customers and the City of Winnipeg to
be presented with new options and with innovation,” Bowman said. “We’ll
review what they’ve (the province) proposed right now and we will have
discussions with them.” All existing licences will remain valid and will
transfer to a municipal licence when the city has its office in place.
Clarke said the province is not contemplating any compensation for current
licence holders, some of whom have paid more than $200,000 for their
licence on the secondary market.
Taxi drivers have been up in arms about the prospects of a ride-sharing
business entering the market. Michael Diamond, a spokesman for the Winnipeg
Taxi Alliance, a lobby group set up by dispatch companies Unicity and
Duffy’s, was surprisingly calm Monday about the developments.
“We believe that if there is a level playing field, our members will be
able to compete,” he said.
Clarke said it was well known changes were coming after the release of the
MNP review of Winnipeg’s taxi industry in December, which was commissioned
by the taxicab board.
That report recommended allowing ride-sharing services into the Winnipeg
market. It also showed conclusively that Winnipeg is significantly
under-serviced by the industry, with only one cab for every 1,252 people,
compared with an average of one for every 860 people in other Canadian
cities of comparable size.
Susie Heath, a spokeswoman for Uber Canada, said they will work closely
with the city and the province.
“We hope to bring ride-sharingto Winnipeg soon so that Winnipeggers can
benefit from another safe, reliable way to get around their city and a
flexible income-earning opportunity,” she said.
The MNP report recommended adding 150 standard taxicab licences to the 410
currently issued, a number that has remained flat since 2008, although the
city’s population has grown by seven per cent in that time period.
Uber already operates in several Canadian cities, including Edmonton,
Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto and Waterloo, Ont.
The Silicon Valley corporation has become a global phenomenon. Uber
operates in 81 countries and 581 cities.
— with files from Aldo Santin
Thanks to all who picked up on the date error – darn copying and pasting!
The actual date of the webinar is *MARCH 22nd* from 2:30-3:30pm.
On Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 2:20 PM, Beth McKechnie <beth(a)greenactioncentre.ca>
> Green Action Centre and Bike Winnipeg invite you to join us for a local
> viewing of this month's APBP <http://www.apbp.org/> webinar.
> The webinar viewing takes place in the EcoCentre boardroom (3rd floor, 303
> Portage Ave) and will be followed by group discussion of local applications
> for those who wish to stay.
> *PLEASE NOTE: This is a different date and time than usual.*
> RSVPs appreciated but not necessary. Hope to see you then!
> * * * * *
> *AT in Rural SettingsWednesday, February 22 | 2:30 - 3:30 pm CDT *
> - Joe Gilpin, Alta Planning + Design
> - Dan Goodman, FHWA
> The presentation will highlight the content and recommended use of the Small
> Town and Rural Multimodal Networks Guide
> <https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/small_…> published
> by FHWA in January 2017. Highlights of the guide include designing
> mixed-traffic bicycle/pedestrian facilities, visually separated facilities,
> and physically separated facilities. The guide also includes
> recommendations for planning and linking to key community destinations. The
> presenters will highlight case studies of small town and rural planning and
> facility design throughout the webinar.
Green Action Centre and Bike Winnipeg invite you to join us for a local
viewing of this month's APBP <http://www.apbp.org/> webinar.
The webinar viewing takes place in the EcoCentre boardroom (3rd floor, 303
Portage Ave) and will be followed by group discussion of local applications
for those who wish to stay.
*PLEASE NOTE: This is a different date and time than usual.*
RSVPs appreciated but not necessary. Hope to see you then!
* * * * *
*AT in Rural SettingsWednesday, February 22 | 2:30 - 3:30 pm CDT *
- Joe Gilpin, Alta Planning + Design
- Dan Goodman, FHWA
The presentation will highlight the content and recommended use of the Small
Town and Rural Multimodal Networks Guide
by FHWA in January 2017. Highlights of the guide include designing
mixed-traffic bicycle/pedestrian facilities, visually separated facilities,
and physically separated facilities. The guide also includes
recommendations for planning and linking to key community destinations. The
presenters will highlight case studies of small town and rural planning and
facility design throughout the webinar.
*Downtown must embrace winter, not hide from it *
AFTER enduring a week of arctic wind chill in the month of March, it might
be a bad time to discuss Winnipeg’s downtown walkway system, but as one of
the five coldest major winter cities in the world, how we design for
climate is an important consideration.
For many years, the North American response towinter has been to hide from
it. In the 1960s, as downtowns started losing a battle to suburban
shoppingmalls and office parks, civic leaders felt the only way to compete
was to mimic this climate-controlled trend and consolidate interior spaces
in the city centre.
Montreal was the leader in this movement, beginning construction of the
Underground City in 1962, growing to become a staggering 32 kilometres of
subterranean tunnels and shopping centres beneath the city. Since that
time, 17 indoor pedestrian systems have been developed in cities across
North America. Minneapolis boasts the longest continuous network of
elevated walkways at 15 kilometres, and Calgary has the largest total
length at 18 kilometres.
The idea for Winnipeg’s indoor walkway system began with the 1969Downtown
Development Plan, which envisioned a futuristic city of towers and plazas,
interconnected by a vast network of elevated and underground walkways to
protect people from winter and allow vehicular traffic to flowmore
efficiently. To discourage sidewalk use in the summer, the plan proposed
“the secondstorey habit,” a strategy to pull all retail, commercial and
social activities away from the ground level and into the corridors, so
people could avoid cars and weather year-round.
Five years later, Winnipeg’s first skywalk would appear, connecting the
buildings of Lakeview Square to the Convention Centre. Several years later,
the underground concourse at Portage and Main would be an attempt to
realize the cosmopolitan dreams of 1969.
Today, there is a movement beginning in many cities to reconsider the
effects these indoor walkways are having on the vibrancy and prosperity of
city centres. As it turns out, skywalks do precisely what was envisioned in
Winnipeg’s 1969 plan: they remove people from the sidewalk. In low-density
cities, this can have a significant effect.
Skywalks take an already limited number of pedestrians and dilute them over
two levels, seasonally and at different times of the day. For a few hours,
particularly in winter, office workers populate the indoor shops or
restaurants, and sidewalk retail struggles. On evenings and weekends and in
the summer, this is reversed. With the market divided, the critical mass
generally isn’t created to sustain prosperous businesses in either realm.
This can be seen very clearly at Portage and Main, where almost 10,000
people spend every day, yet few ground-floor amenities exist and
underground restaurants generally stay open for just a few hours around
lunchtime, five days a week.
Some planners also argue the skywalks create a social hierarchy between the
raised, quasi-public space and the sidewalk. This combines with the lower
pedestrian numbers and struggling retail storefronts to exacerbate the
feeling that downtown streets are unsafe and uncomfortable, compounding the
It is generally understood that indoor walkways aren’t going anywhere —
only Cincinnati has dismantled its network — so many cities are beginning
to look at ways to reduce their impact.
In Minneapolis, consideration is being given to removing retail in sections
of their walkway, making them simply circulation thoroughfares that don’t
compete for business. To complement this strategy, they are hoping to build
more highly visible connections directly to the sidewalk. An excellent
precedent for this is Winnipeg’s newest skywalk addition at the Delta Hotel
on St. Mary Avenue, which incorporates a beautiful, transparent glass stair
and elevator to the sidewalk, making pedestrian flow between levels more
seamless and inviting.
A key strategy to reducing the impact of walkways is to focus on improving
the sidewalk experience, making it more comfortable for pedestrians in all
Building elements such as awnings and overhangs can provide shelter from
snow and rain. Small storefronts with several entrances allow pedestrians
the opportunity to flow in and out of the cold. Design guidelines can be
created to ensure new buildings reduce shadows and windtunnel effects on
the sidewalk. Public spaces and restaurant patios can incorporate
windscreens, gas fire pits and other heating sources.
In Montreal, construction will soon begin on an in-ground heated sidewalk
system along Sainte-Catherine Street that will be expanded to 2.2
kilometres in length in 2020. This idea, used for years in Oslo and
Reykjavik, is also being considered in Saskatoon to melt snow and improve
the pedestrian experience.
Great cities, even cold cities, are defined by the vitality of their street
life. To be an extraordinary winter city, Winnipeg must design to embrace
the climate and not to hide from it. Winnipeg is one of Canada’s sunniest
cities— and its temperature is typically above freezing 250 days per year —
yet our priorities seem focused only on those harsh winter days.
At two kilometres, the length of Winnipeg’s skywalk system is a fraction of
that in other cities, but its effects can still be seen. Not only has it
fundamentally altered the iconic view down Portage Avenue, it is partially
responsible for its many empty storefronts.
Winnipeg can learn from the experience of faster-growing cities and design
its skywalk system carefully and sensitively, to reduce its impact. By
building more visible, direct connections between levels, improving outdoor
pedestrian comfort and focusing on support for ground floor retail to give
people a reason to go outside and enjoy the city, we can bring people back
to walk the sidewalks, like they did for a hundredwinters before the
skywalks were built.
* Brent Bellamy is chairman of Centre Ventu re ’s board and the creative
director at Number Ten Architectural Group.*