City councillor wants better solution for sidewalk being narrowed in
The city councillor for Winnipeg’s Exchange District would like to see a
better solution for a Main Street sidewalk being narrowed to make way for a
Vivian Santos, who represents the Point Douglas ward, said she learned
about the construction on social media this week.
“It didn't come across my desk,” Santos said a phone call with CTV News
The sidewalk in question, which appears to be shrinking to about half its
size, is located on Main Street near the corner of Bannatyne Avenue.
In an email to CTV News, the city said the new version of the sidewalk is
about 2.2 metres wide and within acceptable accessibility standards for a
“The project was undertaken as a result of a unique situation identified
through feedback received from 211 Bannatyne and its users to ensure a safe
pick-up and drop-off location for families and children using the facility
for music and dance lessons,” the city said.
“Transportation planning in the downtown, given the limited space within
the existing public right-of-way, is a matter of balancing the needs of all
users including pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and sometimes involves
making compromises to achieve an acceptable solution for all users,” the
Located inside 211 Bannantyne Avenue is a dance school, restaurant and
Santos said the issue about a lack of space in the area stems back to 2018
when some on-street parking and loading zones were removed to create bike
Santos said she is familiar with the area and believes other options could
have been explored. She said she would like to meet with the public works
department about the project.
“Safety is always my concern,” Santos said.
The city said the loading zone on Bannatyne was removed in June 2018 when
construction started on the bike lane.
It is anticipated the project will be completed by the end of October, the
*‘Backwards priority system’: Winnipeg Trails Association*
Winnipeg Trails Association executive director Anders Swanson said the move
to narrow the sidewalk is as a result of a ‘backwards priority system’.
“I was really surprised in 2019, Winnipeg is taking away any space for
pedestrians at all. We have a massive wide street, very fast moving cars,”
“We’ve created a city where machines are more important than people walking
He said the association plans to raise the issue at the city’s next active
transportation advisory committee meeting.
“It means you can’t have bike parking, and it makes it more difficult for
people two people to walk side by side,” said Swanson.
“It should be designed for two people in wheelchairs going somewhere,” he
*‘A practical issue’: The School of Contemporary Dancers*
Faye Thomson is the co-director of The School of Contemporary Dancers,
which moved into 211 Bannatyne in the early 2000s.
She said until the bike lanes on Bannatyne were installed in 2018, people
coming to the school used the loading zone on Bannatyne.
When the drop-off disappeared, she said the school requested a meeting with
the city, which was sympathetic to its concerns.
“The solution has nothing to with us. We just have hundreds of kids who
need to unload in a safe unloading zone,” said Thomson in a phone call with
CTV News Sunday.
She said over 100 students a day come to the school because there are
rehearsals up to seven days a week, and some of the students are as young
CTV News asked Thomson about the city councillor for the area wanting a
“I think our view is, we need a safe loading zone that’s on the side of the
building. How they come to that is for their planning department to come up
Thomson said many of the students are supportive of bike lanes. “This is
not a philosophical issue. It’s a practical issue,” Thomson said.
*Building gets loading zone back after bike lane built on side street*
* Narrow sidewalk sparks pedestrian-vehicle conflict *
THE shrinkage of a single sidewalk has led to concern from urban planning
experts and confusion at city hall.
The width of the sidewalk — located at the southbound corner of Bannatyne
Avenue and Main Street, in front of the McKim Building — will be reduced to
2.2 metres from 4.9 metres to make way for a vehicle loading zone.
In 2018, the building’s former loading zone on Bannatyne was converted to
separated bike lanes, leaving tenants without adequate loading space, said
Faye Thomson, co-director of the School of Contemporary Dancers, which
occupies the building’s main floor.
The school reached out to the city’s public works department, stating it
needed a loading zone for vehicles to drop off and pick up students.
“It’s not that we don’t support bike lanes, and I’d like to make that
clear,” Thomson said, adding her organization wasn’t consulted about the
bike lanes or removal of the loading zone. “Philosophically, it wasn’t an
issue, but it was a practical one.”
“The goal of this loading zone is to ultimately ensure a safe pickup and
dropoff location for families and children attending music and dance
lessons at 211 Bannatyne,” a public works department representative wrote
to Coun. Vivian Santos, in a message shared with the Free Press. “While the
impact to the existing sidewalk may seem extensive today... the finished
loading zone will leave the sidewalk with a width that still exceeds the
minimum allowable measurement for the area (1.5 metres).”
However, Santos said she wasn’t notified about the reduced sidewalk width.
If she had, she’d have voiced her concerns.
“This is not what I have been promoting the Exchange District to be: a
pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly neighbourhood,” she said, adding, as area
councillor, normally she is notified about changes to streets and back
lanes. “You don’t see anywhere else in the Exchange with (sidewalks this
narrow) along a main street.
“I hope it doesn’t set a precedent.”
Richard Milgrom, head of the University of Manitoba department of city
planning, agreed: “The message to downtown pedestrians is they aren’t as
important as vehicles. That’s pretty clear.”
Milgrom said sidewalks must be wide enough to not just serve as places for
people to walk: they can be used as social places, with benches or art work
to create more comfortable settings for pedestrians.
“It’s even more complicated for people who use wheelchairs or mobility
scooters,” he added.
Marnie Courage, an occupational therapist and chief executive officer of
Enabling Access Inc., said the loading zone could enhance accessibility for
people with mobility concerns who have access to vehicular transport, but
the reduced width will make it more difficult for wheelchair or mobility
While Winnipeg’s minimum width for sidewalks of this kind is 1.5 metres,
the City of Edmonton’s complete streets design and construction standards
states main street sidewalks should be no narrower than three metres wide.
Milgrom said neither 2.2 metres nor 1.5 metres are wide enough. “Minimum
standards are rarely about quality. They’re usually about making things
tolerable at best. I would argue this is reducing the tolerability.”
A city spokesperson said the restructured sidewalk meets civic standards,
adding: “Transportation planning in the downtown, given the limited space
within the existing public right-of-way, is a matter of balancing the needs
of all users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and sometimes
involves making compromises to achieve an acceptable solution for all
The School of Contemporary Dance and fellow tenant Across the Board Game
Café say the loading zone will help their businesses.
“Basically, we see it as a positive for us,” said Nicholas Mann, the café’s
manager, who says he didn’t reach out to the city to request the change.
“Having the loading zone here for deliveries (will be helpful).”
Mann said, however, he hopes the city did due diligence in assuring the new
sidewalk will be sufficient from pedestrian and accessibility standpoints.
“We as a business would love to see more infrastructure for bikes and
having it accessible for pedestrians, but it’s a tough balancing act
because everything is so congested.”
Santos has requested another meeting with public works about the issue.
*Touted as ideal measure for road strategy*
* Pedestrian scrambles boost safety: city *
PEDESTRIAN scrambles, which are intersections where traffic is stopped in
all directions to allow people to cross any way, including diagonally,
would make Winnipeg streets safer, city traffic engineers say.
Scrambles are used in cities with heavy foot traffic, including Banff,
Alta., and Toronto. The idea is one of several being considered by the City
of Winnipeg as part of its road safety strategy.
“We think this will have an effect on removing the conflict between
pedestrians and motorists,” David Patman, manager of transportation in the
public works department, said during a committee meeting Thursday.
Patman told the public works committee his department has shortlisted a
number of intersections that would be good matches for a scramble.
The city has yet to make location details public or provide a timeline for
the completion of such projects. However, Patman said short-term
engineering safety projects are changes that can be made “right away.”
The cost would be covered by the city’s $2.5-million budget for road safety
measures in 2019.
Pedestrian scrambles aside, Patman said Thursday his team wants to divvy up
funds for strategic planning, data collection, public engagement campaigns
and other engineering projects.
The money would pay for installing more cameras to monitor safety hazards
at high-priority intersections, as well as new flashing countdowns at
crosswalks and protected left-turn lanes.
“At many locations in the city, when you want to do a left turn, you sit in
the intersection at the green phase and you wait for a gap,” Patman said.
“This can be very frustrating when there’s very few gaps in the traffic and
people get frustrated. They’ve got people behind them that are sort of
glaring at them, they can see in their rear-view mirror that they want them
to go, they start honking (horns), and people start taking chances.”
The budget would include a request for proposal to develop a five-yearsand-
beyond plan to assess road safety in the city.
It would expand on the Manitoba Road Safety Plan, which expires in 2020.
The deadline for applications for the $275,000 contract is Oct. 8.
The city’s road safety is under scrutiny this year after the deaths of nine
pedestrians and one cyclist.
In 2017, the city started actively working towards adopting the principles
of Towards Zero (fatalities), a national traffic safety approach that
recognizes pedestrian deaths are preventable and driver error is
unavoidable, meaning infrastructure must be forgiving of that.
Of the total Winnipeg collisions reported from 2012 to 2015 — the latest
traffic data compiled over a fouryear period — less than 0.1 per cent
resulted in a fatality, while about 0.3 per cent resulted in a major
injury. About 36 per cent of the fatal collisions involved a pedestrian.
The cause of 40 per cent of those fatal pedestrian collisions is unknown. A
pedestrian crossing with the right of way or running onto a roadway
resulted in some of the deaths (18 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively).
Fatalities that involved a pedestrian walking along a roadway against
traffic, at an intersection without the right of way or on a sidewalk,
median or safety zone each accounted for six per cent of the total count.
The city’s latest report on collisions shows streets with 60 km/h speed
limits are overrepresented in fatal and major collisions, followed by 80
Todd Dube, founder of traffic advocacy group Wise Up Winnipeg, said he
supports the city’s pedestrian scramble idea — even though it might cause
more congestion for vehicles downtown.
“If you have 90 seconds of red (lights) every direction, you’re going to
move less traffic, but you’re going to move more pedestrians more safely
because they can cross at all points,” he said.
Dube said the first ideal intersection that comes to his mind is Portage
Avenue and Memorial Boulevard, near the University of Winnipeg.
maggie.macintosh(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @macintoshmaggie
Please join Green Action Centre and Bike Winnipeg for a group viewing of
the monthly APBP webinar in the EcoCentre
This will be followed by discussion for those who wish to stay. Sounds like
a good one!
Can We Talk About the Street? Building Support for Controversial Projects
Wed, Sept 18th, 2:00-3:00pm CDT
Proposing solutions that call for reallocating roadway space can stir up
controversy. This webinar will examine innovative approaches to building
support for innovation in the public right-of-way. How do we manage the
conversation in a way that both educates and inspires our stakeholders?
- Mary Stewart, Alta Planning + Design
- Jeff Fuchs, PE, City of Tualatin
- Dave Brokaw, Wallis Engineering
With the exciting announcement in the paper
about a new Road Safety Strategy for Winnipeg, I wanted to take a moment
today to highlight some important road safety themed speakers and events
happening during ModeShift Festival 2019 <http://ModeShift.ca> happening
Sept.30-Oct4 (with a plenary conference on October 3rd).
*Built for Walking: Youth Mobility MasterClass delivered by Dr.Linda
Rothman (Toronto, ON) and Dr.Marie-Soleil Cloutier (Montreal, QC) (*with
intro by Denae Penner) Both are renowned experts in road safety. They
specialize in the analysis of the built environment for issues that affect
youth specifically. They look at big data for patterns in mobility seeking
out the barriers and injury-prone areas and drawing causation. Dr.Rothman
is most well known recently in the international media for her work
analysing socio-economic equity issues in traffic injury among youth during
her time at Sick Kids Hospital. Dr. Cloutier is former chair of the
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals board and brings an
innovative approach to GIS and youth mobility. Join them for a walkabout
with a mixed group of all ages and learn how Linda, Marie-Soleil and kids
in Winnipeg's inner city see the world!
*Dutch Road Design - a Vision Zero MasterClass by Herbert Tiemens (City of
(with intro by Chris Baker)
Formerly working at the regional level, where he was an advisor to the
Kingdom of Netherlands and ambassador for the Dutch Cycling embassy,
Herbert is now in a new position as senior policy advisor on walking and
cycling for the City of Utrecht. Utrecht has "problems" like needing to
find overflow routes for some of the multiple main arteries that experience
50K+ people on bicycles a day . . or determining whether or not people
whould be allowed to park on the street next to the world's largest bike
parking garage. A leader in the country that developed the Safe Systems
approach, Herbert will be leading workshop participants in an innvovative
exercise looking at an area of Winnipeg that has long required attention.
Don't miss it.
*Tactical Traffic Calming MasterClass by Jen Malzer (City of Calgary)*
(with intro by Rebecca Peterniak)
Jen Malzer is a leading light in transportation engineering in Canada,
hometown hero and has an incredibly interesting job involving community
members directly in how Calgary rethinks their streets.
Other related events: The Forks will be helping us announce a very exciting
public talk by a special guest from the USA shortly. (I will let The Forks,
who is making that event possible, spill the beans on that next week.) You
will also not want to miss the masterclass by Amina Yasin about
dementia-friendly cities and equity. Amina is a highly-regarded planner who
will be discussing a range of equity-related issues and why ultimately, who
you are ends up being a road safety issue. Scan the whole program at a
glance. <https://modeshift.ca/events/> There is something of interest for
everyone -whether a public health practitioner, engineer, advocate or
artist! More speakers and panelists are being added to the website and
details on evening events will appear shortly. Don't miss your chance to be
part of this unique photo-op either and stay tuned for a lot more.
You can register for the whole thing here.
Student, underemployed, on a budget? Mode Shift has been made affordable
for anyone who wants to attend thanks to generous sponsors.
By donation pricing is available. If you know someone who is interested, do
not hesitate. Join us!
Mode Shift Conference Program Director
*City hall issues call for strategic action plan on road safety *
THE same day a 37-year-old female pedestrian was struck and killed by a
vehicle on William Avenue — the ninth such fatality this year — the City of
Winnipeg issued a request for proposal, for the development of a road
safety strategic action plan.
The RFP announced Tuesday, which seeks to develop a five-yearsand- beyond
plan, is aimed at assessing the state of road safety in the city and to
identify gaps and opportunities for improvement through public engagement
and analysis, city hall says.
The document notes previous endeavours — including the Manitoba Road Safety
Plan developed in 2017 — didn’t go far enough to address the unique issues
“In order to achieve the long-term vision of Towards Zero (fatalities),
there is a need to develop a road safety strategic action plan that is
specific to the City of Winnipeg.”
Nine cyclists and 27 pedestrians were killed in collisions on Winnipeg
streets, from 2013 to 2018, Manitoba Public Insurance statistics show.
MPI has run an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at reducing
motorvehicular fatalities provincewide.
So far in 2019, nine pedestrians and one cyclist have been killed in
While individual incidents spur media attention and draw concern from
politicians and public figures, cycling and pedestrian advocates say the
numbers only tell part of the story.
“The reality is it’s a pattern,” Anders Swanson, executive director of
Winnipeg Trails Association, said Wednesday.
“Every single incident is a failure of the system in place. And behind
every one of those ‘numbers’ is a person, and their families.”
The Towards Zero ideology has been on the city’s radar since 2017, when a
city committee requested the delivery of a road safety strategy.
Swanson is optimistic the new strategic plan request could spark change and
prevent future injuries or fatalities.
“I think it’s a really important step, and gives a framework to operate
under where we start off by saying, ‘We haven’t gotten this right, but we
envision a city where people don’t get killed in traffic,’” he said.
“(The RFP’s) main purpose is to evaluate the effectiveness of what we’re
already doing and find other things we need to do.
“If it does that, it will be hugely beneficial.”
Bike Winnipeg executive director Mark Cohoe agreed.
“They seem to have adopted a safe systems approach, and they’re really
underscoring those as the principles a road safety plan would follow,” he
said. “I think it’s a recognition that we’re seeing too many collisions,
too many injuries and too many fatalities on Winnipeg streets.”
Mayor Brian Bowman reiterated that pedestrian and road safety is a priority
for his government.
He cited the city’s 20-year cycling and active transportation strategy and
$43 million in federal gas tax revenue earmarked for pedestrian and road
safety improvements as proof.
In April, city council approved $2.5 million in spending in 2019 on road
safety measures to be determined by public works, as well as $750,000 in
funding for three active transportation studies.
This fall, in response to calls from advocates, council will also review
the proposed lowering of the residential speed limit of 50 km/h to 30 km/h.
“The numbers show we have a problem,” Cohoe said. “I think everyone agrees
we want to see those fatalities and injuries disappear. We have to
culturally recognize there’s an imperative to do that.”
The RFP says the deadline for consultants to apply is Oct. 8, and the city
will award a contract Oct. 29. The budget for the contract is $275,000.
The public works committee will be briefed about the road safety strategy