*City seeks feedback on bike lanes*
IN a part of Winnipeg renowned for its environmental friendliness, a bike
route shouldn’t be a hard sell. Still, residents of Wolseley are being
asked by the city what they’d like to see.
“What would a new bike route look like here?” new Wolseley-to-downtown
walk-bike project signs posted by the city last week on Wolseley Avenue
ask. They ask passersby to “tell us what you think.”
Area resident Elena Howard-Scott likes the idea of Wolseley Avenue having a
lane for bikes.
“I think it’ll increase accessibility,” said Howard-Scott, who was walking
her dog Ziggy in the area on Monday. The student, who works, said it might
even persuade her to get back to riding her bicycle in the city.
Cindy Gilroy, councillor for the area, said the goal is to make the traffic
situation better for everyone, whether they’re walking, biking or driving.
“What we are doing, is a greenway study looking at all modes of
transportation on both Wolseley and Westminster,” Gilroy said. “It’s about
finding ways we can all make sure that, holistically, we can live together
with active transportation or driving a car,” said Gilroy, who was
re-elected Oct. 24 in Daniel McIntyre.
“Traffic’s been a big issue in Wolseley. It’s been pretty crazy,” said the
councillor, who heard area residents’ complaints about it when she was
campaigning door to door. She said the idea for the yellow and blue “Please
Slow Down” lawn signs that she gives to people in her ward who request them
came from a Wolseley resident that wanted to see traffic-calming measures
“How do we reduce traffic?” Gilroy asked.
She said “traffic-calming” measures and active transportation can help.
“It could be a variety of many different things,” she said, including
making some residential streets one-way streets to eliminate cut-through
“We do see a lot of cut-through traffic,” as more and more motorists use
residential side streets to get where they’re going, rather than main
traffic corridors, she said. The afternoon rush hour is especially bad,
“It’s piled up” with drivers trying to get onto the Maryland Bridge, she
The traffic on Wolseley Avenue is especially frustrating on Sundays in the
summer, when it is supposed to be closed to through traffic, said Shelagh
Weedon. She’s lived in the area for nearly 30 years and said it’s not safe
for her to walk her dogs on summer Sundays on the Wolseley Avenue roadway
because so many drivers ignore the signs saying it’s
closed to through traffic from dawn until dusk. She wondered what effect a
bike lane there would have on vehicular traffic.
“I’d like more clarification,” said Weedon, who planned to find out more
“This is the first phase in public engagement,” said Mark Cohoe, executive
director of Bike Winnipeg. The advocacy group presents background
information and bike-friendly recommendations to as many government
agencies and related organizations as it can manage with its limited
“What they’re looking at is connections through Wolseley from Empress
(Street) and Omand Park all the way through to Osborne Street and
There’s an online survey Winnipeggers can take about the
Wolseley-todowntown walk-bike project and opportunities to meet the
planners in person at different times and locations in the neighbourhood.
Even though it’s almost winter, Cohoe expects the city will receive a lot
of public feedback from Wolseley residents.
“The good thing about that neighbourhood is there’s a lot of people who
cycle in that area of the city,” he said. “It has the highest cycling
In 2018, the city budgeted $250,000 for the preliminary design of bike
routes along Wolseley and Westminster avenues.
*New York state of mind needed for downtown *
THE envy washed over me like a bucket of cold water. It was a hauntingly
temperate Wednesday evening, and New York City’s legendary Times Square was
fulfilling my every expectation. It buzzed and throbbed and shimmered and
Panhandlers in Marvel and Disney costumes lurched about, attempting to lure
tourists into costly photo opportunities. Spoken-word artists pleaded their
case as well, asking for any denomination of donation in exchange for some
spontaneous free verse. Amateur photographers mixed with working stiffs
passing through the intersection trying to escape the working day.
In case you haven’t visited NYC lately, Times Square is no longer just an
intersection. It’s a pedestrian plaza where automobiles are limited and
pedestrians dominate. The result is a potpourri of humanity, strangers
loitering, strolling and consuming the heartbeat of one of the world’s
The pedestrian plazas started out in 2009 as an experiment by then-mayor
Michael Bloomberg, who announced several lanes of traffic on Broadway from
42nd Street to 47th Street would be closed on a trial basis. The same thing
was done in Herald Square, at the intersection of Broadway and Sixth Avenue
(Avenue of the Americas) between 33rd and 35th streets.
Bloomberg’s plan was part urbanist nirvana, part environmental statement,
with a dash of traffic safety thrown in. The famed intersection had become
a giant parking lot, where motor vehicles sat in endless gridlock. When
traffic did flow, it was often interrupted by a violent meeting between
pedestrian — forced from the overpopulated sidewalks into traffic — and
vehicle. It was one of the most unsafe intersections in the city.
Rather than fence or wall in the pedestrians, Bloomberg went all-in on
another solution: limit traffic and give the intersection back to the
pedestrians. His theory was that by making Times Square less of an option
for cars and trucks, it would be safer for pedestrians, and in the process
create a more engaging meeting place for visitors and residents.
Initially, lanes of Broadway were just blocked off. The city put clutches
of plastic patio furniture at various spots along the deactivated roadway
to function as makeshift meeting places. After a period of initial
skepticism, more and more New York decision makers bought into Bloomberg’s
vision. Starting in 2010, Bloomberg started a five-year, US$50-million
project to permanently transform Times Square into the pedestrian plaza.
Today, the asphalt has been replaced by art deco-inspired concrete stones.
Small metal discs embedded in those paving stones help reflect the luminous
glow of the enormous video and neon signs that encircle the intersection.
Fifteen-metre-long polished granite benches create small pockets of respite
for visitors trying to escape the torrent of pedestrian traffic. Open-air
cafés and restaurants have added to the ambience.
It truly is a marriage of practical infrastructure and urbanist art. There
are lingering concerns: aggressive panhandling by costumed characters;
security concerns about exposing pedestrians to vehicle-assisted terrorist
attacks; pedestrian traffic that has exceeded even the wildest estimates.
Still, I couldn’t help but wish that Winnipeggers could somehow find their
way into the mindset that led New York to this audacious statement.
There is still an ugly stench surrounding the plebiscite result from last
month’s civic election, which killed plans to reopen Portage and Main to
pedestrians. The plebiscite result has not, however, settled the future of
Major concerns exist about the state of the underground concourse. Repairs
to the membrane that separates above ground precipitation from below ground
concourses may turn out to be so significant that pedestrian barriers will
have to be removed as part of the repair process.
It will take years to figure out what has to be done, how much it will cost
and what will happen to the barriers. If we’re lucky, the mayor and council
will use that as an opportunity to rethink the intersection and surrounding
This isn’t about taking another run at reopening the intersection.
Winnipeggers drove a stake through that idea, although “no” votes were
mostly predicated on misunderstanding, or outright misinformation, about
the consequences of reopening the intersection.
Even so, that does not mean city council should not consider some other
ideas of Bloombergian magnitude.
I wrote a column some time back about cities around the world that have
created pedestrian malls, platforms and bridges above busy intersections.
Although much more expensive than the simple streetscaping the Team Open
forces advocated in the plebiscite campaign, it is a project that could be
more transformative for all of downtown.
And if Portage and Main proves to be a no-go zone for transformative
change, then perhaps local government could look at creating a permanent
pedestrian mall west of Main that encompasses Albert and Arthur streets
from Notre Dame north to McDermot, and ultimately to Bannatyne and Old
Market Square. It does not solve the nagging ugliness of pedestrian
barriers at our signature intersection, but it would still be cool.
The most important point here is for city hall to continue to look for
ideas to enhance and transform downtown.
The plebiscite result was disappointing for all those who saw an
opportunity to change downtown for the better. That defeat should not
become an excuse for neglecting the future of the intersection and the
neighbourhood that surrounds it.
*Please share with your networks! Thank you!*
[image: Social Media Photo.png]
Green Action Centre invites parents, guardians, and community members to
join them for a free information session on active school travel and
independent mobility by their Active and Safe Routes to School program and
two guest speakers, Katharina Nuss (Free Range Parenting Petition) and
Tanya Hoover. Guests will learn about the Active and Safe Routes to School
program, the benefits of walking and cycling to school, strategies for
overcoming common barriers, and more.
- 6:00-6:45 pm – doors open, refreshments served, and community
- 6:45-8:00 pm – presentations by Green Action Centre, Tanya Hoover, and
Katharina Nuss, followed by Q&A
- 8:00-8:30 pm – Final discussion and community networking
- 8:30 pm – Event concluded
Encouraging your child to walk or bike to school is an important part of
living a healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle. We strongly encourage you
to join us in this movement!
The space is limited to 40 participants. If you have any questions
regarding the event, please contact Heather at (204) 925-3777 ext 107 or
*Heather Mitchell *
Green Action Centre <http://www.greenactioncentre.ca/> | 3rd floor, 303
(204) 925-3777 ext 107
Green Action Centre is your green living hub.
Support our work by becoming a member
<http://greenactioncentre.ca/support/become-a-member/>. Donate at
The 7th Annual Winter Cycling Congress is coming to Calgary February 6-8,
2019. We invite all interested participants to submit a proposal to help us
create an exciting conference program.
This year we want to explore how winter cycling contributes to building an
accessible, equitable and resilient city. Northern cities have a lot to
learn from one another and we look forward to sharing best practices and
learnings (success and failures) on how to support winter policies for
transportation, recreation and overall citizen wellbeing.
We have a number of session formats including:
- Breakout Sessions (practitioner and academic)
- Workshop or Panel Discussion
- Mobile Tour
- Pecha Kucha
November 16, 2018- Deadline to submit proposals
December 7, 2018- Presenters notified
Learn more and submit a conference proposal at calgary.ca/wcc2019