Survey says, make city more bike-friendly
SWEEPING the streets in fall, painting roads with bike lanes and increasing
public awareness of infrastructure developments to roads and bike lanes
were among a list of recommendations Wednesday from CAA Manitoba, about a
month and a half before October’s civic election.
The recommendations stem from the concerns respondents found most pressing
in a June survey conducted by Probe Research.
In that poll, which surveyed 600 Winnipeg adults regarding cycling and
driving issues, 59 per cent of respondents said road maintenance is poor
and 36 per cent said lane-painting and signage needed improvement. Only
three per cent said the city was doing a “very good job” maintaining road
surfaces for vehicles, while only eight per cent were satisfied with lane
paint and signage.
“That’s not news to us,” said Liz Kulyk, CAA Manitoba’s corporate manager
of government and community relations at a media event near the soonto-
be-complete protected bike lane at the intersection of Ferry Road and St.
Matthews Avenue. She said the poll results and recommendations are things
“anybody who’s elected to city hall in October should be looking at.”
Kulyk said the 2015 cancellation of the fall street sweep program has led
to an accumulation of material along city curbs, creating a dangerous
situation for cyclists and forcing them further into traffic. She also said
such accumulation leads to pavement degradation. Reinstating that program
would create a better situation for both cyclists and vehicles, she said.
The organizations also suggested starting spring sweeping earlier.
Regarding signage and road demarcations, the organizations recommend
putting roads with bike lanes first when it comes time to repaint, painting
directional arrows on all painted bike lanes, using more high-visibility
green paint at high-volume intersections, more consistency in “drivers
yield to cyclists” signs and adding an option for citizens to request road
painting through the 311 app.
Bike Winnipeg executive director Mark Cohoe said addressing safety
in the survey means creating roads with protected bike lanes in mind.
“We really want to see this city as a world-class city in terms of biking,”
Cohoe said. In June, an Angus Reid poll found more than three-quarters of
Winnipeggers thought separated bike lanes were a “good idea.”
Other recommendations included a review of the past 10 years of
snow-clearing budgets, revising next year’s budget accordingly and creating
a reserve of funds set aside as a buffer for heavy snow years.
One element present through all recommendations was an emphasis on regular,
targeted education campaigns, as well as significant social-media presence
in order to ensure the public is aware of proper road etiquette and that
people share the road in a safe way. Cohoe and Kulyk also stressed the
merit of consulting the public on infrastructure rehabilitation and
Kulyk said the list of recommendations has been shared with the city and
will be sharedwith all candidates in the upcoming election.
She said the organizations didn’t calculate how much implementing the
recommendations would cost, although she acknowledged it would be an
expensive, yet worthwhile, endeavour.
CAA, Bike Winnipeg push city for transportation improvements
CAA Manitoba and Bike Winnipeg have joined forces to ask the City of
Winnipeg to make a number of improvements to the city's roads and bike
A list of recommendations released Wednesday by the two organizations — one
representing drivers, the other city cyclists — starts with calls
to reinstate the cancelled fall street sweeping program and improve lane
painting on roads with bike lanes.
"Some of these things are small changes that really don't require a big
financial impetus. It's just sort of changing some of the priorities," said
Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg.
The recommendations grew out of concerns identified in a poll conducted by
Probe Research last June.
The poll asked Winnipeggers about their cycling habits, problems they face
and what they wish to see to improve cycling infrastructure in the city.
Among those polled, 59 per cent said road surface maintenance in Winnipeg
is poor, while 36 per cent said lane painting and signage needs improvement.
The city increased its active transportation budget by 31 per cent in 2018,
from $13.2 million to $17.3 million.
It also budgeted $116 million for road renewals in 2018, an increase of $11
million over 2017.
However, that increase was earmarked for a single project: rebuilding
Empress Street between St. Matthews Avenue and Portage Avenue. Money set
aside for new roads and bridges, major repairs and equipment purchases
dropped by $74 million, to $246 million.
While the CAA and Bike Winnipeg recognize that significant improvements to
active transportation have been made, they don't want to lose momentum,
said Liz Kulyk, corporate manager of government and community relations at
"I think the overall theme is they need to continue. They can't ever go
down again," she said.
Wednesday's list of recommendations was the final release in a three-part
series on transportation from CAA and Bike Winnipeg. The first focused on
cycling habits of Winnipeggers, while the second focused on safety concerns.
The full list of recommendations from CAA and Bike Winnipeg is as follows:
- Reinstate the cancelled fall street sweeping program "to address
accumulation of material at curbs that create slippery situations for
cyclists." This forces cyclists farther into vehicle traffic. Leaving the
material on the road also creates issues for drivers, as it degrades the
pavement faster, resulting in more repairs and financial investment over
time, the organizations say.
- Prioritize roads with bike lanes when deciding which ones need lane
- Undertake a proactive community stewardship campaign, empowering
citizens to request lane painting if markings are faded, damaged, missing
- Increase the number of locations with "high visibility" green paint
that warns users of conflict points, such as sidewalks, driveways and
intersections, by 25 per cent.
- Commit to investigating and consulting with the public on options such
as reducing residential speed limits or adding traffic calming measures on
main cycling routes by 2019.
- Commit to purchasing social media advertising about new facilities
that require behavioural changes, such as the no-right-on-red signs
installed along the McDermot/Bannatyne bike lane corridor.
The recommendations have been forwarded to city administration and the
City spokesperson Tamara Forlanski said the city is currently constructing
multiple cycling improvements which include protected bike lanes.
Investing in pedestrian movement pays off
WALKING is good for you, and good for the economy. Cities across North
America are investing in infrastructure to encourage walking in urban
neighbourhoods as a way of improving health, accessibility, quality of life
and safety while promoting urban renewal and economic growth.
Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton, cities that Winnipeg competes with for
investment, tourism and immigration, all have official pedestrian
strategies to guide policy, increase pedestrian numbers and make those
cities better places to walk. In contrast, Winnipeggers are voting on the
idea of keeping concrete walls, in the heart of our city, that have
intentionally repelled pedestrians for four decades.
The key principles of designing an urban area to be walkable are creating
direct and simple pedestrian connections along a network of diverse
destinations, as well as establishing physically interesting and
comfortable places to walk that feel safe and promote social interaction.
Walkability has been quantified by the website walkscore.com using a
100-point scale that measures pedestrian connectivity and distances to
employment, education and other amenities. A significant body of research
has proven that when neighbourhood walkability increases, so does
desirability, and in turn residential property values and the tax base.
A national study in the U.S., conducted by CEOs for Cities, found that a
one per cent improvement in Walk Score resulted in a residential property
value increase of up to US$3,000. It was found that in higher-density areas
such as downtown, this benefit was even greater, as people attracted to
urban living more often seek a lifestyle that allowswalking to be a central
mode of transportation.
In Winnipeg, we have recognized this trend and have spent a lot of effort
over the past decade trying to improve active transportation and livability
in downtown to create an urban neighbourhood that attracts residential
development. We have constructed bike lanes, plazas and parks, installed
public art and new lighting, narrowed side streets and widened and improved
The strategy is working. The population of downtown is nearing 18,000,
double what it once was, and the Exchange District population has grown
from 250 at the turn of this century to more than 2,500 today.
Increased walkability in urban centres has also been connected to growth in
commercial property values. In a study conducted by the universities of
Arizona and Indiana, it was found that a 10 per cent increase in the
walkability of a business district was associated with an increase of up to
eight per cent in commercial real estate values.
A Brookings Institution study focusing on Washington, D.C., found that
office buildings in areas of good walkability commanded on average almost
US$9 per square foot more in commercial rent. In Winnipeg, a number of
businesses relocating from Portage and Main to True North Square, a
development centred around public space designed for pedestrians, is an
example of how vibrancy and walkability can create an image and that is
attractive to commercial tenants.
The economic benefits of walkability also extend to the retail sector. The
same Brookings study discovered an increase of almost US$7 per squarefoot
in walkable-area retail rents. It has been found that pedestrians in urban
centres shopmore often, more locally and spend more money over time than
commuting drivers do.
Numerous case studies from cities around the world demonstrate that making
improvements in a city centre to promote growth in walkability and
pedestrian numbers can significantly increase retail activity. Hillsborough
Street in Raleigh, N.C., was once the state’s most dangerous street for
pedestrians, and has now been transformed into a walkable, complete street,
attractingmore than US$200 million in new development and increasing retail
sales by more than 30 per cent.
Design improvements to increase walkability and improve the pedestrian
experience on Washington, D.C.’s struggling Barracks Rowattracted 44 new
retail businesses and created 200 new jobs. Melbourne, Australia,
implemented a 10-year plan to pedestrianize its downtown, which resulted in
a 39 per cent increase in foot traffic, an 800 per cent increase in the
downtown population and a 275 per cent increase in the number of sidewalk
A final way in which walkability can be good for the economy was
highlighted in an intriguing study completed in Auckland, New Zealand,
which looked at the correlation between pedestrianconnectivity and business
productivity. It studied the concept of agglomeration economies, in which
businesses that locate near one another benefit from the cost reductions
and gains in efficiency that result from this proximity.
Pedestrian connectivity between businesses was shown to inspire more
face-to-face contact, chance meetings, knowledge sharing and idea exchange
outside of the office environment, stimulating greater business creativity
and innovation. Improved pedestrian access to services, clients and
complementary businesses, particularly for knowledge and creative
industries, was found to be a key driver of labour productivity.
The study mapped buildings, employment densities and pedestrian travel
patterns to determine how well connected each business was to other
businesses. This was then compared to each firm’s productivity (goods and
services delivered per hour). The study concluded that there is a positive
and significant correlation between walkability and business productivity.
It determined that a 10 per cent increase in walkability for a business
location resulted in a 5.3 per cent increase in labour productivity, and if
downtown could be made one per cent more walkable overall, it would add
NZ$42 million per year to Auckland’s economy.
Cities around the world are looking at pedestrians as the drivers of modern
urban economies. Those responding to this change today, by making planning
decisions that remove barriers to pedestrians and effectively translate
walking into economic growth, will be the leaders of tomorrow.
*Brent Bellamy is a senior design architect for Number Ten Architectural
Colourful Exchange District project shows signs of distress
Bike lanes peel after summer sunburn
LESS than two months after artists put their mark on Exchange District bike
lanes, and even before some of them have opened, the paint has started to
Some bike-lane paintings have already started chipping, and the bright
blues, greens and pinks have faded.
The City of Winnipeg and Exchange District BIZ partnered with artists to
paint new bike lanes downtown this summer. The $5,000 price tag is part of
the $4-million budget for the Bannatyne and Mc Dermot avenues protected
bike-lane project. The city is paying 60 per cent, and the federal
government is paying the rest.
“The project is an example of ‘tactical urbanism,’ which aims to make urban
areas more lively and enjoyable,” city spokeswoman Michelle Finley said.
“The area was targeted for this project because of the Exchange District’s
engaging arts and culture community, and it was deemed to be an excellent
way to highlight the additional bike infrastructure in the area.”
The industrial paint is similar to that of road-marking paint. A non-slip
additive was mixed in so it wouldn’t endanger pedestrians or cyclists.
Finley said it was expected to “last for some time.”
When asked for a more specific life expectancy, she said a number of
factors can influence a paint’s longevity, and the city will be monitoring
the paint and its durability. “It would be premature to put a detailed time
frame on it, other than to say we expect it will last more than one season.”
Each artist had two days to complete their mural using buckets of
industrial and exterior-grade paint in shades of blue, green and pink. The
first group of artists finished their murals during the last days of June.
The second set of artists completed the work in mid-July, BIZ director
David Pensato said.
“The idea was to have it be temporary and a thing to launch the bike lanes
and the back-in angle parking,” Pensato said.
It is unclear whether it is legal to use permanent paint on roads.
Winnipeg artist Pat Lazo painted a strip of the bike lane on Bannatyne
Avenue from King to Princess streets. Lazo said he was part of the first
group of artists to paint the street murals.
“It was a great opportunity; I think we need more projects like it, but I
think they need to be better executed,” Lazo said Thursday, after taking a
look at his chipped mural.
The artist said he expected the paint to chip since his canvas was a street.
However, Lazo was surprised to see the bike lane he painted was still
surrounded by barricades on Thursday. “It would’ve been better if I painted
(it) two days before it opened,” he said.
Lazo, who was paid $500, said he normally paints murals on outdoor walls
after doing more prep work, such as power-washing and degreasing. For the
bike lane project, he washed and swept the surface.
“It’s a street, it’s not going to last forever, but at the same time… there
is prep that you can do so it’ll last longer.”
Mark Penner was cycling on the street, parallel to the bike lane on
Bannatyne Avenue on Thursday because Lazo’s colourful mural was blocked off.
The cyclist, who is also a professional painter, said the paint job is “a
really nice idea,” but the timing was off.
Penner said he was somewhat shocked to see the paint already chipping,
since he saw artists painting the lanes a few weeks ago. He said it
would’ve made more sense to paint the lanes after construction. It would’ve
helped had the lanes been painted in cooler weather, he said.
“When you apply paint to a surface that’s too hot, it flash-dries and
doesn’t have time to adhere,” Penner said, adding paint shouldn’t be
applied outside the 10 C to 30 C range. The paint’s adhesive qualities are
limited if there is dust on a surface, he added.
On June 27, the day Lazo painted his mural, it was 28 C. The artist said
there were also piles of dust on the lane that couldn’t be removed after
Around the corner from the bike lane mural, Arnold Thiessen, manager of
Interior Illusions on Princess Street, said Thursday he thinks the project
was a “complete waste of money” and the money could have been better spent.
Business owners criticize changes
Exchange redesign puts priority on cycling lanes
A RECENT redesign in the Exchange District is making cycling in the city
more accessible, but not all Winnipeggers are cheerful about the changes.
In addition to new protected bike lanes, the City of Winnipeg has installed
a number of no-right-on-red signs along Mc Dermot and Bannatyne avenues
downtown. The installation of special traffic lights for cyclists along
those two streets in the Exchange is also underway.
The new infrastructure is part of the West Alexander to East Exchange
Corridor project, an initiative to connect Winnipeg’s cycling network
at a $2.6-million
“We’re just relocating some of our road space to give people more
Mark Cohoe of the Bike Winnipeg advocacy group.
Cohoe said the new infrastructure isn’t only about drawing cyclists into
the downtown core, it’s also about catering to pedestrians.
The bike lanes make the streets less daunting to cross because there are
fewer lanes and by making righton- red turns illegal, there will be fewer
collisions with cars, cyclists and people on foot, he said.
The no-right-on-red rule applies to almost 20 new intersections in the
Exchange, and eight sets of traffic lights for cyclists will be installed
over the next two weeks.
The traffic lights will signal a phase for cyclists to proceed into the
intersection before the light turns green for motorists.
Pavement markings and signage will help both cyclists and motorists
navigate the changes safely, city spokeswoman Michelle Finley said in a
“Visually, it’s very daunting right now. That’s my perspective as a
driver,” said Clinton Skibitzky, co-owner of Across the Board Game Café at
the corner of Main Street and Bannatyne Avenue. His perspective as a
business owner, however, is the changes that have taken place in the
Exchange this summer have been negative overall. “It’s been a very
Skibitzky said the majority of his clients aren’t cyclists, so the bike
lanes that have replaced the parking spots outside his store and the
roadway changes are all inconveniencing his customers. (The bike lanes have
pushed the city to create two parking hubs and install angled spots on
certain streets in the district.) Construction on the bike lane on
Bannatyne Avenue started in early June and only recently ended. The city is
also currently finishing up four other bike lane stretches in the area.
For Skibitzky, it’s also been in with the bike lane and out a loading
made incoming beer keg deliveries difficult to say the least, he added.
A number of store owners in the Exchange said constant construction and
parking spots being moved from in front of stores have affected profits
throughout June, July and August.
“In theory (bike lanes are) good, it’s a really positive thing with the
area, but I don’t think it’s really that practical here,” said Mark Turner,
owner of Amsterdam Tea Room. “I really want it to work, but I’m seeing it
not be used very often and, half the time, I’m seeing cyclists use the road
and not the bike lane.”
It might take some time, but Cohoe said everyone will eventually adjust to
the new infrastructure, adding he’s also optimistic foot traffic will
increase in the Exchange going forward.
Erica Mendritzski and some friends were walking down Princess Street for a
lunch date Tuesday. The Winnipegger owns a studio space in the Exchange,
and said she’s pro-bike lane.
“(Cycling) is a healthy form of transportation, it’s better for the
environment and honestly I think that’s the way most cities are headed,”
she said. “It’s important for Winnipeg to catch up.”
Shopkeepers in Exchange claim lack of parking and accessibility harming
Businesses in the Exchange say they are taking a hit to their bottom line
amidst new developments in the area.
Exchange area store owner, Lennard Taylor said business has recently
dropped off as much as 30 percent.
"We're significantly down, this month and the month before," said Taylor.
The culprit, Taylor said is a bike lane built in front of his store that
has wiped away parking spots, driving away frustrated customers.
“All the parking spots we lost in front of our business were crucial to the
businesses in the neighbourhood," said Taylor.
CTV News spoke to other businesses with similar concern, as well as
Nikolina Mandusic found a spot on the street right away this time, but she
said that’s not typical.
"Usually it's pretty awful, especially with the bike lanes it takes a few
circles around," said Mandusic.
She said the lack of parking is a roadblock for shoppers.
"I have friends who hate having to find parking and will actually not
come," said Mandusic.
City Councillor Mike Pagtakan says the problem has been addressed.
More angled parking is being added around the exchange following a
successful pilot project. The city says 170 new spaces are in place in two
“While some people have lost parking in front of their establishments there
is an overall net gain of parking within the Exchange District, it's a
modest gain, not a lot. I think between 45 and 59 spots,” said Pagtakhan.
The Exchange District Biz also said it's working with the city on educating
drivers on how to find the new spots, including when the snow falls.
“If we're asking people to park further away, then we need to get the
sidewalks clear, we've purchased equipment, the city has helped us fund
that.” said Biz Executive Director, David Pensato.
Lennard Taylor believes the bike lanes will bring more business once
they're all opened. He said the lost parking spots should be restored in
the same area by using another lane for parking, turning some of the
one-ways into single lane streets. Taylor supports the bike lanes he just
wants people to park near his store.
"Let's create a walking district and a bike friendly and parking friendly
neighbourhood," said Pensato.
The city says the bike lanes are expected to be up and running by late
There seems to be a lot of negative perspectives published recently about
walking and cycling in Winnipeg, so thought I'd share a snippet from
Vancouver's experience. There will always be push back but it can be
There wasn’t exactly a love fest over biking in the early days. “Bike lanes
were controversial from day one,” Reimer says. “One of the things I’ve is
learned is that people can agree on policy and direction, but the minute a
piece of land comes into play, no matter how small, they get into personal
arguments. I’ve sat in on meetings where people say I believe in childcare
facilities, just not near me. And bike lanes are the environmental
expression of that.”
The bottom line, after years of tough conversations: Vancouver reached its
2020 “active transportation” goal five years early — 50 percent of
commuters now walk, bike or take public transit, up from a baseline of 15
percent in 2007.
According to Doug Smith, the city’s director of sustainability, that
progress has fostered a ‘we can do better’ mindset. “Almost immediately
[after reaching the 2020 target] the engineering department and the
transportation team said we need to think longer term,” says Smith.
The city now has a 2040 Transportation
<http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/transportation-2040-plan.pdf> plan with a
goal of getting to at least two-thirds of all trips by active
transportation. One way the city intends to achieve this goal is by
committing to zero expansion of car capacity, despite projections that
another million people will be living in Greater Vancouver by 2040 (adding
to the current population of 2.5 million).
“All of that growth has to be through, walking, biking and transit. So, if
you’re going to drive, you’re going to be stuck in your car,” says Smith.
*Beth McKechnie* | Workplace Commuter Options
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Neighbourhoods influence health; we should plan accordingly
KEVIN LAM AND JEAN WANG
SINCE John Snow mapped out the large cholera outbreak in London in 1854
relative to where people lived, it has been known that where we live, work
and play strongly influences people’s health. The way our cities and towns
have been built plays a large role in many of the health conditions
Cities such as Montreal and Vancouver have been working to create better
cycling infrastructure and public transit, with the goals of improving the
quality of life and health of their citizens.
It’s a good start, but is it enough?
We need a systemic collaboration between physicians, public health
departments, developers and urban planners to help Canada design the cities
we want — ones that can keep us healthy.
Let’s take obesity as an example.
Among Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD)
countries, Canada has one of the highest prevalence rates of obesity, with
an alarming one in five Canadian adults affected. Yet despite all Canada is
doing to address the lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity, many
public health goals are stubbornly hard to reach and nowhere near close to
targets. Ninety per cent of Canadian children don’t reach the physical
activity recommendations, despite physical inactivity and sedentary
lifestyles being flagged as a priority focus for the Public Health Agency
It can be difficult tomake healthy choices in certain contexts. If our
daily lives are surrounded by cities without green spaces to play or where
public transit is difficult to access, it can be hard to make healthy
choices in spite of all the health promoting.
So what can be done?
Current solutions are heavily focused on changing individual behaviour. A
great deal of funding is spent on promoting exercise, the food guide,
community weight loss programs — all with a focus on individual behaviour.
But evidence demonstrates that social marketing campaigns surrounding
healthy eating and exercise aren’t sufficient to address the problem.
Instead of simply telling people to spend more time exercising, we can
incorporate it into their lives. We could encourage stair use instead of
elevators by making stairs easier to access. We could integrate walking and
biking to work — forms of active transport — or make cities more walkable
This is an area where physicians and public health departments can
collaborate with builtenvironment experts to influence health.
Urban planners are the experts at improving the livability of towns, cities
and regions. Meanwhile, physicians see the downstream effects of a poorly
built environment in their clinics, operating theatres and emergency rooms
every day — from chronic diseases to motor vehicle collisions.
The future of chronic disease and obesity prevention involves professions
working together to generate collaborative solutions — to create better
places to live, play and work.
Many studies have demonstrated that active transport is associated with a
decreased risk of developing chronic illness. Physical activity reduces the
risk of cardiovascular disease, including a reduction in heart attacks,
strokes and heart failure, by up to 11 per cent. Systematic reviews, which
pool the results of multiple studies, also demonstrate that active
transport is associated with a reduced risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and
high blood pressure.
With the many health benefits that can be realized from encouraging more
active transport, health workers have an important role in advocating for
and working with their urban planning colleagues to implement these ideas.
How can we take action?
It’s time for health workers to speak up and get involved to help improve
neighbourhoods for everyone. Urban planners can also help with determining
the health impact of land-use and transport decisions by working with
public health departments.
The good news is that this collaboration is already starting to happen in
Various areas across Canada, including in Toronto, Vancouver and the Region
of Peel, are employing urban planners to examine the impact of different
developments on the health of a community. This means new developments are
being built to encourage more active transportation and existing ones are
being altered to the same end.
The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment has started a
campaign advocating governments to adopt a national active-transport
strategy. Such a strategy was one of the main recommendations in a reported
released by the CPHA-Lancet Countdown Briefing for Canadian policy-makers.
The future of chronic disease and obesity prevention involves working
together to generate collaborative solutions. We need to fight together for
better places in which to live, play and work.
*Jean Wang is a second-year medical student at the University of Ottawa who
has been involved in chronic disease management and prevention research.
Kevin Lam is a second-year medical student at Mc Master University who has
an interest in public health and its intersection with emergency medicine,
with a special focus on improving health through urban design. They are
both contributors to Evidence Network.ca, which is based at the University
— Troy Media