*Downtown Winnipeg street turned into playground to encourage lower speed
A campaign aimed at slowing residential speed limits
<https://globalnews.ca/tag/residential-speed-limits/> in Winnipeg turned a
downtown street into a playground Thursday.
Ellen Street was blocked off between Bannatyne and McDermot avenues in
front of the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba’s
building from noon to 8 p.m. while kids and families played street hockey,
hula-hooped and painted the road with chalk paint among workshops and other
The organizers of the #Love30for30 campaign, environmental non-profit Green
Action Centre are in favour of reducing the default speed limit to allow
pedestrians and cyclists to better share roads with drivers in Winnipeg.
“We are asking for the default speed to be dropped from 50 kilometres per
hour to 30 kilometres per hour — that does not mean that every street would
be 30 km/h — it just means that we’re going to start at 30 km/h and raise
speed limits above that where it’s safe,” said Denae Penner, the Green
Action Centre’s sustainable transportation coordinator.
Penner pointed to the lower risk of serious injury — World Health
Organization data show a 90 per cent survival rate when pedestrians are
struck by vehicles travelling 30 km/h — as part of the campaign’s reasoning
for reducing speeds.
“Pedestrian injury and cyclist injury is on the rise — safety concerns, in
general, are growing, there is a lot of discussion right now happening at
the city about making changes to policy and changes to street design to
help fix that problem,” she said.
“We want to have streets that function for cars, but also for kids who want
to run and play.”
The choice to close the specific street was intentional — IRCOM’s Ellen
Street location is home to 65 immigrant families’ transitional apartments.
“Many of our families don’t have vehicles and so they are the cyclists,
they are the pedestrians, they are going to be walking across the streets
to navigate a brand new community, go to school, go grocery shopping and
make new friends,” said Dorota Blumczynska, IRCOM’s executive director.
“The speed limits that are in place in this residential neighbourhood could
compromise their safety, so we are doing our part in terms of educating our
tenants and trying to help them understand how to be safe and street smart,
but we need the city to meet us in the middle.”
City council approved a pilot project that will see five residential
streets speed limits reduced to 30 km/h last week, but Ellen Sreet was not
one of them.
The streets seeing reduced speed limits are:
- Roch Street from Poplar Avenue to Arby Bay
- Eugenie Avenue from St. Mary’s Road to Youville Street
- Warsaw Avenue and Fleet Avenue from Nassau Avenue to Lindsay Avenue
- Machray Avenue from Fife Street to Main Street
- Flora Avenue from Sinclair Street to King Street
Police investigate after cyclist killed in hit-and-run
Two bicycle riders involved in crashes on Wednesday
A CRUISER bike was propped against an electrical pole on Grey Street and a
black helmet was near the curb as Winnipeg police investigated a fatal
hit-and-run in the Munroe neighbourhood Thursday morning.
Around 10 p.m. Wednesday, police said emergency crews were called to the
intersection of Moncton Avenue and Grey Street for reports of a crash
between a vehicle and a cyclist. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene,
police said, and the cyclist, who was identified as a 50-year-old man, was
taken to hospital in critical condition, where he died.
No other details were released on Thursday by police who investigated the
area between Munroe and Moncton overnight and into the morning. Officers
could be seen photographing evidence strewn across the street before 8 a.m.
Thursday with numerous markers spread out on the pavement.
Police had not yet identified the driver of the vehicle as of Thursday and
asked anyone with information or witnesses to contact investigators at
204-986-7085 or call Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.
The fatal collision in the school zone on Grey Street was the second
serious incident Wednesday involving a person on a bike. That morning
around 7:30 a.m., first responders were called to a crash at St. Anne’s
Road and Bank Avenue.
A man who had been riding his bike was taken to hospital in unstable
condition after being hit by a vehicle, but was later upgraded to stable,
police said. Police did not provide additional details of that collision
Preliminary data from Manitoba Public Insurance show 35 people had been
killed on public roads in Manitoba as of July 30. Last year, 77 people died.
MPI said one cyclist has been killed so far this year. Preliminary
data on injuries
for the year was not available.
MPI statistics indicate most bicycle-vehicle collisions happen in urban
settings and, based on a 10-year average, two cyclists die and 129 are
injured each year. Most collisions happen in the summer, MPI said, and from
April to June this year there’s been a 60 per cent increase in
speed-related driving offences.
Clayton Rudy, board co-chair with Bike Winnipeg, said the organization is
pushing for reduced speeds where people on bikes and vehicles cross paths.
“A lot of Winnipeggers cycle in the city and the whole community is sad
when there is an injury or fatality on the road,” Rudy
said. “Unfortunately, it discourages some people from being on their bikes
and being on their bikes more often.
“It’s just really sad when somebody loses their life on the road.”
Rudy said anecdotal reports indicate people are choosing to walk or ride
bicycles more frequently this summer, in part due to the coronavirus
pandemic, and he worries the number serious collisions may increase when
school resumes in the fall. Bike Winnipeg is supportive of reducing
residential speed limits to 30 km/hr citywide, he added.
“For a long time, serious injuries and fatalities using the road system
have been tolerated culturally,” the accredited level-two road safety
professional and traffic operations engineer said. “We’ve started to see
that culture shift and it’s beginning to be that losing your life walking
or being on a bike is tolerated as much as it used to be.
“We need to have far reaching policy-level decisions, made by the
provincial and city government, to support that changing culture,” Rudy
Seven pedestrians have been killed on public roadways this year in
Manitoba, including one in Winnipeg, MPI said.
On Wednesday, Brandon RCMP reported a 30-year-old female pedestrian died
around 4:15 a.m. A driver travelling westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway
hit the woman, who police said was lying on the road.
Last year, Manitoba recorded one of its deadliest years for pedestrian
fatalities in two decades, with at least 12 pedestrian deaths on public
roadways in the first nine-months of 2019. Year end totals were not made
available by MPI on Thursday.
— with files from Sarah Lawrynuik
Slower speeds catch on quickly
A SUREFIRE way to spark spirited conversation among Winnipeggers is to
mention 30 km/h speed limits. There are heartfelt arguments for and against
such restrictions, but one fact is inarguable: drivers had better get used
to the idea, because Winnipeg is part of a national trend of cities forcing
drivers to ease up on the accelerator.
A campaign to reduce the residential speed limit will close a section of
Ellen Street from noon to 8 p.m. today as residents make their point by
using open pavement for fun activities.
This follows the approval by city council last week of a one-year pilot
project to test a 30 km/h limit on sections of five residential streets:
Roch Street, Eugenie Avenue, Warsaw Avenue/Fleet Avenue, Machray Avenue and
What’s more — and what’s bound to be even more controversial — is council’s
consideration of lowering speed limits on all residential roads. They plan
to hire a consultant to study the impact of both 30 km/h and 40 km/h limits
throughout the city.
Such changes would extend the 30 km/h school zones that already exist
during the academic year. The reduced-speed zones have been a consistent
target of public complaint from some drivers, particularly those hit in the
wallet by the photo enforcement contractors set up near schools.
People who support lower speed limits — they include cyclists, pedestrians
and parents of children — point to evidence that speed kills: pedestrians
almost always die when hit by vehicles going 70 km/h, but 90 per cent of
pedestrians survive after being hit by vehicles going 30 km/h.
People who oppose lower limits insist vehicular traffic in some areas of
Winnipeg is already clogged enough without making it worse with snail-like
limits. Many of them suspect the city’s motivation for expanding 30 km/h
zones is less about safety and more about a lucrative source of revenue
from ticket fines.
This polarizing disagreement is echoed in other Canadian cities that are
also on the road to slowing down drivers. Toronto has reduced speeds on
almost 50 streets, on arterial roads from 60 km/h to 50 km/h. It also
introduced about 50 automated speed cameras to ticket drivers.
Edmonton city council introduced a bylaw last month to decrease the
citywide default residential speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h.
Hamilton is in the process of cutting the limit in residential
neighbourhoods from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, and to 30 km/h in school zones.
Vancouver is extending the enforcement period of its 30 km/h limit for
schools around the clock, and testing the 30 km/h limit in areas without
schools or playgrounds.
The Canadian initiatives are variations of a concept called Vision Zero,
which started in Sweden more than 20 years ago and has spread to Australia,
England and cities, including Oslo, New York, Minneapolis and San
Francisco. The goal is to eliminate 100 per cent of traffic fatalities and
severe injuries. This is accomplished by rejigging traffic flow, enforcing
road rules and educating drivers to respect an unequivocal tenet:
pedestrians are paramount.
Winnipeg drivers will have the opportunity in September to display their
belief that pedestrians are paramount, especially young pedestrians. School
buses will be sparsely occupied because of COVID-19 restrictions, which
means an unusually large number of children and youth will be walking,
pedalling, blading and skateboarding from their homes to their schools.
If the threat of speed-limit fines is insufficient incentive to slow
drivers, the safety of little lives should be.
Campaign touts slower speeds, roads as shared spaces
A CAMPAIGN to reduce Winnipeg’s residential speed limit will shut down a
section of Ellen Street to help others see its vision for “shared” roads.
This Thursday, from noon to 8 p.m., Ellen Street will be closed to vehicle
traffic between McDermot and Bannatyne avenues, as part of a local
That hashtag and campaign supports a permanent speed limit reduction for
residential roads to 30 km/h.
“It’s showing people that their streets can feel very different than they
do right now. They don’t need to feel like they’re just dedicated to cars,”
said Denae Penner, one of the event’s organizers.
Penner, who also serves as the Green Action Centre’s sustainable
transportation program co-ordinator, said the Ellen Street site will become
an outdoor gathering space for various events, including zumba, street
hockey and a bike clinic.
She said slowing down traffic is especially important for children, those
who live in central neighbourhoods and people of colour. Penner said those
groups are all more likely to be seriously injured in a traffic collision.
The reduced-speed campaign is drawing increased support, she said, noting
the change wouldn’t apply to key commuter routes, such as Portage Avenue.
Speed reduction advocates say drivers must be required to slow down to
prevent traffic-collision deaths.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pedestrians have a 90 per
cent chance of survival when struck by a car travelling at 30 km/h or
slower but that chance drops to less than 50 per cent when the car travels
at 45 km/h.
“Pedestrians have almost no chance of surviving an impact at 80 km/h,” the
Last week, Winnipeg city council approved a pilot program of 30 km/h speed
limits on five residential streets. Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface) said
that trial should help gauge Winnipeggers’ thoughts on a potential permanent
The city will also hire a consultant to study a broader speed
limit reduction next year, if council approves the funding in its 2021
“There’s going to be a robust discussion in the coming year or two,” said
Allard, council’s public works committee chairman. However, some
Winnipeggers are convinced a speed limit reduction isn’t necessary. A
petition against lowering the residential speed to 30 km/h has gathered
more than 7,000 signatures.
Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) said he personally believes there are
better ways to improve road safety than reducing the speed limit.
Browaty said it’s more important to enforce current maximum speeds, arguing
the default 50 km/h limit is appropriate.
“I think that’s the right default speed limit… If people just drive
prudently, when there’s people on the streets, you simply slow down,” he
The councillor said he’s concerned even the speed reduction pilot project could
have unfortunate side effects, by leading more drivers to converge on the
remaining regular-speed routes.
“I think it’s going to move traffic to other parallel streets that don’t
have these trials,” he said.
Winnipeg’s suburban development, long ago linked to public transit routes,
is now driven by a desire to live further away from the city centre; the
result is more vehicles, longer commutes and growing greenhouse-gas
ONE SPRAWLING CITY!
THE main arteries of this city tell the story of how Winnipeg grew into a
Pembina, Portage, Main, Henderson Highway — all of these streets snaking
their way through a growing city — used to act as principal corridors
connecting the downtown core to bedroom communities that, once upon a time,
stood on their own.
They tell the story of how urban sprawl was virtually carved into the DNA
of the city as far back as the early 1900s.
“We really couldn’t avoid it — because of the way we were set up, because
there were individual cities and municipalities set up surrounding the
downtown core,” says Winnipegfocused historical consultant Murray Peterson.
“The city was moving in all directions outward… you naturally had sprawl.”
The nature of urban sprawl in Winnipeg has changed over that time, he says.
In the beginning, it was driven, ironically, by public transport.
“Wherever the street car went, you could get development,” he says.
Now it’s driven more by low-density suburban housing development, which is
cheaper to build in the sticks than it is to redevelop sites within the
city. New builds are “fairly significant” in several areas, says
Christopher Storie, the director of the University of Winnipeg’s Institute
for Urban Studies.
Continuous development can be seen north of Garden City, as well as in the
southwest and in the vicinity of the Island Lakes neighbourhood in the
southeast, he says. The result is a city that is still pushing the outer
boundaries further from the downtown core.
Based on city census data, the number of people living in Island Lakes grew
from 510 in 1986 to 7,465 in 2011. In the same time period, Riverbend,
located off Main Street inside the Perimeter Highway, grew from 780 people
to 5,390. Even communities with more established neighbourhoods, such as
Richmond West, grew from 2,995 in 1986 to 8,240 people by 2011. These
neighbourhoods are outpacing the growth rates of the city as a whole.
And the sprawl continues to the edges of the Perimeter Highway. The
Waverley West development in south Winnipeg, which was given the green
light in 2005, was designed for 40,000 residents by 2020. Sage Creek, where the
first home in the development to the east of Island Lakes was built in
2005, will be home to 12,000 by 2028.
“We have continued to sprawl in a classic sense — the single-family or
light-density residential housing — towards the perimeters of the city,”
These patterns of development do more than increase infrastructure spending
for the municipality and lengthen the time it takes to drive from one end
of the city to the other. The way a city develops creates the patterns in
which its people live. And when it comes to climate change, they create
entrenched behaviours that make lowering greenhouse gas emissions a
Statistics Canada did a side-by-side comparison of data gathered in 1996
and 2016 to look at how continued sprawl — not only in Winnipeg but across
the country — was changing the dynamics of how far people travelled to
The study of long-form census data found that in Winnipeg the most
concentrated place of work is in the downtown core, with 47.5 per cent of
jobs within five kilometres of city hall, while another 40.4 per cent of
jobs are between five and 10 kilometres of city hall. But fewer people are
living in areas with short commutes to this high-density employment zone.
In 1996, 36.8 per cent of Winnipeggers lived within five kilometres of the
city centre. Two decades later that number had fallen to 28.4 per cent,
which is still the highest percentage of people located in close proximity
of the urban core when compared to the seven other Canadian cities studied.
But every city saw an increase in dispersal of people away from the city
During that 20-year period, Winnipeg saw an increase of more than 20,000
people using a vehicle as the primary means of transport to get to work,
which is now the preferred mode of 78.8 per cent of the city’s roughly
So, it is no surprise then when emissions reports show residents’ passenger
vehicles are responsible for approximately one-third of all the emissions
generated in the city.
HIGH-DENSITY BUILDS PICKING UP STEAM
In Winnipeg since 2000, more than 28,000 new building permits have been
issued for single-family homes, with peaks in construction coming in 2012
and 2017. In the same period, medium density options saw meagre advances
with only 2,100 semi-detached home permits issued, and 4,700 row house permits
Higher-density options advanced on par with single-family residences. The
city issued permits for 25,000 apartment- style units to be constructed.
And while permits for single-family dwellings have remained remarkably
stable since 2000, permits for apartments have been increasing steadily. In
2000, permits were issued for 119 units. In 2019, permits for 3,145 units
Storie says it is good to see progress on more density development, but it
still doesn’t mitigate the continued pressure on the city to continue its
outward expansion. While it was a pattern developed very early in Winnipeg
history, it was further cemented in the postwar years, Storie explains,
wherein the inner-city housing was the more affordable option, and thus was
often where new immigrants would live. But as the family began to generate
more wealth, they typically moved out to single-family homes in the suburbs
with more space, and they did this likely at the same time they were able
to afford a car for transport into the core, he says.
In the postwar years, sprawl and its connection and reliance on transit
systems was effectively severed as suburbanites became car-bound for their
The flip side of ambition is the prospect of falling short. Vancouver has
failed to meet its 2020 goal, and Calgary similarly missed its previously
set 2020 target. Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman says this is a case where the
good need not be the enemy of the perfect.
“We did change the targets in 2018,” Bowman says. “The targets were done to
make sure they were more achievable. And so, we want to make sure that if
we’re setting these targets we’re actually achieving them.”
Or, at least, that is the hope.
Cities are well-positioned to act on climate change because they’re a large
source of emissions, thanks to the number of cars on the streets and the
aggregation of buildings and people.
“(Municipalities) are the form of government that are closest to the
people, so in terms of engagement, they’re the ones who could engage key
decision-makers, the public, key sectors, and have more tailored approaches
to climate-change mitigation and adaptation,” says Dave Guyadeen, an
assistant professor at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental
Guyadeen says cities, in many ways, have the most at stake when it comes to
coping with the fallout of a changing climate, since there is such a large
concentration of people, infrastructure and businesses. And when extreme
weather events happen, for example, the damage costs are staggering.
“The most important part is cities have access to land-use and zoning
controls and regulations, which the federal and provincial levels don’t
necessarily have,” he says.
“So, cities — in land-use planning — they can influence development by
specifically targeting things such as mixed-use development, compact
development, looking at infill/brownfield (development), green building and
Winnipeg has begun setting modest targets for 2030, aiming to have 50 per
cent of development be infill, which helps create more urban density, but
the city continues to grow outward.
“Even transportation — you can promote active transportation,
transit-oriented development, building pedestrian- friendly communities,
which would reduce our reliance on vehicles for movement,” Guyadeen says.
And this will be critical to Winnipeg’s plan, since sprawl and the
accompanying transportation emissions account for a significant amount of
the city’s overall output.
WHERE DO EMISSIONS COME FROM?
Emissions in Winnipeg fall into three large categories: transportation,
natural gas and waste disposal. Local calculations haven’t been made
available by the city since 2011, but this year council agreed to allot
money for a new inventory.
The 2011 data demonstrated that nearly half (49.7 per cent) of emissions
are generated by transportation, one-third from burning natural gas and
14.9 per cent in the waste-disposal process.
Winnipeg, powered principally by hydroelectricity, does have a leg up when
it comes to emissions generated to create electricity, which make up less
than one per cent of the total. Transit and wastewater both also generate
less than one per cent of the total.
Of the emissions generated by transportation, 65 per cent is by residents
driving. And while the overall goals are slightly more ambitious, the aim
is to lower transportation emissions by only 17 per cent by 2030.
This includes a target for eight per cent of vehicles on the road to be
electric by 2030.
“Eight per cent by 2030? No. That’s a bit low,” says Eric Bibeau, an
associate professor in the department of engineering at the University of
Manitoba. Bibeau was one of the authors of the federal strategic road map
for electric vehicles released in 2009.
Bibeau says Manitoba has lagged behind in electric vehicle sales — less
than one per cent of new registrations in the province in 2018 accounted
for EVs or hybrids, according to Statistics Canada. That compares to
provinces leading the way, such as Quebec and British Columbia where those
vehicles accounted for only 5.2 per cent and 6.1 per cent, respectively.
However, Bibeau believes that in the coming decade, the move for
manufacturers to create electric-powered trucks will change things for
Manitobans, and Winnipeggers, specifically.
“It’s going to be pretty idiotic to buy a gasoline truck by 2025,” he says.
“The eight per cent — I’m not surprised that somebody from Winnipeg would
say that, I’m not surprised. It’s low and it shows the culture of not
understanding what is going on (in the global context).”
The climate plan also sets out a goal of creating 800 kilometres of
pathways for an active transportation network by 2030. Approximately 290
kilometres have been built so far, city officials say.
By 2030, the plan states that 14 per cent of people will need to have
adopted either walking or biking (or another means of active transport) in
order to achieve the 17 per cent emissions-reduction targets. Fifteen per
cent will need to take public transit. According to Statistics Canada,
based on the 2016 census, 4.7 per cent of Winnipeg’s commuters walked, 1.7
per cent cycled and 14 per cent used public transit.
Bowman says this is an area where citizens can step up, incorporating
active or public transportation into their lives as demand will spur more
development. Another piece of the puzzle is analyzing the continued growth
of the commuter communities surrounding the city and he expects that will
be a part of the capital region plan.
“One of the things we’re scrutinizing is the kind of growth that happens in
and around Winnipeg,” he says.
Buildings are Winnipeg’s second-largest source of emissions, with 99 per
cent produced from burning natural gas, the climate report says.
Natural gas has been long considered a clean solution for heating needs,
given that it emits approximately 27 per cent less than burning heating oil
for the same purpose, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says.
The only ways to mitigate emissions from natural gas are to change
mechanisms for heating to renewable sources, or electric (which could put
considerable strain on the province’s electric grid) or to invest in
The city’s plan for mitigation relies entirely on the first and third
The city aims to decrease emissions from heating buildings — both
residential and commercial — by eight per cent by 2030. This includes an
increase (yes, increase) in the amount of natural gas burned, compared with
2011 levels by about 24 per cent; the plan expects that will be offset by
eight per cent of homes switching to renewable sources of energy, or having
made significant energy-efficiency improvements. Meanwhile, 12 per cent of
commercial or industrial buildings will be expected to do the same.
The city will make an effort to motivate the switch — especially for
commercial owners — by creating energy benchmarks for properties so that
each building is rated based on its carbon footprint.
The climate plan also discusses the possibility of using solar energy for
water heaters, or possibly investing in geothermal heat pump technology,
which is more efficient and generally uses renewable energy sources.
The Brady Road Landfill is one of the top single-source emitters of
greenhouse gases in the province.
“While waste generation is similar to other Canadian cities, diversion
rates have been comparatively poor in Winnipeg,” the climate plan states.
Approximately 15 per cent of emissions come from waste disposal, generated
principally by the decomposition of organic matter in a landfill. A compost
program would alleviate and mitigate emissions. A two-year pilot project is
finally set to get underway in the fall after nearly a decade of
“I think I was one of the people who didn’t want to move quickly on
compost. Some people blame me on this, I don’t think I deserve all the
blame, but my view has shifted on compost,” Coun. Brian Mayes says.
“We should be trying to move that forward if we can get some help from the
province. I’d like to pick up the pace right now on this pilot project.”
Winnipeg is the largest city in Canada without a compost program. The city
could have learned from pilot projects conducted in other municipalities
and fast-tracked the initiative, but chose not to pursue it.
“It’s not like this is tricky technology, like some of the stuff at the
North End sewage treatment plant, no,” says Mayes, the St. Vital councillor
who chairs the Standing Policy Committee on Water and Waste, Riverbank
Management and the Environment.
“There’s a bin, you put the bin at the end of your driveway. I think it
came down to cost.”
Bowman agrees that council was not receptive to moving forward with
curbside organics in the last term.
“One of the reasons we wanted to get the pilot is there are localized costs
that have to be quantified so that we can properly budget,” he says.
The city — with the help of the federal government — has invested $3.2
million in drilling 81 gas wells in the landfill to collect the methane
that would otherwise be emitted. Instead of using it for heating or other
useful purposes, the methane is being burned to simply turn the emissions
from methane to less-potent carbon dioxide.
The city’s project web page says the practice will reduce emissions annually by
the same amount as if 21,700 passenger vehicles were taken off the roads.
The city has plans and targets, but without a local inventory conducted
since 2011, knowing where the city stands is difficult. The closest number
that can be used to track progress is the federal government’s inventory
report that considers the province’s emissions from 2018. The report,
released in the spring, indicated that Manitoba’s emissions have continued
to grow, reaching their highest point ever. Between 2005 and 2018,
emissions in the province grew by 8.3 per cent.
Keeping track of progress and reporting it publicly is a critical piece of
the emissions-reduction puzzle. The Carbon Disclosure Project, an
international not-for-profit organization, has become the go-to source for
governments and businesses alike to report their emissions-reduction goals
“Cities that don’t both measure and manage this information are not as
readily prepared to withstand the systemic shocks from either extreme
weather, or from other types of disruptions,” says Bruno Sarda, president
of CDP North America.
“So the motivation these days is that it really is considered to be a
The CDP grades any city government that has voluntarily participated.
Winnipeg was not among the seven Canadian cities that received an A-grade,
the only score posted publicly. Winnipeg has not updated its inventory
report with CDP since 2011.
>From that data, Sarda says the city may be on the right path in terms of
planning, but has not progressed to the same levels as other Canadian
He says council should be seeking inspiration from places such as Windsor,
Ont., which is investing in home retrofit incentives to maximize energy
efficiency. Or Toronto, where idling laws are being enacted and the city
transit fleet is being switched over to electric. Or Vancouver, where a
clear commitment has been made to utilize more renewable energy sources.
All three are A-grade cities, along with North Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary
“The thing we find with A-list cities is that they have about double the
number of actions to adapt to climate change versus non-A-list cities, and
about five times as many (emission) mitigation actions,” he says.
“So Winnipeg is certainly on the right path, at least they have these
emissions targets that they put out in 2018, you know, not super ambitious
— 20 per cent reduction by 2030, relative to 2011 — we see that certainly
as being behind the mark compared to a lot of the climate science, which
says it should probably be a 50 per cent reduction by 2030.
“Eighty per cent by 2050, that used to be pretty good, now it’s considered
a little bit insufficient when it’s really about net-zero by 2050.”
Bibeau is far more critical.
“The city is nowhere near on the ball on anything. They have no active
policy on climate change,” he says. “It reflects the (policy of) the
provincial government. So, there’s nothing really serious going on in
Mayes says there are other actions to consider, such as the city’s creation
of a food council to consider ways to create locally sourced food networks.
“Maybe we’re just inching along, but at least we’re moving forward. At
least we’re doing something,” Mayes says. “I am OK with our efforts.”
At roughly 28 per cent, Winnipeg’s emissions are a fraction of Manitoba’s,
which account for only three per cent of the country’s total, which make up
roughly 1.5 per cent of the global total, Environment and Climate Change
But the premise of all developed countries acting together to solve the
problem is the foundation for global mitigation efforts and it’s not a
responsibility to be shirked, Bowman says.
“There are politicians in the world who don’t believe climate change is
real and they don’t believe that it’s caused by humans. And fortunately, in
Winnipeg, we’re not of that view. City council, I believe, to a person,
appreciates the fact that we need to meet these (greenhouse-gas) targets
and we are in a meaningful way trying to make a difference.... I want to
meet the (emissions) targets and I’m going to continue to be aggressive at
looking at different measures we can do to achieve them,” he says.
“We know that we’ve got more work to do, and we’ll continue to do so. But
we need all levels of government doing their part, and we need citizens
MISSING THE TARGET
City has a modest climate-change plan in place but is seemingly in no hurry
to implement reduction measures
THERE are many instances where municipal governments find themselves
hamstrung, victims to the whims of larger governments with bigger spending
power and more expansive jurisdictions.
But in the case of one of the biggest looming threats to cities — climate
change — municipal governments have an overwhelming amount of power to make
meaningful policy moves. Yet, the City of Winnipeg is dragging its feet on
In 2018, Winnipeg adopted a climate-action plan aimed at lowering
greenhouse-gas emissions generated within the city limits by 20 per cent by
2030, using 2011 levels as a baseline. By 2050, the goal is to have reduced
emissions by 80 per cent.
This is below what the federal government committed the country to in the
2015 Paris Agreement; Canada pledged to lower emissions by 30 per cent by
2030, below 2005 levels — a greater percentage on a lower benchmark year.
Following those commitments, the federal government also committed to
pursuing net-zero emissions by 2050.
When compared with other Canadian cities, Winnipeg’s goals are modest.
Vancouver’s aim was to lower emissions by 2020 by 33 per cent, and by 2050
by 80 per cent, using 2007 as a baseline. One might expect emissions
reductions would at least be more ambitious in Winnipeg than in the heart
of oil and gas country, but Calgary has outstripped Winnipeg in committing
to the same emissions reduction percentage by 2050, but using 2005 as a
“And then as we sort of added a highly consumer lifestyle to the mix, the
need to not only house the humans within the family, but then the stuff
that comes with the shifting lifestyle, the move towards disposable, cheap
items. And it all just begins to group together, and the cost of building
housing, and large housing… is much more affordable building on land at the
perimeter compared with infill and redevelopment in the interior,” Storie
The city, as part of its climate strategy passed by council in 2018, has
begun addressing urban sprawl and has committed to infill making up 50 per
cent of all residential development by 2030 in order to increase the city’s
“We want to be considering that as the city spreads out more, then we would
expect to see that the number and length of person vehicle (trips) are
increasing and other (transportation) options may become less viable or
more costly for the city to implement,” says Lindsay Mierau, manager of the
city’s Office of Sustainability.
“And that has direct implications for addressing greenhouse-gas emissions.”
The city plans to focus infill development in strategic areas close to
transit corridors, and it will also move focus away from single-detached
residences that are more energy intensive than their denser counterparts,
This is one aspect of the city’s climate plan that aims to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2030, when compared with 2011
In order to limit global warming to 1.5 C this century, emissions need to
be reduced by 7.6 per cent every year between 2020 and 2030.
Storie says the kinds of goals the city is laying out for infill will
require policy changes since it is often a secondary choice for developers
because it is typically more costly, given land acquisition costs.
Coun. Brian Mayes, chairman of the Standing Committee on Water and Waste,
Riverbank Management and the Environment, says he thinks focusing on
density alone is an oversimplification of the problem. There has already
been focus on reimagining suburbs to be more complete communities that
people don’t have to leave as often, he says.
Then, there is the problem that if single-family homes end up being in
short supply in Winnipeg, there’s nothing stopping people from buying in
neighbouring communities and taking their tax dollars with them, he says.
“It’s all billed as if we just need to build up,” he says. “Well that’s a
bit simplistic. We do need to have people living downtown, but there’s tens
of thousands of people who don’t want that.” he says.
Winnipeg is far from the only city to struggle with urban sprawl. It’s a
question that’s been raised in towns and cities across North America, in
large part because there is no shortage of land.
New, imaginative approaches to sustainable neighbourhood development are
being considered across the country and around the world. For example, in
Edmonton, the city is undertaking a first-of-its-kind community — called
Planners are attempting to reimagine the concept of a neighbourhood
with pedestrian streets, relegating cars to back lanes. The community will
be collectively powered using geothermal heat-pump technology to provide
more efficient heating and cooling systems. And local businesses
and recreational facilities will be integrated within the community in an
attempt to bring services to residents, instead of forcing them to travel
to find those services which, the theory goes, lowers their reliance on
But at the same time, bedroom communities across Canada are growing at
alarming rates as sprawl in major cities hits certain thresholds. Cochrane,
40 kilometres northeast of Calgary, saw a growth rate of 47.1 per cent
between 2011 and 2016, Statistics Canada says. That was second only to
Warman, Sask., just north of Saskatoon, which grew by 55.1 per cent.
Manitoba hasn’t seen the same explosion in growth rates of bedroom
communities that’s been witnessed in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and
Saskatchewan, but the Rural Municipality of Ritchot, just south of
Winnipeg, did make the top 20 list for 2011-2016, with a growth rate of
21.9 per cent.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reported last fall that more
than half of the residents living in communities surrounding Winnipeg
commuted into the city on a daily basis — from Springfield, Headingley, St.
Clements and East and West St. Paul.
Sprawl has been looked at from every which way, Storie says — the effect it
has on infrastructure spending, on the provision of services, on the
socioeconomic inequality between neighbourhoods. As climate change becomes
a major action item on cities’ agendas, however, transportation needs of
people living further from work and services really is the biggest
“My biggest concern here, in terms of urban development, is the balance
between sprawl and transportation and efficiency of transportation,” he
says. “We have a very strong car culture in this city, so there needs to be
incentive, either through a rebate program or through a provision of
services, whereby we get people out of their vehicles and into transit, and
reduce that demand on the car.”
*Residents to get new decision-making powers in England cycling
Residents will get powers to banish through-traffic from local streets and
councils will be prevented from building substandard cycle lanes under what
Downing Street has billed as a revolution for cycling and walking in
The plans will see the creation of a watchdog to ensure new cycle and
walking routes are up to standard, intended to act as a transport
equivalent of the schools inspectorate, Ofsted.
Active Travel England, to be led by a yet-to-be-appointed commissioner for
walking and cycling, will refuse to fund paint-only bike lanes – without
physical barriers or protection from cars – or routes where cyclists and
pedestrians have to share space. It could also cut budgets in other areas
for highways departments which fail to deliver on active transport.
The plans, led by Boris Johnson, will be funded by a previously announced
£2bn in new funding over five years, with a pledge of longer-term money.
They include cycle training for every child or adult who seeks it, a pilot
scheme for GPs to prescribe cycling to improve patients’ health, and
thousands of miles of protected bike lanes.
Local people will be given a chance to choose whether residential side
streets should be closed to through motor traffic to make them safer for
pedestrians and cyclists, under plans to be put out for consultation.
Another proposal could see some main roads, for example in cities, kept as
through-routes for pedestrians, cyclists and buses, with other motor
traffic allowed access only.
Also on the table are grants to help people with the cost of
electric-assist bikes, which can encourage cycling, particularly on longer
or more hilly commutes. However, these tend to be more expensive than
traditional bikes, often costing well over £1,000. It has not yet been
specified how much assistance might be offered.
Following Monday’s announcement of a new strategy to combat
the push for more active travel is a parallel strand of Downing Street
efforts to improve public health, an issue highlighted by worse coronavirus
outcomes faced by many people with chronic conditions connected to weight
and inactive living, such as type 2 diabetes.
More active travel will also relieve pressure on the roads and on public
transport, where capacity has been cut due to social distancing measures.
Since May, people have been urged to walk or cycle to work or elsewhere
Johnson, who will formally launch the initiative on Tuesday, said it was
“the time to shift gears and press ahead with our biggest and boldest plans
yet to boost active travel”.
He said: “From helping people get fit and healthy and lowering their risk
of illness, to improving air quality and cutting congestion, cycling and
walking have a huge role to play in tackling some of the biggest health and
environmental challenges that we face.”
The plans were welcomed by campaigners, who nonetheless warned that their
effectiveness would depend on proper implementation and necessary funding.
Chris Boardman, the former cycling champion who is now policy adviser to
British Cycling <https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/cycling>, said
the plans showed “the level of ambition required to transform the country”.
He added: “Many will focus on the health benefits of more people getting
around by bike or on foot, but we know that these are changes which reap
dividends in all walks of life, not least the quality of the air we
breathe, the congestion on our roads and the economic benefit for shops,
cafes and bars.”
Matt Mallinder, director of influence and engagement at the campaign
UK <https://www.cyclinguk.org/>, said the plan was “a truly comprehensive
and far reaching set of measures”, but warned about the levels of funding.
“To truly shift gears so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits
of cycling the £2bn of funding already announced will not be enough,” he
said. “However, with a forthcoming spending review, now’s the time for the
chancellor to invest in the future and make the prime minister’s vision of
a golden age of cycling come true.”
The new standards for cycling and walking routes will be fully spelled out
in updated official guidance to be published on Tuesday. The proposals
include more cycle racks at stations and other transport hubs, as well as
in town and city centres, and for protected bike hangars allowing safe
storage for people who cannot keep a bike at home.
Others cover areas such as strengthening the Highway Code to protect
pedestrians and cyclists, giving councils new powers to tackle traffic
offences, and pilot schemes for local authorities to give contracts in
areas such as waste disposal to cycle freight companies.
Please share this job opportunity. Green Action Centre's Sustainable
Transportation team is hiring Sustainable Transportation Coordinators! See
excerpt from the posting below.
Full job posting can be found online here
and is also attached.
Sustainable Transportation Program Coordinators
Title: Sustainable Transportation Coordinator
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Term (Two openings):
1 full-time, 1-year term position at 35 hours per week;
1 part-time, 1-year term position at 14-21 hours per week.
Potential extension for both positions beyond the term.
Application Deadline: 4:00 p.m. CDT on August 7, 2020.
Program Areas: Sustainable Transportation programs at Green Action Centre
include Active and Safe Routes to School, Commuter Challenge, and Workplace
Green Action Centre seeks two independent, energetic and well-organized
individuals to fill roles within our sustainable transportation team,
supporting a range of program delivery and coordination.
These positions will focus on engaging schools, students, workplaces,
employees and community organizations to make active and green
transportation options both appealing and within reach, ultimately reducing
Manitoba’s GHG emissions from personal vehicles by increasing walking,
cycling, public transit and carpooling as preferred modes of travel.
Key activities include organizing the following annual events: Bike to
School Month in May, Commuter Challenge in June, Walktober in October, and
The Jack Frost Challenge in February. It will also include assisting with
the delivery of our Workplace Commuter Options program (WCO), specifically
the province-wide ridematching tool, GoManitoba.
*Denae Penner *(she/her/hers)
Active and Safe Routes to School, Green Action Centre
204-925-3777 ext. 114 | 3rd floor, 303 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, MB
*Green Action Centre is your green living hub*
Support our work by becoming a member
<http://greenactioncentre.ca/support/become-a-member/>. Donate at
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Empty roads enticed more Manitobans to just floor it: MPI
THE number of people driving at least 50 kilometres above the speed limit
skyrocketed during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba.
There were 148 speed-related serious driving offences reported to Manitoba
Public Insurance’s registrar of motor vehicles from April till the end of
That’s a 60 per cent jump from the 93 speed-related serious driving
offences recorded in the same period last year.
MPI has never recorded such an increase in speeding, said spokesman Brian
He attributed it to fewer vehicles on the road because people stayed home
during the pandemic.
“In some situations drivers were, I suppose, taking advantage of the lack of
other vehicles on the roadways, picking up their speeds significantly,” he
The most serious case of speeding during that period involved a driver
going 98 km/h over the limit. The motorist was doing 178 km/h in an 80 km
zone. The average serious speeding incident for the three-month period was
59 km/h over the posted limit.
Although more motorists are back on the road, the high-risk speeding continues,
“There are far too many drivers who have absolutely no regard for the
safety of themselves, their passengers or other innocent motorists,” he
MPI’s data show serious driving offences aren’t exclusive to a specific
region of the province — they occur across Manitoba and at all hours of the
"Drivers, for the most part, are not equipped to travel at these speeds
safely,” Smiley said. “Police officers, ambulance drivers — these are
people who are professionally trained to drive at high speeds. The ordinary
citizen does not have that training, nor should they be going that fast.”
People get serious driving offences after being pulled over by police.
Photo radar installations only capture licence plates, so those tickets
don’t count as offences.
After receiving a notice, drivers have five business days to schedule a
show cause hearing with MPI. About 90 per cent of those hearings result in
licence suspension, MPI statistics show. The suspension is based on the
speeding ticket and the plaintiff’s driving history.
Drivers are more likely to get into a collision while driving at
high speeds, Smiley said. Speeding increases the risk of losing control of
a vehicle and affects reaction time and stopping distance.
Speed contributed to about one in five deaths on the road in Manitoba last
year, MPI said.
“(Chronic speeders) need to do a self-evaluation and adjust accordingly,
not only for their own safety, but the safety of everyone on the roadways,”
He said collision rates in Manitoba are normal now, but that’s not
surprising since there’s no ice or snow on streets.
Passengers play a role in keeping roads safe, especially when they’re in a
vehicle with someone who’s speeding, Smiley said.
“Do not be afraid to speak up,” he said. “Tell that driver to slow down.”