The challenge: Show that 100+ cyclists in Winnipeg care enough about safer
cycling to contribute $100 on Giving Tuesday for a strong campaign to speed
up cycling infrastructure implementation in City transportation plans.
5b5d5&id=cd92080f90&e=74a3f90507> I'm in; safe biking is worth $100
Giving Tuesday is about donating to things that matter, after the spending
sprees of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Safer cycling in Winnipeg matters
* The City has underspent its 2015 pedestrian/cycling implementation
plan by more than $60 million.
* Now, the City is developing a Transportation Master Plan to guide
road infrastructure investments to 2050.
* Winnipeg must achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050
* Emissions from transportation account for over half of Winnipegs
* To meet its climate targets, Winnipeg must change course NOW to make
travel by bicycle a safe, convenient and enjoyable choice.
Bike Winnipeg will use resources from this campaign to collaborate with CAA
on a city-wide survey on climate and transportation, place strategic
advertising, and other projects to inform City leaders on the benefits of
redirecting resources to encourage travel by bicycle.
5b5d5&id=eb5b413da6&e=74a3f90507> I'm in; safe biking is worth $100
The first 18 $100 donations will be matched by our amazing sponsors for this
campaign; HTFC Planning and Design and Bikes and Beyond
Alternatively, $100 will buy ¾ of a tank of gas for a Ford F150 and produce
170 kg CO2!
Please share this message with your friends today.
5b5d5&id=d838c10c39&e=74a3f90507> Facebook page for progress updates on this
Interesting article circulated by Functional Transit on fare free transit.
In terms of paying for it, a possible funding approach (similar to the
U-Pass) would entail every person over 18 years old paying for a monthly
bus pass equivalent (with specific exceptions) whether they ride transit or
not. This could provide even more funding to enhance and expand transit
services than the status quo.
A chance to redefine transportation
OVER the next two weeks, the City of Winnipeg is looking for public
feedback on Transportation Master Plan: 2050, a 30-year blueprint to guide
development of Winnipeg’s transportation network.
In the past, transportation planning has focused primarily on strategies to
move cars, but today it’s seen as a central tool for building healthy,
sustainable and prosperous communities. Urban mobility is fundamental to
economic viability, environmental sustainability and social equity, making
Transportation Master Plan: 2050 a key document for the city.
The first step in developing a new transportation strategy will be to learn
from the past and accept that current economic challenges, including
Winnipeg’s $3 billion infrastructure deficit for roads and bridges, are
largely the result of previous planning decisions.
We have spent decades building a city almost singularly focused on
automobile transportation, resulting in a sprawling, low-density urban form
that has become economically unsustainable. Despite record-breaking road
maintenance spending, our current pace of renewal means new roads built
today won’t be replaced for more than 100 years.
Nearly 10,000 more cars are added to Winnipeg’s streets every year, and in
response we build more roads to accommodate them. This begins the endless
cycle of induced demand. The convenience of expanded road capacity
encourages more people to drive, increasing the number of cars on the road
until the new capacity is met. This results in traffic congestion and
pressure to build yet more roads.
After decades of designing North American cities around cars, it has become
clear you get what you build for. If you build for more cars, you get more
cars. Thankfully, induced demand works for all modes of transportation. If
you build a more efficient public transit system, you get more people
riding the bus. If you build a safe and connected network of sidewalks and
bike lanes, you get more people walking and biking.
A car-centric city is not only economically unsustainable, but also
environmentally unsustainable. Vehicles account for almost half of
Winnipeg’s greenhouse-gas emissions, by far the largest contributor.
Transitioning to electric vehicles is important, but the climate crisis is
far too immediate to rely on that approach exclusively. Strategies that
allow people to drive less are much more effective at reducing
Winnipeg’s Climate Action Plan has set a target of doubling the number of
trips taken by walking or biking by 2030.
To achieve this aggressive goal, Transportation Master Plan: 2050 will
likely have to reconsider the Winnipeg Pedestrian and Cycling Strategy.
Winnipeg’s cycling network has increased by 75 per cent since 2015, but the
vast majority of this is suburban, off-street shared-use pathways, directed
mainly at biking for recreation.
If we want people to use bikes for transportation, we must build protected
lanes on higher traffic, main streets. Winnipeg’s plan calls for few larger
streets to have cycling infrastructure, focusing instead on easier, low
traffic, out-of-the-way residential streets.
This summer, Salter Street was rebuilt without bike lanes because the
plan is to have a “greenway” on nearby Powers Street. If you have never
heard of Powers Street, it’s because unless you live there, or know someone
who does, you would never find yourself driving on that small residential
Salter Street has the destinations that people want to go to — shops,
restaurants, schools, libraries — so the cycling infrastructure should be
located there. This scenario is playing out across the city on such streets
as Sargent Avenue, Corydon Avenue and Provencher Boulevard.
If we want to encourage people to use bikes as transportation, we must plan
for it in the same way we plan for driving, with direct routes on major
streets connected to the places people need to go, particularly in
lower-income neighbourhoods where only nine per cent of the city’s cycling
current infrastructure exists.
A renewed strategy for cycling infrastructure on main streets, dovetailed
with Winnipeg Transit’s plan to implement a high-frequency transit model
that will transform main streets into transit conduits, presents an
important opportunity to redefine many of Winnipeg’s major arteries into
A complete street is designed to safely support a broad range of mobility
options, including walking, biking, transit and driving. A successful
complete street supports transportation equity by providing a range of
accessible mobility options that improve access to education, employment,
and recreation for people of all ages, abilities, and income levels. As
mobility hubs, complete streets attract a diversity of people, that can
stimulate investment, new development and improve neighbourhood economies.
They can create more livable communities, provide local employment
opportunities and be catalysts for small business entrepreneurship.
Mobility has become a fundamental component of good city-building, and
Transportation Master Plan: 2050 is an important opportunity to move
Winnipeg in a new direction that makes our city more economically and
environmentally sustainable, builds great communities and improves quality
of life for everyone.
*Brent Bellamy is senior design architect for Number Ten Architectural
Speed limit changes for safety recommendations
A new city report recommends modifying speeds on seven roads, including
Bison Drive and Bishop Grandin Boulevard, to improve safety.
Winnipeg’s infrastructure committee will review the proposed changes at its
● Changing Bison Drive, between a point 100 m west of Barnes Street and a
point 300 m west of Pembina Highway, from 80 km/h to 60 km/h;
● Reducing Marion Street from 60 km/h to 50 km/h between Youville Street
and a point 100 m east of Archibald Street;
● Adjusting Youville Street between Marion and Goulet streets to 50 km/h
from 60 km/h;
● Lowering Plessis Road’s 80 km/h limit to 70 km/h from 100 m south of
Camiel Sys Street and the city’s boundary;
● Setting Ethan Boyer Way’s limit to 70 km/h from Brady Road to Waverley
● Changing the Winnipeg stretch of Hallama Drive to 60 km/h;
● Adjusting Bishop Grandin Boulevard between Lagimodiere Boulevard and
Boulevard des Hivemants to 80 km/h.
Parked vehicles a problem for cyclists
Curb-protected bike lanes proposed
ICY ruts, potholes and poor visibility aren’t cyclists’ only problems in
bike lanes — parked vehicles are an ever present nuisance. Curb-protected
bike lanes, which separate active transportation from rows of parked cars
and vehicle traffic, will be safer than the current standard of painted
lines and parking signs, a new City of Winnipeg report says.
City bureaucrats recommend the city erect curb barriers on six parking
protected bike lanes. However, only one lane route has money set aside for
“We need to be spending more to make our city walkable, bikeable and
transit friendly,” said Mark Cohoe, Bike Winnipeg’s executive director. “If
we don’t radically change what we’re doing, we’re going to see that our
climate goals are impossible to meet.”
Cohoe said he often encounters parked cars in Arthur Street’s bike lane. It
may be hard for motorists to recognize they’re not in a parking spot, he
“Often times (as a biker), it’s not like you can just shift left and go
past that vehicle,” Cohoe said.
Instead, cyclists must merge into traffic, hop onto the sidewalk or try and
squeeze past in their lane.
“It’s an unpredictable manoeuvre,” Cohoe said. “Someone coming up behind
you might not expect it, so it’s dangerous.”
A big reason why people don’t bike across Winnipeg is a fear of traffic,
“Getting these (barriers) in place really provides people that space where
they’re going to feel safe, comfortable and secure,” he said.
The city report, to be reviewed by Winnipeg’s infrastructure committee
Wednesday, proposes upgrading Sherbrook Street, Arthur Street, Princess
Street, Bannatyne Avenue, Notre Dame Avenue and Eastway bike lanes “over
The barriers cost about $10,000 per 100 metre of bike lane, based on
previous pricing and excluding other concrete work, the report says.
Winnipeg has budgeted $177,000 to upgrade the 595-metre strip of Sherbrook
Street between Wolseley Avenue and Broadway. Bannatyne Avenue has been left
unprotected to accommodate truck loading and turning manoeuvres.
The other four roads have “no current plan or funding to upgrade” and must
be prioritized against other projects in the city’s pedestrian and
the report reads.
Coun. Matt Allard, who chairs the infrastructure committee, said he’s in
favour of constructing more barricades.
“(They’re an) effective way of substantially improving the quality, safety,
and desirability of existing painted bike lanes and other locations where
the (physical) space exists on the current road width,” he wrote in an
The city considered poly-posts to separate bike lanes from parked vehicles,
but the plastic bollards must be removed in the winter. Allard said he’ll
ask questions about snow clearing for active transportation at the upcoming
City cycling paths can be treacherous this time of year, depending on the
route, according to Currie Gillespie, who’s on the Manitoba Cycling
Association’s board of directors.
He’d love additional barriers between lanes and parking spots — but in the
meantime, he’d appreciate more maintenance.
“The sanding on the bike paths has not been appropriate,” Gillespie said,
adding it’s gotten better over the years.
“We get more butts on bikes by making a safe, efficient, well-maintained
route for those people to get where they want to go,” he said. “There’s not
enough attention to that principle yet.”
The city would need to increase its equipment designed for treating snow
and ice in bike lanes, should more become barrier protected, Gillespie said.
Vehicles parked in bike lanes could be ticketed.
— With files from Kevin Rollason
*‘No cheap answer’ to fixing icy sidewalks *
AT least once per winter, Allen Mankewich’s wheelchair loses traction and
spills over onto an icy Winnipeg sidewalk.
Less than two weeks after winter conditions set in for the season, it’s
“There’s ice buildup on a lot of the sidewalks, it gets really rutted. I
actually flipped my chair (Sunday) trying to get through a spot on the
sidewalk at Portage Avenue, which is a major route. If they can’t even
clear those major routes properly, the side street (sidewalks) are going to
be terrible,” said Mankewich.
While speeding up to avoid getting stuck, the front wheels of his chair
caught on ice ruts, forcing him to be flung out, he said.
“It’s a safety risk for people who use any sort of mobility device. It’s
even challenging for people who can walk. You see people walking very
carefully over sections of the sidewalk that appear really slippery,” said
He’s among several residents now urging the city to find ways to better
clear the walking paths of ice and snow.
“We are a winter city, so we need to properly allocate our resources to
making sure that people can actually get out during the winter,” said
The city considers its latest snow clearing operation complete but is still
monitoring conditions, said Michael Cantor, Winnipeg’s manager of streets
Fluctuating temperatures have unfortunately led to some ice accumulation,
“When you have temperatures around zero... you have some thawing and
frosting again and icy sidewalks. Mother Nature (gave) us some challenges,”
While city policy does not include a set timeline to sand sidewalks to add
traction, Cantor said crews begin inspecting how slippery sidewalks are
right after plowing ends. The length of the sanding process depends on how
much equipment is available to get the work done.
“We make sure that we use every piece of equipment, we man the equipment we
have and we hire every piece of equipment that the industry can provide us.
We really do it on an as-soon-as-possible basis… We monitor streets and
sidewalks in the same manner,” said Cantor.
He said work on streets begins promptly, in part to clear paths for
emergency vehicles. Street snow clearing vehicles also tend to move faster
than those used on sidewalks, making the former process quicker, Cantor
City staff are now studying ways to make sidewalks and active
transportation routes less slippery and more passable during winter
weather, with a report expected to offer suggestions by next spring or
Cantor said there are no obvious solutions at this point. While adding more
staff and equipment could be considered, it would come with a cost, he
“There’s no cheap answer,” he said. Cantor urged Winnipeggers to report
specific sidewalk concerns to 311.
Omar Kinnarath said sidewalks in the West End now resemble skating rinks
with icy peaks, conditions that have triggered many complaints among his
fellow bus riders in recent days.
Kinnarath, who has already fallen twice since the snow set in for the
season, said the city should explore several options to improve winter
sidewalk maintenance, including the purchase of more equipment, hiring more
staff and possibly even reimbursing citizens for clearing snow.
He believes the city has consistently cleared snow off roads to a higher
standard than sidewalks, which won’t help convince citizens to walk and
bike, something the city hopes they will do to reduce greenhouse-gas
“We’re pushing active transportation and we’re pushing cycling… (so) the
mechanism and the infrastructure needs to be put in place for this to
happen. If it doesn’t happen, then we’re back to driving cars,” said
Marilyn Bird argues an “icy, slippery, hazardous mess” of pedestrian paths
in the North End would have been greatly improved by quicker snow removal.
“The first snowfall of the year is also the most important. They’ve got to
get on that way quicker,” said Bird.
For sidewalks along major routes, bus routes and collector streets, city
policy aims to maintain a compacted snow surface, with clearing to follow
five centimetres of snow accumulation or drifting. Plowing should be
completed within 36 hours after the end of an average storm.
The city also aims to clear residential sidewalks near elementary schools
and active living centres within 36 hours of a storm. The target timeline
to clear all other residential sidewalks is within five working days after
the operation starts, which occurs after eight centimetres of snow
joyanne.pursaga(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga
‘Winter city’ should be pedestrian-friendly
WHEN the weather outside is frightful, Winnipeg’s sidewalks are often the
The city received its first real blast of winter in mid-November, a two-day
system that dropped 26 centimetres of snow and rendered most of Winnipeg’s
sidewalks and active transportation paths anywhere from tricky to
Crews were not expected to begin clearing sidewalks in residential
neighbourhoods until nearly a week after the first snowflakes fell, which
left pedestrians contending with sloppy, Slurpee-like conditions during
mild daytime highs, and then treacherous sheets of rutted ice after
temperatures descended at night.
For a wide swath of the population — including pedestrians, wheelchair
users, disabled people, elderly people, parents with strollers — this is a
significant, frustrating and baffling problem that Winnipeggers seem to
encounter every winter, despite the fact ours is a winter city that can see
snow accumulation as early as October and as late as May.
Poorly cleared or uncleared sidewalks and active transportation routes are
a legitimate concern. Ice-covered surfaces can lead to injury- causing
slips and falls, which eat up healthcare resources — a particularly
pressing concern during a pandemic.
Impassable routes can also confine wheelchair users and those with mobility
issues inside their homes, which is isolating, or it can send frustrated
sidewalk users onto the roadways, which is dangerous.
Meanwhile, it’s well known that being able to get outside for fresh air,
exercise, and a shot of that all-important vitamin D is important for
people’s mental and physical health. And if we want the city’s population
to become less reliant on cars — as Winnipeg’s climate action plan
identifies it does, calling for a 50 per cent reduction in single-occupancy
vehicle use by 2030 — then people need to be able to get around safely
during the six months of the year snow is on the ground.
Still, despite the dozens of reasons cited every year about the need
to prioritize improving winter conditions on the more than 3,000
kilometres of sidewalks and 400 kilometres of active transportation paths
in this city — not to mention the thousands of complaints the city receives
every year from fed-up residents — roads tailored to motor vehicles continue
to be the focus of snow-clearing efforts.
Last January, St. Boniface Coun. Matt Allard, frustrated by the number of
spills he has personally taken, called for a study on the health costs
linked to slips and falls on sidewalks and how changes to snow clearing and
ice treatments could make the surfaces safer.
The resulting report, which was released in July, called for the city to
track how long it takes to sand sidewalks, as well as better tracking of
complaints. In other words: more studies.
Other winter cities have figured this out. Oslo, Norway, and Helsinki,
Finland, have heated sidewalks in high-traffic areas, for example,
that keep them
clear of snow and ice.
But Winnipeg isn’t just a winter city. It’s also a notoriously
pedestrian-unfriendly one, and it shows in its policies and planning. Many
streets don’t even have sidewalks to clear.
Perhaps it’s time for this so-called winter city to start living up to the
description. Until then, however, it seems it will remain up to
Winnipeggers — for the sake of their own safety, and the safety of others —
to pick up their shovels and take the timely clearing of sidewalk snow into
their own hands.
Delay in snow clearing leaves active residents frosted
MOVING as quickly as possible with his blue walker, Joseph Owen stayed
close to the curb on Notre Dame Avenue while noon-hour traffic sped by on
wet pavement outside the Health Sciences Centre.
After struggling with his walker in the rutted, wet snow on the sidewalk,
the 61-year-old dialysis patient chose to walk in the street to get to his
“I hope that all the drivers will notice me when I’m using the street and I
hope they understand why I’m doing that,” the senior from Pauingassi First
Nation said after making it safely to his stop following an appointment at
“I can’t make it that far because in these conditions it’s very hard to
push my walker,” Owen said. “I had to use the street where it’s a little
As of Monday afternoon, the City of Winnipeg said all Priority 1 streets
and just under half of Priority 2 streets had been cleared of snow after
about 26 centimetres fell between Thursday and Saturday.
However, cyclists and pedestrians had to contend with variable conditions on
the more than 3,000 kilometres of sidewalks and 400 km of active
transportation paths as less than 40 per cent were plowed.
Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg, decided to commute by bus
this week knowing his route would be inaccessible either because plows had
not yet cleared the path, or had dumped snow from the street into the
dedicated bike lane.
“If you’re someone that doesn’t have a car, if you are someone that’s
relying on walking, biking or taking transit, what we’ve seen in the last
few days is where the city prioritizes you, and it’s last,” Cohoe said.
“We do a good job at plowing streets for cars, but if we’re looking to get
more people walking, more people biking, more people taking transit, we’re
nowhere near anywhere we need to be.”
Cohoe said the City of Winnipeg’s policy to clean sidewalks and active
transportation paths at the same time as prioritized streets, or very
shortly after, within 36 hours of a storm concluding isn’t always carried
out in practice.
Meanwhile, crews are expected to begin clearing sidewalks in residential
neighbourhoods today, which can take up to five days to complete with the
30 available plows.
Cohoe said at that rate getting people to give up their cars in the winter
for public transit, biking and other transportation modes will be a tough
sell, adding the City of Winnipeg’s climate action plan calls for a 50 per
cent reduction in single-occupancy vehicle use by 2030.
“To get to that it’s a substantial switch in how we travel, but where’s the
motivation, where’s the encouragement?” Cohoe said. For Allen Mankewich, a
downtown resident and wheelchair user, every winter brings the same
challenge as sidewalks become nearly impossible to traverse, especially
when mild conditions mean wet, mushy snow is left covering the pavement.
“Nothing seems to change in terms of city hall policy or process or funding
into sidewalk clearing. So it’s just really frustrating,” Mankewich said.
Mankewich said he is thinking about submitting a complaint to the Manitoba
Human Rights Commission over the city’s current snow clearing policy and
the funding allocated to ensure sidewalks are accessible through the winter.
“It’s one of the ways that things can change. Just encouraging them to make
changes and asking them to make changes doesn’t always work,” Mankewich
“People who don’t drive, they have rights too. They have the right to
mobility, they have the right to get around, and if we have to spend more
to make the sidewalks clear, we should look at doing that.”
Infrastructure renewal and public works chairman Coun. Matt Allard said he
hasn’t received many complaints regarding the latest snow clearing effort,
but acknowledged there is room for improvement.
“Public works keeps saying that we do a very good job relative to other
cities,” Allard said. “But regardless of how good a job we’re doing, we
want to get people out and about walking and biking in the winter, so we
need to keep looking at options to make it easier and better for people.”
Allard said the public works committee has asked city administration to
provide recommendations on improving winter sidewalk conditions and a
report is expected in the coming months, but not before the end of this
In the meantime, Owen hopes he won’t be forced into traffic when he goes to
his next dialysis appointment Wednesday.
“It’s really poor,” Owen said. “It’s not being cleared the way that they
should be doing it.”