* New transportation manager takes helm *
* Aims to restore trust following south Wilkes corridor controversy *
CITY hall’s new manager of transportation realizes he’s got his work cut
out for him.
David Patman is heading up the public works division that took a public
beating in the fall over the controversial south Wilkes corridor project.
“There was a lot of talk in themedia about how projects were being managed,
about how transportation was interacting with other departments and
stakeholders,” said Patman, 39. “I think we’re in the process of rebuilding
trust and making sure everyone has a comfort level with the department.”
Patman was in charge of Winnipeg Transit’s eastern transit corridor study
for the past year before moving to the public works department two weeks
He was introduced to councillors on the public works committee Friday,
where he juggled double duties: briefing the committee on the eastern
transit corridor study, and then hearing their beefs about the backlog of
studies his transportation division has yet to do.
Patman’s predecessor, Luis Escobar, had been with the city for 18 years
when he unexpectedly gave notice at the end of August and left in October,
just as trouble was about to tear through the division. Staff was openly
criticized by city hall’s chief administrative officer, Doug Mc Neil, and
the public works chairman, Coun. Marty Morantz, for developing what was
derisively described as the “rogue” corridor route through Charleswood.
While there were suggestions Mc-Neil and Morantz had ignored reports, it
was the staff who were thrown under the bus and two senior planners
subsequently left. Patman faces multiple tasks: restoring public trust and
rebuilding staff confidence and the department.
“People in my department do very good work. They take their work seriously.
They’re very professional,” Patman said. “I just want to make sure everyone
is aware of this.”
Patman, married, is originally from southern Ontario. He moved to Canada
with his family at the age of three from Liverpool, and still retains a
trace of the English accent.
Patman’s background includes working for a private engineering consulting
firm and the City of Calgary’s transportation department. He’d been with
Transit, in various roles, since September 2013.
He’s also a hobby farmer, who for the past six years has been raising five
alpacas on a small acreage in Anola.
Patman oversees about 70 planners in the transportation division. They are
responsible for street design; collecting data on vehicular, pedestrian and
cycling traffic; dealing with improvements to intersections; designing bike
paths; and overseeing traffic signals.
He stresses collaboration as the key to success, within his department and
others, with politicians and the public.
“You want to make sure when you have a concept, we want to get people
excited about it and try
something dynamic and different, that everyone is on the same page and
moving in the same direction, that it’s not going to hit a roadblock
internally before it can get implemented.”
Escobar hadareputation of approaching traffic and transportation issues in
a very conservative manner.
Patman, on the other hand, singles out the innovate approaches of his
former employer, the City of Calgary, with the hint Winnipeggers might see
some of the same.
Patman said Calgary and other cities in North America sometimes deploy a
“pop-up” approach to projects. He thinks a similar approach might work here.
“They say ‘let’s try it and see if it works. If it doesn’t work, we can
take it out.’” Patman said. “I think there’s a lot to be said about those
ideas that are quick wins. It gets people paying attention to what we’re
doing and giving us feedback.”
Patman said Winnipeg has duplicated that process with reverse-angled
parking in the Exchange District. A pilot project involving one street last
summer became permanent and is being considered for other streets.
Patman also wants to put a greater emphasis on active transportation modes:
walking and cycling.
“I know some people believe there is a war on the car, but the question is
if it’s the right (transportation) tool for the right type of trip,” he
“I’m not going to say I’m anti-car, but we need to look at what we can do
to make sure all these different modes work together... and that we’re
thinking about the more sustainable modes, which are the active
transportation — walking, cycling and transit. They all have a role to play
in the transportation mix.”
* Active-transportation strategy delayed eight times*
* Two years and counting… for report *
PRESENTATION of a long-overdue report to the public works committee is
being delayed for an eighth time, leaving active transportation advocates
wondering if they aren’t a priority for the City of Winnipeg.
Coun. Janice Lukes, who represents South Winnipeg-St. Norbert and is the
former chairwoman of the infrastructure renewal and public works committee,
requested a review of the winter maintenance strategy for the city’s active
transportation network (including walking, cycling, wheelchair, in-line
skating, skateboarding and more) in March 2016.
More than two years later, Lukes believes the review is ready, but Mayor
Brian Bowman’s office is delaying its release.
“I am 99 per cent confident the report is done. There’s no way it would
take longer than two years. There’s absolutely no way,” she said. “We just
said, ‘Review the current processes, make recommendations and what would it
cost.’ We didn’t ask them to implement it, so there’s no reason to hold it
“Ultimately, the mayor sets every single standing policy committee agenda.
He determines what goes on that agenda... I was chair of public works. He
always looked to see what was on that agenda.”
The public works committee will receive a report Friday detailing
alternatives for snow clearing, such as adjusting sidewalk-clearing
equipment to cut grass in summer months.
Lukes said she thinks the active transportation report will be presented
Asked about the review’s delay Wednesday, Bowman said his office isn’t
holding it back.
“There’s no truth to that. I’m glad it’s coming forward,” the mayor said.
“The committee has done their work.
“I’m hoping they can look for improvements in quality of service to our
residents. That’s, I think, a good discussion for the community to have and
I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say on it. And I would
expect that at the coming (executive policy committee meeting), we can
weigh in at that point.”
The public works department would not accommodate an interview request
Wednesday, but a spokesperson confirmed it will ask Friday for a 30-day
extension on the report.
It appears at least one community group that was to be consulted while the
report was being compiled
has yet to speak on the matter.
Anders Swanson, executive director of the Winnipeg Trails Association, said
the group has not had anything approaching “meaningful consultation” with
Swanson helped organize a public event last week, Urban Brew —Sidewalks
First, where some 90 people showed up to discuss the seriousness of
Winnipeg’s winter- accessibility problems.
Lukes’ initial motion asked the department work with stakeholders during
consultations, including the Winnipeg Trails Association, Bike Winnipeg,
Manitoban League of Persons with Disabilities, and the City of Winnipeg
active transportation advisory.
“We heard from somebody who can’t even make it to work, just because the
side street in front of their door was not navigable in a wheelchair. We’re
hearing about people being scared for their life having to cross the
Osborne Bridge in a wheelchair. That’s messed up,” Swanson said Wednesday.
“Mobility is a basic human right, especially if you happen to be in a
wheelchair or needing to push a baby in a stroller. It should be one of the
top priorities of our municipal government in general, honestly.”
Mark Cohoe, director of Bike Winnipeg, said his group was consulted about a
year ago, but hasn’t heard anything back about its input.
“I think it does make it hard for us to go out to the public and say, ‘The
city’s looking for your input. Please help us,’ if people know that it’s
potentially meaningless — which is what it feels like when it takes a year
to move from that stage,” Cohoe said.
“It’s disappointing that we’re not moving forward on this (review). We’re a
winter city. There’s no getting around the fact of providing people with
options to walk, to bike, to bus or to drive. We need to make sure that
they’re going to have an accessible route to get to their destinations...
(the delay) tells me that we’re not really a priority.”
— with files from Aldo Santin
We've had to reschedule our event, *From A to B: Employee Wellness and Our
Environment*. The event will now take place on May 2nd!
Green Action Centre and the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ present
*FROM A TO B: EMPLOYEE WELLNESS AND OUR ENVIRONMENT*
*Featuring Keynote Speaker Dr. Larry Frank*
Wednesday, May 2nd | The Alt Hotel
Dr. Frank is a Professor in Sustainable Transportation and Public Health at
the University of British Columbia and President of Urban Design 4 health,
Inc. which builds software tools and documents health impacts of
transportation and land development actions. He specializes in the
interaction between land use, travel behavior, air quality; and health; and
in the energy use, and climate change impacts of urban form policies. He
coined the term “walkability” in the early – mid ’90s; his work led to
WalkScore and has been cited over 24,000 times making him one of the 2 most
cited planning academics. Thompson and Reuters lists him in the top 1%
globally as a highly cited researcher. Dr. Frank has published over 150
peer reviewed articles and reports and co-authored two of the leading books
– *Heath and Community Design* and *Urban Sprawl and Public Health* on
which helped to map out the field emerging at the nexus between built,
natural, and social environments and health. Dr. Frank works directly with
local, regional, provincial or state, and federal agencies and developers
to help translate results from leading edge research into practice based
*Mel Marginet* | Workplace Commuter Options
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