*Strategy would re-prioritize active transportation routes *
* Extra $1M suggested for snow clearing *
A LONG-DELAYED report identifying new priorities for snow clearing and ice
control within the city’s active transportation network will recommend
spending nearly $1 million on changes when it finally sees the light of day
The winter maintenance strategy report is now up on the City of Winnipeg’s
website and will be discussed May 1 at the next standing policy committee
on infrastructure renewal and public works.
Coun. Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert) originally requested the
report in March 2016 when she was chairwoman of public works. After seven
extensions, the public service came back with its findings.
Cheryl Anderson, the city’s acting manager of street maintenance, is the
report’s main author. Her department recommends spending about $933,000
next winter on re-prioritizing roadways, sidewalks and active
transportation pathways to provide a connected pedestrian and cycling
winter maintenance network.
Subsequent annual spending on the re-prioritized network would be about
$835,000 plus inflation, according to the report.
“Efforts have been put into place that, when new infrastructure is being
planned, to recognize these future design requirements and connectivity,”
Anderson wrote about what the city has been doing since it approved its
transportation master plan in 2011 and adopted pedestrian and cycling
strategies in 2015.
“Winter season has been an entirely different challenge, as citizens find
many of these new active transportation routes disconnected or not
maintained,” she said.
Many Winnipeggers were frustrated after a large snow dump in March left
some people stranded in their homes due to poorly cleared sidewalks. Some
people who use wheelchairs were forced to travel on city streets in order
to get around.
But the public works report is about much more than fallout from a single
snowstorm, said Anders Swanson, executive director
of Winnipeg Trails Association.
“After a long wait, this is a small step in the right direction. (The
report) needs to pass so we can get going, but this report does not yet
address the most crucial aspect: reliability,” Swanson said.
“Walking, cycling, no matter what your ability, can be the most reliable
and resilient forms of transport year round, but they have different design
needs than cars. The report mentions that but then doesn’t fully address
Swanson thinks the city’s snow removal timing should be sped up, another
move not directly mentioned in the report. The current clearing policy is
to have all top-priority roadways and adjacent sidewalks and paths cleared
within 36 hours of a snowfall ending.
“For people pushing strollers, riding bikes or using wheelchairs, that’s
just not practical. Think about this: if I am in a wheelchair and I can’t
get to work on Monday or even get to the bus — which happens way too often—
who is going to call my boss to tell them, ‘Sorry, but maybe he’ll be in by
Wednesday?’” he said. Identifying the streets that aren’t priority one for
cars but may be top priority for pedestrians or cyclists is an important
distinction laid out in the review, said Mark Cohoe, director of Bike
Winnipeg, who was pleased with the first iteration of the report and its
related ward maps.
“It’s a step forward for sure. I think there’s a few tweaks that we’ll
probably recommend and a few clarifications, too.”
Cohoe pointed to the North Assiniboine Parkway and foot bridges around
Omand’s Creek as areas that could use more attention.
If the public service’s report recommendations are approved by the public
works committee on Tuesday, the changes will still need to get the green
light from the executive policy committee and city council.
*Beth McKechnie* | Workplace Commuter Options
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Keeping the cycle going
UMCycle kiosk open for first full summer season
The crew at the University of Manitoba’s new bike kiosk is gearing up to
get cyclists on the road this spring.
The UMCycle kiosk, located behind the Active Living Centre in the Migizii
Agamik Plaza on the Fort Garry campus, officially opened on April 23 for
its first full summer season since the grand opening in September 2017.
[image: Anna Weier, manager of UM Cycle, is pictured in the bike kiosk
located on the Fort Garry campus. The community bike shop officially opened
for the season on April 23.]
DANIELLE DA SILVA - SOU'WESTER
Anna Weier, manager of UM Cycle, is pictured in the bike kiosk located on
the Fort Garry campus. The community bike shop officially opened for the
season on April 23.
The nearly $294,000 kiosk and courtyard space provides community and campus
members free access to resources related to bike repair and maintenance.
During opening hours, tools are available for cyclists to do their own
repairs, staff and volunteer mechanics are on hand Thursday afternoons to
walk cyclists through more complex jobs, and new and used parts are also
available to purchase from the kiosk.
The bike shop is operated by the University of Manitoba Students’ Union and
received funding from the City of Winnipeg, federal government, and the
Anna Weier, manager of UMCycle, said the initial reception to the shop —
which operates out of retrofitted shipping container — has been positive
and she’s looking forward to a busy cycling season in Fort Garry.
"We definitely have a lot of people who come from outside of the U of M
campus," Weier said. "Last year, we were just feeling things out, so our
hours were probably not very helpful to people who live off campus because
we were open only in the middle of the day, when most people were at work.
"But even still we had kids coming by to get their bikes fixed and other
people who live in the community who are not at work during the day, and
this year we’re hoping accommodate that even more because our hours are
extending into the evening and the weekend."
The kiosk is currently staffed with two full time and two casual employees,
based on need, and also has a large volunteer complement. When the UMCycle
folks aren’t helping out stranded riders, they also run bike repair
workshops for community groups and refurbish abandoned or salvaged bikes.
Bikes that are left on campus will be headed to the kiosk, along with
frames rescued from the dump, where they will be repaired by UMCycle staff
and sold at the U of M for $50 to $250 to support the program.
"We’re operating as a social enterprise so we’re trying to make enough
money to cover our costs. Whatever money we make goes back into our
operations," Weier said.
Community members also have an opportunity to build their own bike through
UMCycle. For a suggested donation of $50 (or pay-what-you can), people can
draw on the experience of UMCycle staff and volunteers and build a bike
with used (and some new) parts.
"So people can have a good bike that’s not super expensive and also to help
us cover our costs so we can continue operating," she said.
A few additional grants have also allowed the bike repair shop to increase
its footprint this summer. The U of M, UMSU, and the faculty of
architecture along with others have supported a $35,000 expansion that will
see new storage, work, rest, and display areas constructed by fourth year
environmental design students. A signage and wayfinding component will also
be part of the project.
Lancelot Coar, an associate professor of architecture at the U of M, is
leading students through the design-build project, which sees them actually
take up hammer and nail to bring their visions to reality.
"Because we’re in Migizii Agamik Plaza, we worked very closely with the
elders at Migizii Agamik to develop signage that incorporates both
traditional land use, traditional names of landforms, locations and sites,
with contemporary maps of the city and city and campus resources," Coar
"So it’s trying to link the idea of Indigenous community interest and
perspectives with the idea of active transportation, and also helping to
enhance the students’ perspective of what matters when they’re designing."
The expansion is expected to be finished by the end of summer.
The kiosk is open Mondays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday to Saturday 11:30
a.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more information about UMCycle and a full schedule of
programs, go to http://umsu.ca/businesses/umcycle
[image: UM Cycle’s bike kiosk located on the Fort Garry campus officially
opened for the season on April 23.]
The City of Winnipeg has launched a new online registry that should
increase the likelihood of lost bicycles being returned to their owners.
Bike owners in the city could already register their bicycles by mail, but
now the city has added an online option. All bike registrations made using
the mail service have been transferred to the online database, according to
a press release.
"(The online bike registry) is something I've been looking forward to for a
long time," Marcia Fifer, Winnipeg's business licensing co-ordinator, said
at Monday's launch.
There is a one-time fee of $6.60 (GST included) when someone first
registers. Users can upload photos of their bikes and several can be
registered to one household. No payment is required for the return of a
Fifer told reporters that the registry cost the city a couple of thousand
dollars to create.
The registry went online at 9 a.m. Monday.
The city recovers an estimated 1,000 bikes each year, but less than 10 per
cent are returned to their owners, according to the city.
More than 2,800 bikes were reported stolen in 2017, but Winnipeg police —
partners in the new online initiative — suspect that number to be low
because of thefts that aren't reported, said Insp. Chody Sutherland, who
noted police often find bikes before they're reported stolen.
"We may recover the bike overnight, while it's being used in another
offence, or it's been abandoned after it's been stolen before homeowners
may notice the bike is actually even missing," she said.
Officers all have access to an app in their cruiser cars that grants them
access to the online registry anytime.
"If you're listed on the registry in advance, we can return the bike almost
immediately," Sutherland said, adding if police can't find the owner, the
bike will be put in storage.
Bicycles in storage that go unclaimed are auctioned off by the city. The
Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub (WRENCH), a non-profit
organization that builds, repairs and makes bikes accessible to youth, is
partnering with the city to ensure the bikes are ready to ride.
This year's auction is Saturday and Sunday morning at the Terry Sawchuk
Arena on Kimberly Avenue.
There will be about 700 bikes available for the public to bid on. Police
hope the online registry will mean fewer bikes are auctioned in the future,
People should continue reporting thefts since being on the registry isn't
enough and reporting thefts helps the police see patterns and come up with
strategies, Sutherland said.
Bikes can be registered online at winnipeg.ca/bikeregistry. Lost or stolen
bikes can be reported to the police through its non emergency line or
online through the citizen online reporting system.
Hmmm, perhaps we could do the same in Kildonan Park?
“Our parks are for people, not cars,” De Blasio said in a statement. “For
more than a century, cars have turned parts of the world’s most iconic park
into a highway. Today we take it back. We are prioritizing the safety and
the health of the millions of parents, children and visitors who flock to
* Former NYC official touts pedestrian-friendly changes *
* Remove downtown barricades: planner *
TRAFFIC-snarled New York City took cars off the road at Times Square
without causing carmageddon, so there’s no reason pedestrians shouldn’t be
able to cross Portage and Main in Winnipeg, says New York’s former
“Moving people off of streets is really 1950s thinking,” Janette Sadik-Khan
said Monday. “And to put them underground? We’re not rats. We’re wanting to
get people on the streets. Cars don’t shop, people shop.”
Critics of the idea of reopening the intersection at Portage Avenue and
Main Street and allowing pedestrians to walk across instead of using
underground tunnels have said it will create traffic gridlock on one of the
busiest intersections in the Manitoba capital.
Sadik-Khan said the same fears were heard in New York when officials
decided to transform about four kilometres of Broadway, including closing
it completely to traffic at Times Square, to make it more
In its place are pedestrian plazas and spaces, as well as more bike lanes.
The changes have also resulted in improving motorist travel times on other
streets while reducing motorist and pedestrian injuries and increasing
pedestrian volumes, Sadik-Khan said.
“The strategy isn’t to get cars as fast as possible from A to B, it’s to
get everyone around... cities have learned when you add more lanes you
don’t increase traffic flow. After 50 years, we know this strategy doesn’t
work. Nobody says we will solve obesity by increasing your belt size,” she
Sadik-Khan was commissioner of the New York City Department of
Transportation from 2007 to 2013 under then mayor Michael Bloomberg. These
days she works at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy agency
established by the former mayor. Her role is to travel the world helping
mayors and city planners make citizen-friendly improvements to street
Winnipeggers should embrace pedestrians crossing their city’s iconic
intersection instead of fearing it, she said, while praising Mayor Brian
Bowman and city council for making moves to open Portage and Main to
City council approved a plan last October for more studies, cost estimates
and another vote on removing the barricades that were erected in the late
1970s as part of an agreement with six adjacent property owners to move
“I think it’s wonderful you’re looking at opening Portage and Main to
pedestrians. It’s where everybody goes to celebrate — especially a Stanley
Cup,” she said.
Sadik-Khan and other transportation experts are in Winnipeg to participate
in the inaugural Mode Shift festival of human-scale cities, which aims to
explore transportation, culture and health.
Anders Swanson, Mode Shift’s program director and executive director of
Winnipeg Trails, said transportation issues should be about more than just
cars and trucks.
“The way we move, especially how we want to move, is changing fast,”
Swanson said. “This event is about how to make that transition a good one,
a quick one, one where we end up with more patios, more bike lanes, more
jobs, more money and, well, all-round happier people. This is about fixing
our roads for good.
“Our streetscape should be our landscape, but it isn’t when we put machines
there... freeways don’t make a city. No one has ever come back from France
with a postcard of a freeway.”
Herbert Tiemens, a Dutch road design expert and bicycle policy adviser to
the Kingdom of Netherlands, said whenever he comes to North America, he
hears something he doesn’t hear in his country.
“I’m always amazed about the noise of the traffic and how hard it is to
cross streets,” Tiemens said. “In the Netherlands, we abandoned jaywalking
and allowed people to cross everywhere on the street. People were doing it
already. We’ve made other changes for pedestrians and it has worked very
“People don’t want to go back to what it was before.”
Very interesting article in light of the recent case in Vancouver (
* * * * *
* New Utah legislation says giving well-cared for, mature kids freedom
isn’t neglectful *
* More states pushing for free-range parenting laws *
SALT LAKE CITY— After Utah passed the United States’ first law legalizing
so-called free-range parenting, groups in states from New York to Texas are
pushing for similar steps to bolster the idea supporters say is an antidote
for anxiety-plagued parents and overscheduled kids.
Free-range parenting is the concept that giving kids the freedom to do
things alone — like explore a playground or ride a bike to school — makes
them healthier, happier and more resilient.
It surfaced nearly a decade ago, when Lenore Skenazy touched off a
firestorm with a column about letting her then-nine-year-old son ride the
New York City subway alone. Since then, she’s become a vocal advocate for
Critics say letting kids strike out on their own can expose them to serious
dangers, from criminals to cars. Parents have been investigated by
child-welfare authorities in several high-profile cases, including a
Maryland couple who allowed their six- and 10-year-old children to walk
home alone from a park in 2015.
But lawmakers and policy groups in several states say the protective
pendulum has swung too far, and it’s time to send a message that parents
who raise their children in a healthy environment can grant them more
Utah’s new law specifies that it isn’t neglectful to let well-cared-for
children travel to school, explore a playground or stay in the car alone if
they’re mature enough to handle it.
Free-range parenting differs from the concept of latchkey kids, or those
who take care of themselves after school, in that it generally emphasizes
getting kids outside in the neighbourhood as a way to develop independence,
Boston-based clinical psychologist Bobbi Wegner said.
Fears about letting kids make their own way date, at least in part, to
cases like Etan Patz, who was among the first missing children pictured on
milk cartons after disappearing while he walked to his New York City bus
stop alone in 1979.
Meanwhile, as education has become more essential in the workforce, parents
are increasingly eager to give their kids a leg up with lessons in
everything from coding to cello.
“We sign our kids up for all these activities — tutoring, different things
— to create this perfect resumé from a very young age, but it’s really at a
detriment to the kid’s mental health,” Wegner said. While giving kids
independence with parent oversight helps, it’s hard for adults to escape
pressure to hover, she said.
“Parents need permission to do this,” Wegner said. A self-avowed free-range
parent, she said a police officer once knocked on her door and threatened
to call child services after seeing her then-3½-old son standing at the end
of the driveway talking to neighbourhood kids. She’d like to see
Massachusetts follow Utah’s lead.
In New York, Democratic state assemblyman Phil Steck said he’s gearing up
to introduce a similar proposal.
“When I was a child, you let your dogs and your children out after
breakfast and... they had to be home for dinner,” he said. “I felt I gained
a lot more from just playing on the street than my children did from being
in organized sports activities.” It’s an idea that cuts across the
ideological spectrum. Brandon Logan with the conservative Texas Public
is working with lawmakers for a bill next year.
“We expect adults to be independent, and we expect parents to raise their
children to be independent, and you can’t do that whenever children are
being micromanaged,” Logan said. A conservative group is also pushing for a
bill in Idaho, and an Arkansas lawmaker whose effort failed plans to bring
it back again.
They’re all taking a close look at Utah’s law, which sailed through the
legislature andwas signed by the governor of the majority-Mormon state
known for big families andwide-open spaces. It doesn’t specify how old kids
should be to do things alone, which lawmakers say will allow authorities to
weigh each case separately.
Discretion like that is important, said Stephen Hinshaw, a University of
California, Berkeley psychology professor. Not every child is ready to ride
their bike alongside busy roads, and participating in things like music
lessons can teach them important skills.
“Parents have to be smart about what is helping foster self-reliance and
what is putting kids in a dangerous spot,” he said.
Amy Coulter, a stay-at-home Utah mom of four girls and a boy, said she
doesn’t call herself a free-range parent. But she does avoid intervening
with teachers on her older kids’ grades and encourages her kids use their
own money to buy things at the grocery store.
“I want them to know that they’re capable,” she said of her children, who
range in age from five to 14.
In her Lehi neighbourhood, kids often roam the block “snack-hopping” at
Recent Utah transplant Krista Whipple said she’s liked the concept of
free-range parenting for years, but it was tough to practise it in her old
Los Angeles neighbourhood, when most kids stayed behind fences.
“I didn’t want to raise my kids all cooped up, but it always made me think
twice,” said Whipple, a program manager at a St. George youth homeless
shelter who has two boys and a girl who are three, four and six.
“Kids are not in constant danger, and it’s OK to let them outside, and it’s
OK... to let them get lost,” she said. “They’ll find their way home.”
— The Associated Press