*City scraps plan for one-way traffic on West Broadway streets*
THE city has scratched an idea to make two major West Broadway streets into
one-way roads as it prepares to begin construction of a bike path in the
area next year.
In an email sent Tuesday to area residents, the city says it decided to
keep vehicular traffic in both directions on Westminster Avenue, Balmoral
Street, and Granite Way, from Langside Street to Osborne Street. Residents,
parents of children at Balmoral Hall School, and members of the Granite
Curling Club opposed one-way traffic.
“You told us the project design balances the safety and needs of all road
users in some ways, but that you were very concerned with some aspects —
particularly one-way streets and their potential to increase traffic and
decrease safety along some residential streets,” the email says.
The city says it has decided to build a two-way protected bike lane on the
east side of Balmoral Street and Young Street, instead of a bike path on
either side of the street. However, to fit it in with vehicular traffic, it
will reduce the width of the bike lane to 1.5 metres from 1.8 metres, and
require the removal of six loading stalls on Westminster in front of
Balmoral Hall. The design includes the addition of stop signs on Balmoral
Street at Granite Way and the loss of 15 parking spaces on Granite Way.
The city said it expects to have a detailed design contract by the end of
the summer, with construction expected to begin next year.
But, because of low traffic volume connected with the shutdown of
nonessential businesses for weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19, the city
has decided to hold off on the final design of the rest of the planned bike
path along Westminster, from Langside Street to Chestnut Street in
Wolseley, until September.
Councillors urge city to boost safety by improving markings
Faded paint lines not street smart
WINNIPEG drivers have likely all faced the challenge: you want to stay in
your lane but you’re not sure where it is.
Snow-clearing, road sand and other Manitoba weather realities strip away
paint that marks lanes, leaving just a few flecks of colour or blank
pavement. It can take many weeks for city crews to repaint those lines each
Two councillors are pushing for changes to that process, which they hope
will make streets safer.
Coun. Shawn Nason (Transcona) is calling on the city administration to
provide options to “improve the permanency of lane markings,” in a motion
set to be debated at the July 7 meeting of the public works committee.
Nason said the current faded markings are barely, or not at all, visible,
which could make motorists and cyclists more likely to compete for the same
“This creates an unsafe situation, and we need to do a better job to ensure
(that) there are properly marked trails on our roadways. Then the motoring
public can (stay in) their proper lane,” he said.
He believes the longevity of the paint is key to addressing the issue.
“We need some permanency on our line-painting, that’s not just put down and
washed away a few weeks or months later — something that can stay on the
road over the winters,” said Nason.
The City of Winnipeg website describes road markings as “an important, but
often overlooked, safety feature... Painted lines keep traffic in lanes and
serve as guide posts for passing, safety, crosswalks and stopping areas.”
In 2013, a KPMG public works review offered recommendations for Winnipeg to
improve its road markings, which the consultant found were often missing.
“Reliance on a single, in-house crew that takes up to 34 weeks to remark
the city’s streets implies that many roads are left unmarked for much of
this time,” the report notes.
KPMG suggested Winnipeg consider the use of longer-lasting paint, try out
new technology, and possibly contract out work to address the problem.
Meanwhile, Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverley West) said she’d like to see the
city prioritize lane painting so intersections that have the most
Lukes said she lobbies for new paint at the intersection of Kenaston and
Mc-Gillivray boulevards each year, then waits weeks or months to see the
“It’s still not painted and it’s (late) June. Last year, it was the middle
of August,” said Lukes. “Personally, I just think high-collision
intersections should be (the top) priority at all times.”
A total of 1,352 crashes took place at Kenaston-McGillivray between 2015
and 2019, the most at any intersection, Manitoba Public Insurance figures
show. Leila Avenue and McPhillips Street had the second-highest number of
Lukes said high-crash locations tend to have crosswalks and may also offer
bicycle lanes, so making their lane markers more visible would make all
road users safer. She plans to soon raise her own motion for the city to
paint its Top 10 highest-collision intersections before any other roads
The city’s website notes it still uses one lane-liner machine that paints
about 1,000 kilometres of roadway lines and edges, including 1,061
In a written statement, city spokeswoman Julie Horbal Dooley said the
complete process takes about 35 weeks, which isn’t finished some years due
to weather and resource issues.
The work itself is growing, Horbal Dooley said. “The number of lane
markings in the city is increasing at a rapid pace as we add active
transportation routes to the network and… some regional streets are
remarked up to three times a year.”
The statement noted paint options that are more durable have a
“cost-prohibitive nature.” Horbal Dooley also noted the public works
department does prioritize some repainting for sites that need it most and
intersections that have the most traffic.
Segway personal transporter hitting brakes on production
SEGWAY, which boldly claimed its two-wheeled personal transporter would
revolutionize the way people get around, is ending production of its
The Segway PT, popular with tourists and police officers but perhaps better
known for its high-profile crashes, will be retired on July 15, the company
said in a statement.
“Within its first decade, the Segway PT became a staple in security and law
enforcement, viewed as an effective and efficient personal vehicle,” said
Judy Cai, Segway president, in a statement, noting that in the past decade
it gained popularity with vacationers in major cities in North America,
Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East.
But the Segway, which carries a standing passenger on a wide platform,
accounted for less than 1.5 per cent of the company’s revenue last year.
The company said 21 employees will be laid off, another 12 employees will
stay on for two months to a year and five will remain at the Bedford, New
“This decision was not made lightly, and while the current global pandemic
did impact sales and production, it was not a deciding factor in our
decision,” Cai said.
The transportation revolution that inventor Dean Kamen envisioned when he
founded the company in 1999 never took off. The Segway’s original price tag
of around US$5,000 was a hurdle for many customers. It also was challenging
to ride because the rider had to be balanced at a specific angle for the
vehicle to move forward. If the rider’s weight shifted too much in any
direction, it could easily spin out of control and throw the rider off.
They were banned in some cities because users could easily lose control if
they were not balanced properly.
“What did they think the market was when they built this, when they
designed it?” asked Maryann Keller, principal at Maryann Keller &
Associates. “My impression was they were talking about this as personal
mobility. How could you think that something this large and expensive would
be personal mobility?”
Segway’s popularity may have peaked in early 2009 with the release of the
Kevin James comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop, where the titular Blart patrols a
fictional mall on a Segway.
Ten months after buying the company in 2009, British self-made millionaire
Jim Heselden died after the Segway he was riding careened off a 30-foot
cliff not far from his country estate north of London. He was 62 years old.
In 2003, then president George W. Bush avoided injury after tumbling off a
Segway at his parents’ summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
A cameraman riding a Segway ran over Usain Bolt in 2015 as the Jamaican
sprinter did a victory lap after winning a 200-metre race in Beijing. Bolt
wasn’t injured and later joked about the incident.
In 2017, Segway got into the scooter business, just as the light,
inexpensive and easy-to-ride two-wheelers took over urban streets. Riders
took 38.5 million trips on shared electric scooters in 2018, according to
the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
Segway’s foray into lightweight scooters may have been a sign that its
original PT’s days were numbered.
“It was probably over-hyped before it was launched, and when it was
launched, it was like, this is not going to work on city sidewalks,” Keller
— The Associated Press
[*Shared by Brian Patterson of Urban Systems on the TDM listserv]*
Earlier today, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) released
a new *COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide *to help cities effectively modify
urban streets to support safe commuting, commerce and exercise.
The *COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide* is a product of FCM's The Urban
Project <https://theurbanproject.ca/>, which convenes a wide spectrum of
voices to tackle urban challenges across Canada. The guide itself flows
from weeks of engagement with city officials and thought leaders from
The guide is designed for decision makers and practitioners
alike. With case studies from around the world, it offers strategies and
practical guidance on rebalancing streets through three phases of COVID-19
response-from immediate to longer term. It explores installations ranging
from bike lanes and curbside queuing areas to temporary patios and
parklets. The guide was developed for FCM by Urban Systems.
*FCM Press Release:* covid.fcm.ca/news/...
*Download the Guide: *theurbanproject.ca/events/covid-19-and-mobility
Active Transportation Practice Leader
Urban Systems Ltd.
Upcoming Free APBP Webinar:
A Discussion of the NTSB Bicycle Safety Report
June 24 at 3:00pm EDT
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its full report on
bicyclist safety in December 2019: Bicyclist Safety on US Roadways: Crash
Risks and Countermeasures, *the agency’s first report on bicyclist safety
in 47 years*. Most of the report focuses on what federal agencies can do to
improve the safety of people who bike. Join APBP and NTSB for this free
webinar where NTSB's Member Homendy will discuss the full report. Moderated
by APBP Board member and Policy Committee Chair, Conor Semler.
Cyclist struck by SUV on bike route calls for increased safety measures
JESSE HAJER was on his way home from his son’s physically distanced
birthday party late Saturday afternoon, biking down the Wolseley Avenue
active transportation route with four young children, when he was struck by
an impatient driver in a sport-utility vehicle.
He was keeping an eye out for the group of six- and seven-year-old kids, he
said, crossing through the intersection at Clifton Street, when an SUV
approached from behind, honking at the group to hurry along. Hajer
signalled to the driver to wait but the car accelerated, appearing to try
to squeeze between Hajer and the curb, and hit Hajer from behind.
“It wasn’t going super fast or anything but it was enough,” Hajer said in
an interview Monday, noting that he wasn’t seriously injured but was hit
hard enough to damage the car.
The incident comes amid ongoing debate about the nine temporary active
transportation routes the City of Winnipeg set up at the onset of the
COVID-19 pandemic to encourage physical activity and alternative
transportation options during isolation, introducing the question of road
safety for those pedestrians and cyclists taking to the road.
Hajer said he and his family are supporters of the active transportation
road in their neighbourhood, and want to see the city take measures to make
the routes appear more permanent, encouraging motorists to slow down and
follow the rules.
“I’m a huge fan of these routes; they’ve been just a breath of fresh air
literally and figuratively in this challenging time,” Hajer said. “It’s
stressful, families are super stressed out and they need options like this
to get outside.”
So far, motorists have been limited to one block of travel between 8 a.m.
and 8 p.m. on the routes, seven days a week. Hajer said he would like to
see the city commit to traffic calming measures to make the routes more
secure, including more frequent barriers to emphasize the rules, or larger
and more attractive barriers such as planters. He’d also like to see the
one block driving rules extended to 24 hours a day, speed limits reduced to
30 km/h on the residential roads and more educational signage outlining
consequences for breaking the rules.
Many of those initiatives have been echoed in recent months by cyclists
and active transportation advocates such as Anders Swanson, executive
director of Winnipeg Trails, who has petitioned the city to extend and
expand the open street project. Assuring safety on those routes, he said,
is about making cars feel as though they are guests on the road, rather
than the road’s intended user.
“From Day 1 we should have been working on a plan to make these feel more
like pedestrian and cycling spaces, and that can include everything from
picnic tables to flower planters to warm and welcoming signage,” Swanson
“A barricade with a chloroplast board feels like a temporary waiting room
set up in the lobby. It doesn’t feel like we’re going to take this
opportunity to make the city better and make it so people can make
themselves better and heal themselves.”
Reducing speed limits, beautifying streets and increasing education about
the routes are easy first steps the city can take to more pedestrian and
cycling-friendly streets, Swanson said. From there, he’d like to see the
city invest in making those streets permanent and expanding the network
into as many neighbourhoods as possible.
“Our concern is that we’ve only got a toe in the water here, we keep
extending them for a measly few weeks, there’s been no firm commitment to
turn this into a network that reaches everybody in the city, and when you
do that then you’re not mobilizing your department to do the things it
needs to do because it’s a half measure,” he added.
For its part, the city has no clear plans to enforce safety measures on the
routes. A spokeswoman for the Public Works department said in an email
Monday that “all modes of road users are reminded to be mindful of others
and share the road, and to be aware of their surroundings at all times,”
adding that the city is “counting on Winnipeggers to do their part and obey
posted signage, and — for the most part — (has) seen them comply.”
The city said permanent routes would be enforced “as per the governing
bylaws,” but would not indicate whether it has used any disciplinary
measures to enforce the rules thus far.
*COVID-19 and transit: What we think we know may be wrong *
According to everything we know about COVID-19
<https://www.thestar.com/coronavirus.html>, public transit seems like a
perfect breeding ground for the disease.
During normal times, a functioning transit system requires thousands of
people to crowd together in an enclosed space, spend several minutes
breathing the same air, and then spread back out into their workplaces and
communities carrying whatever they picked up on board with them.
Combined with economic shutdowns prompted by the pandemic, the fear of
contracting the virus on subways and buses has helped decimate ridership on
systems, creating revenue crises that pose an existential threat to transit
operators around the world.
The effects could be long-lasting. In Toronto, where ridership has dropped
to as low as 14 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and the TTC is losing about
$21 million a week, one in 10 riders say they won’t take transit again even
as provincial authorities deem it safe to reopen the economy, according to a
commissioned by the agency.
But is transit as dangerous a vector as it appears? Recent international
data show a lack of confirmed cases connected to transit use that is
striking even when taking ridership declines into account. Some experts say
this can be explained by gaps in contact tracing methodologies, but others
argue the risk of transmission on public transportation may not be as
severe as initially feared.
“There’s so much that we don’t know about the coronavirus and how it
spreads. But we’ve seen enough new evidence to suggest that public
transportation hasn’t been the super-spreader that many have assumed,”
Janette Sadik-Khan, the influential former New York City transportation
commissioner and current principal at the Bloomberg Associates, said in an
She cited a study in France that determined none of 150 COVID-19 infection
clusters identified in Paris from early May to early June originated on the
city’s transit network. She also pointed to Japan, a country that has
experienced only about 17,000 COVID-19 cases, despite having one of the
world’s busiest rail networks. Canada has now recorded more than 100,000
Figures like those present a sharp contrast to the conclusions of a study
by an MIT economics professor
that was widely circulated in the early days of in the crisis. It warned
the subway network “was a major disseminator — if not the principal
transmission vehicle — of coronavirus infection” in New York City.
The study’s methodology and conclusions have been widely criticized, not
least because in New York infection rates have been lower in subway-rich
Manhattan than in transit-poor boroughs like Staten Island. But Sadik-Khan
said its findings and similar proclamations early in the pandemic “scared
people and may hold them back from returning to transit.”
For transit agencies now plunged into financial crisis, “this fear of
transit may ultimately be more damaging than the potential threat of riding
it,” she said.
Conclusive evidence linking COVID-19 transmission to transit use appears to
be rare in Canada.
As of June 12, 65 TTC employees out of a staff of more than 15,000 had
tested positive for the virus
it’s not known whether they contracted the infection on the job.
Toronto Public Health hasn’t traced any of the city’s more than 13,500
COVID-19 cases to public transit. However, TPH spokesperson Dr. Vinita
Dubey cautioned that doesn’t necessarily indicate that infections aren’t
occurring in settings like the TTC. Because the virus has a 14-day
incubation period and can be spread by people who aren’t exhibiting
symptoms, “it is difficult to determine exactly where someone acquired
their infection,” she said.
The picture is similar in other Canadian jurisdictions.
Public health authorities overseeing Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, and
Ottawa all told the Star this week that no cases in those cities had been
linked to transit. A spokeperson for Vancouver Coastal Health said “we
don’t comment on specific cases,” but the agency “hasn’t had need for any
public notification to transit users.”
Tom McMillan, a spokesperson for Alberta Health, said the agency “has not
identified any cases to date where transit is considered the source of
exposure.” But the agency is drafting guidelines for operators like Calgary
Transit and Edmonton Transit Services to keep riders and workers safe.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of
Toronto and Toronto General Hospital, said he wasn’t surprised by the lack
of cases linked to transit.
Even in jurisdictions where transit operators haven’t made safety measures
like mask use mandatory for riders, Bogoch said passengers appear to be
taking it upon themselves to take precautions like wearing face coverings,
washing their hands, and keeping their distance from one another, which has
likely helped to reduce the spread. Wearing a mask will become mandatory on
the TTC as of July 2, with exceptions for young children and people with
Some commentators have speculated transmission on transit hasn’t occurred
at high rates because unlike in settings like bars where patrons risk
spreading the infection in airborne droplets by talking close to one
another, transit riders largely don’t speak to other passengers. And while
transit vehicles are enclosed spaces, their doors open regularly,
circulating the air.
Bogoch said it’s possible such factors have mitigated the spread of the
virus, but their effects are difficult to quantify. He argued what’s more
important is the infection rate of the societies in which transit systems
operate, which he said bodes well for Toronto.
Even though the city lags behind the rest of Ontario in reducing caseloads,
it still has a rate of about 400 per 100,000 people, according to Ontario
Public Health data
comparison, New York state’s rate is about 2,000 per 100,000 people,
according to data compiled by the New York Times.
The “general low burden of infection” in Toronto, coupled with measures
such as mask use, make transit in the city a “low risk” environment, Bogoch
He cautioned that doesn’t mean the probability of transmission on transit
is nonexistent, especially as the province continues to open up and more
people return to the system. “We’re going to have outbreaks in the GTA, and
certainly someone’s going to be infected by this virus on a bus or on a
subway,” he said.
Dr. Colin Furness, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at the Faculty
of Information at the University of Toronto, warned the lack of evidence
connecting infections to public transit can’t be taken as proof the virus
isn’t being spread there, and instead could be attributed to blind spots in
He said chains of infection are more easily recreated in homes, workplaces,
and other settings where people know each other and can be identified after
they come in contact with someone who has the virus. Accurately determining
the rate of transmission on transit would be “enormously difficult” because
“people don’t live on public transit, people don’t know each other on
public transit,” Furness said.
Until there is conclusive proof the virus isn’t spreading on transportation
networks, Furness warned any assertions that systems are safe would be
“It’s going to be pretty hard for me to come to the conclusion that buses
and subways and streetcars aren’t risky,” he said. “A responsible person is
going to say, look, if we’re not sure, we should not downplay the risk … So
yes, it’s too early to jump for joy.”
TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said it was up to Toronto Public Health to
determine how safe the transit system is, but the TTC agrees with the
health authority’s position that “the TTC remains a safe system.”
Green said the TTC is “certainly aware of examples from around the world
that suggest there are no links between mass transit ridership and viral
spread,” but “we are not taking that for granted.” He said “as the city
reopens and ridership returns, we will take all steps possible to continue
to protect the health and safety of everyone in our system.”
In addition to mandating mask use, the TTC is also cleaning its vehicles
several times a day, deploying additional vehicles to busy bus routes to
decrease crowding, and is readying crowd management plans for subway
While there remains uncertainty about exactly how risky it is to ride,
passengers will continue to have real fear about taking transit while the
virus remains a threat, and the TTC will need to address those anxieties to
coax customers back.
“We absolutely understand that perception matters for our customers and
employees,” Green said. “We want them not only to feel safe, but to
actually be safe.”
WINNIPEG -- A motion to keep Winnipeg active transportation routes open
until September was passed by the mayor’s inner circle on Thursday, and is
now in the hands of city council.
The executive policy committee voted unanimously on Thursday to support a
measure to extend the end of the active transportation routes until
September 7, 2020.
The active transportation routes are located in these locations:
- Lyndale Drive from Cromwell to Gauvin Street;
- Scotia Street from Anderson (at Cross Street) to Armstrong Avenues;
- Wellington Crescent from Academy Road (at Wellington) to Guelph Street;
- Wolseley Avenue from Raglan Road to Maryland Street;
- Assiniboine Avenue from Bedson Street to Westwood Drive;
- Churchill Drive from Hay Street to Jubilee Avenue;
- Egerton Road from Bank to Morier Avenues;
- Kildonan Drive from Helmsdale Avenue to Rossmere Crescent;
- Larchdale Crescent to Irving Place; and
- Kilkenny Drive from Burgess to Patricia Avenues and Kings Drive.
On these active transportation routes, traffic is confined to one block
through the area from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The city expanded the use of the routes to help with physical distancing
requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the motion filed
during the meeting, the routes have been popular with city residents and
If no extension was sought, the routes would end on July 6.
The extension will be discussed at the next city council meeting on June 26.