*Open Streets returning to Winnipeg without pedestrians*
WINNIPEG -- Starting next week, cyclists will once again have some roads in
Winnipeg all to themselves.
On Thursday, city council voted to move ahead with the Open Streets concept.
This means that beginning on Monday, vehicle traffic will be limited to one
block on select routes to allow cyclists to use the street.
However, unlike last year when pedestrians and cyclists shared the widened
roads, the current plan would only allow people on bikes.
A report from the province says pedestrians are not allowed on the road
where a sidewalk is present.
"Walking on the street is wonderful and it should be allowed because right
now because of the restrictions we can't go anywhere," said Gabriela
Aguero, who enjoys jogging along Wolseley Avenue.
"Some people don't own bikes and the sidewalks are so narrow, we cannot
keep the distance on the sidewalk."
The report recommends the city reach out to the province to change the law.
"That is the law right now of the province. I think that we as a council
and residents respect the legislation," said Mayor Brian Bowman.
Despite the law, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said no legal changes
would be needed and the city can just section off the street to separate
vehicles from pedestrians and cyclists.
"The City of Winnipeg is allowed to do anything they want to do as long as
they do it safely," said Schuler.
Aguero said no matter what happens, she will be using the street.
"What option do we have? I don't want to run close to a mom who is carrying
a baby in a carrier because I can't run with a mask," she said.
The streets will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Resident groups want seven-day enhanced street access
RESIDENTS associations are pushing for more access to two “open streets,”
despite opposition from at least one city councillor.
Members of multiple associations will lobby city council today to offer
seven-day active transportation access on sections of Scotia Street and
Rover Avenue. Those are two of 17 roads proposed to become “enhanced summer
cycling routes” through a pilot project this year, where vehicular travel
will be limited to one block during set hours.
“Open streets” are meant to create more room for cyclists.
“Having the seven-day access brought (Scotia) Street to life in a
completely new way (last year) … The community support for the open routes
has been very strong,” said Brent Johnson, secretary of the Luxton
But last year’s “open streets,” included pedestrians. Since then, the city
has discovered that allowing foot traffic to share the space with vehicles
violates the Highway Traffic Act. This year, it’s proposed the routes be
set aside for cyclists only.
The act prohibits pedestrians from walking on roadways where a “reasonably
passable” sidewalk is present.
Scotia Street (from Anderson Avenue at St. Cross Street to Armstrong
Avenue) and Rover Avenue (from Hallet to Stephens streets) are currently
slated to offer enhanced cyclist access on Sundays and holidays only, a
limit proposed by Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski).
The groups hope to change that to seven days a week, as is proposed for
most of the other cycling routes.
Johnson said he regularly walks and bikes on Scotia Street in West Kildonan
and believes that while the one-block limit can inconvenience drivers, the
public benefit outweighs any downside.
“There’s certainly a demand and desire for people to experience this part
of the city in a different way. Why should we deny that in favour for
convenience… for cars?” he asked.
Johnson expects Rover Avenue, which he’s used to commute by bike, would
also benefit from such access.
“Rover is a vital link in the active transportation network that the city
is slowly but surely developing,” he said.
Daniel Guenther, president of the Garden City Residents Association, said
Scotia Street also provided his neighbourhood with an outlet for physically
distanced exercise last year.
“With Scotia being the closest open street to Garden City… (it) definitely
filled that void,” said Guenther.
Coun. Eadie, who has lived in the Scotia Street area for 54 years, said he
has received multiple complaints about the seven-day access, which city
staff had initially proposed for the two routes this year. He said
residents were concerned the vehicle travel limit interfered with delivery
vehicles and buses last year.
“The people who are for (this) are adamant (the route must be open) seven days
and the people who are against (it) don’t want any days,” said Eadie.
The councillor said he believes a switch to Saturday, Sunday and holiday
access for Rover and Scotia is preferable. He plans to ask council to add
Saturday access at its meeting today, where a final vote on the pilot
project will take place.
He expects that “compromise” would best address the needs of all residents.
“I’m just moving to balance the ‘for’ and ‘against’ perspectives of
people,” he said.
Eadie said these routes should otherwise match the timelines of the seven
day ones, by running from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., from as early as May 3 to Nov.
Eadie said he’s asked city staff to explore if Rover Avenue could have its
speed reduced to 30 km/h, something active transportation advocates have
lobbied for on residential streets.
[Note: This same group is raising funds to try to stop the Wolseley Bike
Walk Bike project creates debate, concern
BY TONY ZERUCHA
SPECIAL TO CANSTAR
Not everybody is convinced increased active transportation measures are a
good idea for Wolseley, but all sides agree that more public consultation
should be done on the issue.
The City of Winnipeg is currently designing the Wolseley to Downtown Walk
Bike Project to improve travel choices, accessibility and connectivity in
The areas affected by the project include Wolseley Avenue, Westminster
Avenue, Balmoral Street and Granite Way.
According to the current plan, the interconnected section of Balmoral
Street, Young Street and Westminster Avenue between Langside Street and
Granite Way will see dedicated 1.8-metre bike lanes on both sides protected
by adjustable curbs along with two 3.3-metre-wide traffic lanes.
Beginning at Young Street, these will switch to one two-way bike lane on
the south side of the street. Westminster Avenue between Langside and
Chestnut streets will see two traffic lanes ranging in width between 3.2
and four metres, along with dedicated bike lanes on each side of the street.
Some people in the neighbourhood believe the inconveniences of the changes
far outweigh any benefits they provide.
Ray Hignell, who’s lived in Wolseley for 40 years, is spokesperson for the
Wolseley West Broadway Coalition, which recently delivered flyers
throughout the neighbourhood. He believes the project will have negative
“People are using the pandemic to promote this thing to say we should all
ride bicycles,” Hignell said. “It’s a great inconvenience for everybody.” The
WWBC fears the changes will make Wolseley a “car-unfriendly” neighbourhood
with unintended side effects.
With the narrower lanes, Hignell suspects traffic will back up on already
busy streets during peak periods if it cannot move around cars waiting to
turn. That will drive people to use side streets more frequently and take
longer routes in a bid to avoid slowdowns. Pollution will increase and
counter what some of the measures are supposed to address.
The changes will also require the removal of 48 parking spots and loading
zones. According to the City of Winnipeg, peak parking rates on Westminster
occur between 10 a.m. and noon, when 70 per cent of spaces are full. Midday
parking percentages on Chestnut, Walnut and Furby are 34, 60 and 75. The
problem is worse on weekends and when events are held at area churches,
Hignell said. The loss of parking spots will increase scarcity.
“How would you like it if your street banned parking and you have friends
over and there is nowhere to park?” Hignell asked.
“It is a terrible deal. It’s a lot of parking spots to get rid of.
Parking’s already tight there.”
Wolseley Residents Association president Marianne Cerilli said her
organization supports the open streets concept as a needed step to combat
“The reason why we’re in support of open streets and the move to improve
bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is because we realize we have to
change our transportation methods from individual car trips as much as
possible,” Cerilli said. “Many understand the climate crisis and they want
to bring a climate justice agenda to the neighbourhood.”
Cerilli said cars are the second-highest emitters of greenhouse gases in
the area and that society needs to understand the significant role they
play in pollution.
She disagrees with Hignell’s concerns about increased traffic.
“They’re based on the assumption people won’t mode-shift,” Cerilli said.
Cerilli said Wolseley is a very walkable neighbourhood with a good mix of
residential development and small shops. She believes that addressing the
issue of vehicles using the neighbourhood as a shortcut to Maryland Street
would significantly reduce traffic volumes.
Adrian Challis is the chair of the WRA’s transportation committee. He
believes there is no way of knowing what the impact of the changes will be
until they are made, even if only for a trial period.
“I don’t see how anyone can have such a crystal ball to say those things
will happen,” Challis said. “This is all highly speculative and is hard to
Like Cerilli, Challis said he is concerned about the climate and anything
we can do to persuade people to use their cars less is a good thing.
“I am a car driver, too,” Challis said. “But we can’t just use our cars, we
have to make the neighbourhood conducive to walking and biking.
“If I have to experience a little inconvenience (as a driver) I am OK with
The WWBC is also concerned about the impact of moving the No. 10 Wolseley
bus route away from the area around Balmoral Hall School. The current route
takes riders down Westminster from Evanson all the way to Broadway via
Balmoral, but a proposed new route uses Wolseley and Maryland/ Sherbrook to
connect to Broadway.
That will affect many of the 2,000 people living near Balmoral Hall,
“Many people have low incomes and they need the bus. That bus has been
there for 93 years,” Hignell said. “This is going to be a great disservice
to a lot of people.”
Cerilli and Challis said moving the bus route is a legitimate concern but
the impacts have not yet been studied.
But this, too, may be an instance in which Winnipeg Transit tries the
change to see what the effects are.
“I don’t think anybody can confidently say that putting it on Wolseley is a
good or bad idea. I think we have to try it,” Challis said.
While the City of Winnipeg has held open houses, workshops and surveys,
both the WRA and WWBC feel meaningful dialogue is lacking. Hignell believes
more than half of residents do not know what changes are being considered
as they did not receive notices or surveys. Many of those most affected by
the changing bus route had no idea it’s coming.
Longtime Wolseley resident Ray Hignell believes the costs of planned active
transportation measures will do more harm than good, while Leona Fontaine
says a proposed new route for the No. 10 bus will negatively affect many in
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Anna Walters <0000012ea70457d7-dmarc-request(a)listserv.usf.edu>
Date: Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 10:34 AM
Bikes Make Life Better is hosting or participating in two upcoming webinars
that may be of interest to you. Both are free and open to all.
*Upcoming Online Bike Forum: From Reticent To Regular Rider — Using A
Behavior Change Model To Design Effective Bike Programs*
As transportation professionals, we know motivating someone to ride a bike
once — let alone for their daily commute — is tough. But what if we could
use behavior change theory to help us design bike programs? At our next
Online Bike Forum, Jessica Roberts, Principal at Alta Planning + Design,
will share insights gleaned from the Stages of Change model, including how
to deliver the right interventions at the right times; measuring program
success; and more.
DATE: April 29, 2021
TIME: 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM PT
*San Francisco Bicycle-Friendly Facilities Forum*
Join Bikes Make Life Better Director Kurt Wallace Martin and other
panelists for a lively presentation and discussion on bike-friendly
facilities and how to prepare for the influx of new bike commuters at your
workplace. Led by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and hosted by the SF
Spare the Air Team.
DATE: May 11, 2021
TIME: 11:00 AM – 12 PM PT
Any questions, please let me know. :)
Bikes Make Life Better <http://bikesmakelifebetter.com/> | 360.918.1109
Anna Walters | Marketing and Communications Manager
Where to make use of enhanced routes
IF city council concurs, the following street sections will serve as
enhanced summer cycling routes during a pilot program this year:
● Lyndale Drive: Cromwell to Gauvin streets
● Scotia Street: Anderson (at St. Cross Street) to Armstrong avenues
(Sundays, holidays only)
● Wellington Crescent: Academy Road (at Wellington Crescent) to Guelph
● Wolseley Avenue: Raglan Road to Maryland Street
● Churchill Drive: Hay Street to Jubilee Avenue
● Egerton Road: Bank to Morier avenues
● Kildonan Drive: Helmsdale Avenue to Irving Place
● Kilkenny Drive/Kings Drive: Burgess to Patricia avenues
● Rover Avenue — Hallet to Stephens streets (Sundays, holidays only)
● Alexander Avenue: Arlington to Princess streets
● Ravelston Avenue: Wayoata to Brewster streets
● Linwood Street: Portage to Silver avenues
● Harbison Avenue West: Henderson Highway to its eastern end
● Rose Lake Court surrounding Rose Lake Green
● Assiniboine Avenue: Ferry to Winston roads
● Wellington Avenue: Maryland to Strathcona streets (Sundays, holidays only)
● Youville Street: Eugenie Street to Haig Avenue (Sunday, holidays only,
once construction of Des Meurons Street is completed)
EPC votes to devote parts of 17 roadways to giving cyclists extra room this
City moves toward open summer streets
THE City of Winnipeg could offer even more open streets for cyclists this
year, but it’s unclear if it will find a way to reopen them to pedestrians.
Council’s executive policy committee voted Wednesday to devote sections of
17 roadways, up from a previously proposed 14, to provide extra room for
cyclists this year.
The seasonal active transportation routes would limit vehicle access to
just one block of travel at set hours and are currently slated to open as
early as May 3 and last until Nov. 5.
If council approves, a pilot program for most of the now-labelled “enhanced
summer cycling routes” would operate that way from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Four of the routes are currently slated for weekend and holiday hours only,
with exact times still being sorted out.
The “open streets” concept was widely welcomed on 10 different street
sections in 2020, as a way for both pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy safe,
socially distanced recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To the disappointment of many, the current proposal doesn’t include
pedestrians — because the city has since learned it violated the provincial
Highway Traffic Act by inviting them to use last year’s routes.
The act prohibits pedestrians from walking on roadways where a “reasonably
passable” sidewalk is present.
Coun. Matt Allard, public works committee chairman, said he’s hopeful the
city can work out some kind of pedestrian access solution with the
province, and pursue the cycling routes in the meantime.
“In terms of this report (on) enhanced bicycle routes, I think it’s a step
in the right direction that opens many new streets to cyclists and will
calm the streets because of the limited vehicle traffic,” said Allard (St.
The councillor noted the current motion calls upon civic staff to report
back on pedestrian access discussions with the province next month.
A provincial minister has publicly stated the Manitoba government will
“never” change the Highway Traffic Act to let a municipality mix
pedestrians with vehicle traffic on such routes. Infrastructure Minister
Ron Schuler said Winnipeg could instead close a section of a street or lane
to vehicles to reserve it for pedestrians and cyclists. He said the city
would need to use road paint and add signs at every affected block to make
the rule obvious.
So far, councillors have not officially called for that change, though some
believe the city should consider it. Coun. Markus Chambers (St.
Norbert-Seine River) said all options should be explored to invite
pedestrians back to the routes.
“The success of this last year, the ability to have people out and about on
the streets, that’s what we want to promote. So, if there’s a way we can do
that safely, that’s our objective,” said Chambers.
Mayor Brian Bowman stressed Winnipeggers should obey the current “rules of
the road,” despite the fact they could walk on the active transportation
routes last year.
“The Highway Traffic Act is there to protect the safety of residents… and I
think it’s important that we, as a municipal government, and citizens
respect the legislation,” said Bowman.
The mayor declined to weigh in on whether he thinks police should ticket
pedestrians who walk on this year’s cycling routes. He also stopped short
of stating whether or not he personally wants to restore foot traffic on
the routes, only noting he supports discussing that option with the
“We’re doing our best to navigate the legislation in a way that provides
more recreation amenities for our residents.”
What is a Walkability Study, and Why Should You Do One?
WEBINAR, THURSDAY, APRIL 29 – 2:00 P.M. EDT
[image: What is a Walkability Study, and Why Should You Do One?]
What is a Walkability Study, and Why Should You Do One? *Thursday, April 29
at 2:00 p.m. EDT*
*Participants of this live webinar are eligible for 1.5 AICP CM credits.*
Join the Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network as
Jeff Speck, one the nation’s leading pedestrian experts, explains his
approach in Oklahoma City and other communities, how walkability studies
are conducted, and how local planners can work with neighborhoods, business
groups and citizens to complete similar studies of their own.
*Please note* that this webinar is an hour later than our usual time.
*Find out more and register for this free webinar via the link below.*
Register for "What is a Walkability Study, and Why Should You Do One?"
Organizations are advocating for a connected walking and cycling network
Organizers from Green Action Centre, Winnipeg Trails, Safe Speeds Winnipeg
and Bike Winnipeg, along with fellow signatories, say an improved active
transportation network would promote physical and mental well-being, reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, and address transportation inequity.
Letters <https://greenactioncentre.ca/> stating the request were sent to
Mayor Brian Bowman, Premier Brian Pallister, and Saint Boniface-Saint Vital
MP Dan Vandal earlier this month.
Fearless R2W, a North End-based group concerned with child welfare, was one
of the letter signatories.
"Fearless R2W has a network of families who rely heavily on public
transportation, walking, active transportation, and being able to have a
safer way for themselves and their children to transport themselves in
between home and school and work and leisure," spokesperson Michael Redhead
Champagne told *The Times*.
He said area residents praised the City of Winnipeg’s open streets project
— which saw some streets blocked off for pedestrian and cyclist use only —
last year and were hoping to see it expanded this summer.
The city was planning to reboot the program in May of this year; however, a
legal technicality may rule out pedestrians from using the open streets.
Earlier this month, the public works department released a report that said
Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Act prohibits pedestrian use of a roadway when a
sidewalk is present. So, the "open" streets would be welcome to cyclists
Mel Marginet, co-ordinator of the Green Action Centre’s sustainable
transportation team, said the city needs to start implementing permanent
solutions rather than temporary and recreational-based options.
"At this point, we really need to move beyond a recreation response towards
real transportation choice … and we just see that a connected walk/bike
network is the logical next step that they need to do," Marginet said.
"We really need to see some clear action, some political motivation and to
just really get moving on offering all Winnipeggers transportation choice."
Traffic volumes have been down at least 20 per cent during the pandemic.
Organizers say now that the streets are emptier, it’s the ideal time to
form new travel habits.
The city released the Winnipeg Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies report in
2014. The document outlines opportunities to improve connectivity,
convenience, safety and accessibility throughout the city.
Marginet said the groups want the city to return to the strategies,
identify gaps, and use temporary infrastructure to provide solutions until
permanent change can be implemented.
"As part of a modern growing city, the (m)ayor has and continues to support
active transportation and the City’s Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies with
significant annual investments since he was first elected in 2014," a
spokesperson from the mayor’s office said in an email, adding that the
mayor is optimistic about the federal government’s new active
In March, the Canadian government announced an investment of $400 million
over five years to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike
lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges across the country. At press time, the
federal government had not revealed how the funding will be allocated.