Wellington Crescent bike access to remain unchangedCouncil votes 13-1
against curtailing 'open streets' period
City council has voted to maintain the "open streets" project route on
Wellington Crescent that has been the source of debate among neighbourhood
residents and street users.
Brenlee Carrington Trepel, who gathered 68 pages' worth of letters that
supported the route reduction, said more than 100 households wanted it
changed. Meanwhile, a petition that called for council to keep Wellington’s
daily access in place until November had gathered more than 1,700 online
signatures by Thursday night.
Just after 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Coun. Matt Allard’s (St. Boniface) call to
keep the Wellington Crescent route’s daily status in place until November
was approved in a 13-1 vote, which only Coun. Kevin Klein
(Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) opposed. Klein said he voted against the
motion due to a lack of consultation on the routes.
Councillors John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) and Jason Schreyer
(Elmwood-East Kildonan) were absent from the meeting, due to personal
The Wellington route is one of 17 street sections where vehicle travel is
restricted to one block between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. to allow more room for
cyclists, a follow-up to the 2020 program known as "open streets." Most of
this year’s routes operate daily, though a few are already limited to
weekends and holidays.
During debate prior to the vote, multiple council members urged all road
users to share the road respectfully.
Wellinton Crescent bike access to remain unchanged - Winnipeg Free Press<https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/wellinton-crescent-bike-access-to-r…>
Wellinton Crescent bike access to remain unchanged
Council votes 13-1 against curtailing 'open streets' period
Posted: 8:47 AM CDT Friday, Jun. 25, 2021
City council has voted to maintain the "open streets" project route on Wellington Crescent that has been the source of debate among neighhbourhood residents and street users.
Brenlee Carrington Trepel, who gathered 68 pages' worth of letters that supported the route reduction, said more than 100 households wanted it changed. Meanwhile, a petition that called for council to keep Wellington's daily access in place until November had gathered more than 1,700 online signatures by Thursday night.
Just after 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Coun. Matt Allard's (St. Boniface) call to keep the Wellington Crescent route's daily status in place until November was approved in a 13-1 vote, which only Coun. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) opposed. Klein said he voted against the motion due to a lack of consultation on the routes.
Councillors John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) and Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) were absent from the meeting, due to personal matters.
The Wellington route is one of 17 street sections where vehicle travel is restricted to one block between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. to allow more room for cyclists, a follow-up to the 2020 program known as "open streets." Most of this year's routes operate daily, though a few are already limited to weekends and holidays.
During debate prior to the vote, multiple council members urged all road users to share the road respectfully.
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Frustration drives debate over Wellington Crescent closure
Rubber meets road at city hall
SOME say it’s a desperately needed active transportation path, while others
blame it for triggering conflict between cyclists and drivers.
The hotly debated call to reduce access to the enhanced summer cycling
route on Wellington Crescent (Academy Road to Guelph Street) sparked plenty
of passionate feedback at Thursday’s city council meeting.
By 8 p.m., councillors had yet to vote on a motion to reduce the route’s
operations to weekends and holidays only, starting Sept. 7, instead of a
previous council-approved plan to let seven-daya- week access continue
until Nov. 5. Council was expected to vote sometime Thursday night.
Sharon Kirk told councillors reducing access to the route would set a bad
precedent for other streets in the pilot program.
“Removing Wellington Crescent from open streets early… could set a
precedent for other open streets to be taken off as well,” said Kirk.
The Wellington route is one of 17 street sections where vehicle travel is
restricted to one block between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. to allow more room for
cyclists, a follow-up to the 2020 program known as “open streets.” Most of
this year’s routes operate daily, though a few are already limited to
weekends and holidays.
Kirk said the four drivers who live at her Wellington Crescent home have
not experienced delays in their commutes since the change took effect.
“This fall, when schools open and more cyclists commute to work, it is
critical that Wellington Crescent remain closed to vehicles (except for
oneblock access) until November for the safety of these community
cyclists,” she said. “The ability to exercise (safely) should be considered
a human right.”
However, several other Wellington Crescent residents said the route has
forced vehicle traffic to increase on other nearby routes, made turning
onto Academy Road “a nightmare” and added congestion to back lanes.
In addition, several residents said some cyclists have lashed out at
drivers for using the one-block travel option to reach their homes.
“Many individuals apparently feel empowered to be the street police and do
not hesitate to lecture, scream, swear, give finger gestures, photograph
without consent and physically attempt to block access to our (homes),”
said Leah Restall.
In one case, Restall said that included a male cyclist who refused to let
her pass in her vehicle. She said the cyclist swerved back and forth in
front of her car, appeared to photograph or videotape her reaction and then
yelled obscenities at her. Brenlee Carrington Trepel, who gathered 68 pages
worth of letters that support the route reduction, said more than 100
households want that change. Meanwhile, a petition that calls for council
to keep Wellington’s daily access in place until November had gathered more
than 1,700 online signatures by Thursday night.
Late Thursday afternoon, Coun. Matt Allard shared a motion that would
cancel the change, leaving daily access in place. Allard, council’s public
works chairman, said he was “optimistic” council would support that.
“In terms of public opinion, I think the route is popular and I think, even
(with Wellington residents), it’s popular… I’m hoping the program works
well and we can make it a permanent addition,” said Allard (St. Boniface).
Mayor Brian Bowman previously voted in favour of reducing the route’s
operations, along with most members of his executive policy committee.
Bowman told media Thursday that many residents weighed in on the topic
following that vote.
“This is a prime example of where having open, transparent opportunities
for Winnipeggers to weigh in on matters that affect them is something that
benefits the decision-making at city hall,” he said.
Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry), whose ward includes
Wellington Crescent, was absent from Thursday’s council meeting due to a
Wellington neighbours at odds over open streets initiative; issue to go
before council Thursday
Crescent conflict going to city hall
IT’S a street fight that has pitted Winnipeg’s elites against each other.
The tug of war over closing Wellington Crescent to vehicles, so cyclists
and pedestrians can use the tony boulevard almost exclusively, is headed
toward a showdown at city hall Thursday.
A small group of residents rallied Tuesday to show support for current
rules that restrict vehicles to one block of travel from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
daily from Academy Road to Guelph Street.
The “Open Streets” program affects several streets across the city that are
popular with cyclists and pedestrians and is scheduled to continue till
Organizer Sharon Kirk said the group represented a fraction of overall
support to keep the street closed to vehicles, pointing to an online
petition she and her husband organized that collected nearly 500 signatures
over two days.
“I’m a counsellor, so I fully believe having a safe place to exercise
enhances the mental well-being of everyone, not just during COVID times,
but moving forward,” Kirk said. She said the program improves the
neighbourhood’s “community feel.”
On the opposite side, a group of residents has submitted letters to city
hall asking it to lift restrictions for vehicles on the street. Some argue
traffic congestion has moved to nearby Academy Road, while others say
people should be allowed to drive down the crescent and look at the
Gail Asper wrote it is “simply unfair to ban all vehicles from having any
opportunity to experience Winnipeg’s most beautiful street” and that the
prioritized access to cyclists is “discriminating against thousands of
Resident Brenlee Carrington-Trepel compiled a 68-page document that
includes dozens of letters from residents who complained about the program.
That prompted city hall to consider lifting the ban on vehicles on weekdays
as of Sept. 7 In an email, Carrington-Trepel said more than 100 residents
have contacted her and want “to keep Wellington Crescent part of the Open
Streets program as a Sunday and holidays bike route after Sept. 7.” She
notes the street had closed on Sundays and holidays “for decades.”
She declined to speak further before council votes.
Resident Atul Sharma said the letters exaggerate the inconveniences of the
“I actually resent people speaking for me and saying that these are
insurmountable obstacles,” he said. “They’re minor inconveniences.”
Sharma has a disability which forces him to use a walker. He said he uses
an adaptive bicycle to get exercise. The bike is wider than a regular bike,
he said, which makes it difficult to safely coexist on the road with cars.
Some of the residents who want the street open said the project
discriminates against the disabled, but Sharma disagrees.
“This opens the crescent up to them. We see them. We see them in electric
wheelchairs, being pushed along by family members, using adaptive vehicles.
I think it expands opportunity.”
One major concern for resident Jutta Essig is making Winnipeg’s
transportation culture safer and environmentally friendly. The mother of
three from Germany said she and her family used to bike everywhere in
Europe, but when she moved to Winnipeg, she noticed a lack of bicycle
infrastructure. When a close friend was hit while biking on Wellington
Crescent, her habits changed, she said.
“From that moment on we went into North American lifestyle that we use the
car for every little commute. It bothered me, but there was no option,” she
Anders Swanson, executive director of Winnipeg Trails Association, a
nonprofit that advocates for sustainable infrastructure, said reopening the
street early to motorists would be a step in the wrong direction.
“We can’t declare climate emergencies then roll back the simplest thing
we’ve done,” he said. “That’s not leadership.”
He said “Open Streets” is a “drop in the bucket” in terms of what needs to
be done to boost active transportation. He commended residents who showed
up on Tuesday, but said the issue affects everyone in Winnipeg.
“Access to fresh air is a right,” he said. “The ability to drive is not.”
The city conducted a survey about “Open Streets” in November 2020. At the
time, 83 per cent of Wellington Crescent residents responded positively to
the idea, out of the 48 per cent who answered the survey. Kirk said she
believes this poll still represents her neighbourhood.
In research conducted for the program in 2020, Wellington Crescent had the
most cyclists and pedestrians during two 12-hour periods. The second
busiest street was Wolseley Avenue.
Reimagining Wellington Crescent
“WE heard birds” exclaimed Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, France, in an
interview with Time magazine last summer. She was describing her city, all
cities, during the first COVID-19 lockdowns, when, with fewer people
driving, we were provided a glimpse into what the future of cities could
be. She vowed that Paris would not return to a pre-pandemic world, pledging
to learn from the devastating challenges of the last year and emerge as a
more socially equitable, environmentally sustainable, cleaner, healthier
and happier city.
The changes that have swept across Paris since have been far-reaching and
impactful, driven by a policy framework called the “la ville du quart
d’heure,” or the “15-minute city.” The strategy focuses on building more
diverse, integrated, and mixed-use neighbourhoods that provide residents
access to all of life’s core services and amenities, within a 15-minute
walk, bike or transit ride. Designing communities with integrated supports
such as shops, restaurants, gyms, groceries, offices, schools and parks is
in direct contrast to most modern neighbourhoods, where housing is
separated by a vehicle trip from employment, shopping, entertainment and
The pandemic has forced many people to work from home and spend more time
in their own neighbourhoods. The 15-minute city concept builds on this
evolving social and employment landscape, offering an opportunity to
improve local economies and deliver lasting health, equity and
In Paris, incentives are being provided to support development of small
businesses and community facilities in targeted areas, emphasizing equal
access to services, amenities and green space that strengthen
neighbourhoods and actively reduce social divides and inequalities. A new
policy has been developed to create pockets of “urban forest” and community
gardens for local urban agriculture, in school yards, parks, plazas and
other public spaces like city-owned surface parking lots.
To facilitate more outdoor dining during the pandemic, restaurants and
cafés across Paris were allowed to set up temporary outdoor patios in
parking spaces on the street. It was recently announced that these patios
will be made a permanent fixture in the city. As the pandemic lifts, other
neighbourhood businesses such as florists or bookstores will also be
invited to apply for summer terraces, turning over large parts of streets
to more pedestrian uses.
At the centre of the 15-minute city idea is a complete transformation of
how people will move around the city. During the pandemic, more than 50
kilometres of new bike lanes, called coronapistes, were built on major
streets across Paris, to provide direct access to key destinations that
allows the bicycle to become a viable mode of daily transportation. These
lanes are now being made permanent, and the government has committed to
building another 650 kilometres of new cycleways, with public space and
sidewalks that will transform 70 per cent of the city’s on-street car
parking into places for people.
To provide more public space during the pandemic, the city’s iconic
east-west artery, Rue de Rivoli, became an open street to allow socially
distanced outdoor activity. This major artery has now been made permanently
open, complementing the riverside freeway that once served 40,000 vehicles
per day that has now been transformed into a pedestrian promenade. More
than one billion euros per year has been pledged for the maintenance and
beautification of streets, squares and gardens, including the
famous Champs-Élysées, which will see half of its eight vehicle lanes
removed with new bike lanes, pocket parks, and public space,
being created along its length.
As one of the few positive legacies of the pandemic, Winnipeg’s Open
Streets are, on a very small scale, reminiscent of what is happening in Paris.
We have taken a tiny fraction of Winnipeg’s 7,000 kilometres of street
lanes dedicated to vehicles and turned them into large linear parks. You
can hear the birds again on Wellington Crescent.
As popular as they are, Open Streets face opposition, but closing them
doesn’t necessarily mean a return to the past. Paris offers us an important
alternative to consider. The goal of its mobility strategies in the
15-minute city has been to connect pedestrians and cyclists safely and
conveniently with their day-to-day destinations, by pedestrianizing major
streets and building protected bike lanes on direct, heavy traffic, central
Wellington Crescent doesn’t have to be an Open Street, but its future can
be something more than the high-speed vehicle freeway it once was. It could
be reimagined with parking space removed to build bike lanes and sidewalks.
Stop signs and raised crosswalks could be added at every intersection to
reduce and slow traffic. It could become a vital active transportation
connector between Polo Park and Osborne Village, and a slow, safe,
park-like street to drive on.
Similarly, instead of opening Scotia Street, adding wider sidewalks and
protected bike lanes on a major route like Salter Street would provide
equitable access to education, employment and recreation for North End
residents. Every neighbourhood has main streets with similar opportunities
to connect people with the places they want to go, using more diverse,
affordable and sustainable modes of transportation.
Paris has shown through its 15-minute-city strategy that by focusing on
building stronger, more connected neighbourhoods that allow biking, walking
and transit to be used as everyday transportation, great change can be
realized. It is OK if Open Streets are not Winnipeg’s priority, if new,
more impactful ideas replace them.
It is impossible to compare any Canadian city to a global capital like
Paris, but its desire to use the lessons of the last year to emerge from
the pandemic with a new vision of what the future can be, is something that
should inspire all cities.
*Brent Bellamy is senior design architect for Number Ten Architectural
How to wield your walkable, people-first community advocacy work as a true
tool for empowerment
Support Walkable Communities
Authentic Community Engagement - Best Practices for Equitable Work Wednesday,
July 14th at 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT
Join us for presentations and a robust Q & A dialogue with active
transportation professionals, nonprofit leaders, and equitable engagement
experts around what it means to practice and build authentic community
engagement with diverse coalitions as the foundation for driving those
Panelists will share their best practices for equitable work in striving
for inclusive, accessible, connected, and walkable communities - through
the lens of their invaluable learned, professionally practiced and lived
experiences. Among the details covered, presenters will lean into the
importance of acknowledging past harms and learning how to demonstrate an
awareness and distinction of active transportation and walkability work as
a true tool for empowerment vs. a weapon of racialized oppression.
The presentations/discussion will address the following critical questions:
- What are the most universal best practices in achieving equity in our
- How can advocates, practitioners and leaders center the needs and
desires of BIPOC and low-income residents?
- How can we achieve buy-in and funding streams from government leaders?
- How can we habitually challenge normativity in how we define safe
walking, biking, mobility, and access?
- Why is it imperative to get out of your demographic bubble?
- How can we get overlooked community members involved in
- What are examples of removing barriers for individuals to experience
safe destination-based movement while lowering car dependency?
- How can we build trust, empowerment and agency with communities that
have been perpetually ignored, harmed, and disinvested in?
- What kind of data points, projects, or outreach can provide the most
insight for determining connected, safe active transportation routes and
services in the given community?
Learn More and Register Here
Help Us Spread the Word About this Webinar
Learn More About Our Presenters
John Yi is the Executive Director of Los Angeles Walks. Prior to joining
LA Walks in 2019, John was the Advocacy Director for the American Lung
Association in California, where he worked on strong tobacco control and
air quality policies. At the Lung Association, John also served as a lead
organizer by training tobacco control coalitions throughout the state. He
helped bring smoke-free ordinances to over a dozen different cities,
fighting back against secondhand smoke and Big Tobacco's efforts to target
low-income and communities of color.
John also served as the interim National Director for Parent Revolution, an
education and social justice non-profit. In this role he led parent
organizing campaigns in Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Ohio. He received his
master's degree at Georgetown University and his bachelor's degree at the
University of Michigan. He is a brother of Pi Alpha Phi, speaks Korean and
Russian, and loves to cook.
Waffiyyah Murray is the Better Bike Share Partnership Program Manager and a
Philadelphia native with a love for walking and biking. She has a
bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Temple University, and over fourteen
years of experience working with different Philadelphia-based non-profit
and community organizations. As Education Program Manager for the Bicycle
Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, she worked with the City to support its
Safe Route to School program, a national initiative promoting safety and
physical activity in school age children through walking and biking.
Waffiyyah first arrived at oTIS as the Indego Community Coordinator, where
she worked to connect communities to Indego programming and resources to
ensure equitable access to Indego, the City of Philadelphia’s bike share
system. In her current role as the Better Bike Share Partnership Program
Manager, Waffiyyah works to address barriers to the use of bikeshare in low
income communities and communities of color, and increase equitable access
in bikeshare systems nationally.
Jeremy Maxand is the Executive Director of the Living Independence Network
Corporation, a center for independent living serving 16 counties in
southwest Idaho. Jeremy grew up in a small island community in Southeast
Alaska and has used a manual wheelchair since 1989. He moved to Idaho in
the early nineties to attend Boise State University, where he earned
undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice Administration and Sociology, and
a graduate degree is Applied Historical Research. Jeremy holds a
certificate from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public
Policy & Governance Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute, and from the
University of Missouri’s College of Human & Environmental Sciences, School
of Architectural Studies, ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program.
Jeremy has twenty years of nonprofit management experience, and 10 years in
executive leadership. Most recently, he was an emergency preparedness
program specialist with the Idaho State Independent Living Council, working
with local, state, and federal emergency management and public health
partners to improve disaster response and recovery for people with
disabilities. In Alaska, Jeremy served as an assembly member and mayor of
the third geographically largest city by area in the country.
Jeremy currently serves on the Valley Regional Transit Regional Advisory
Council, the Ada County Highway District ADA Advisory Committee, the Idaho
State Independent Living Council, the Idaho State Building Code Board, the
Idaho Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster Board, and is a founding
board member of the Idaho Access Project.
José Leal (moderator) At MIG, his projects have encompassed everything from
complete streets, parks, schools, and recreation facilities. As Director of
the Tribal Nation Building Studio, José is responsible for guiding an
interdisciplinary studio of designers, planners, engineers, and scientists
to provide engagement, planning, and design services to Tribal Nations to
support and strengthen tribal community cohesiveness and resilience,
self-determination, and sovereignty.
His work focuses on the power of inclusive planning and design and cultural
relativism to connect people to the spirit of place through storytelling.
America Walks | PO Box 371, Annandale, VA 22003
Open-street project promotes accessibility, users say
AT the height of evening rush hour, winding Wellington Crescent is abuzz
with all kinds of traffic — even with automobiles limited to one block of
Cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers, children on skateboards and scooters,
families out for an evening walk with the dog all crowd to the
tree-canopied route, taking advantage of the barricaded streets and wide
pedestrian boulevard in the warm, sunny afternoon.
While most car traffic stuck to the open block, a handful still trekked
further, one earning a flash of police lights and a conversation with an
Since May, the Winnipeg street has been closed to most vehicle traffic
between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.; cyclists are permitted to use the roads,
pedestrians are asked to use walkways, and drivers allowed only to travel a
block to and from their homes.
Though the policy has drawn ire from Wellington and River Heights residents
who feel the “open street” brings more problems than opportunities, others
say the program provides more accessible ways to get outside and get active
— provided everyone shares the road.
In a recent package of submissions to the City of Winnipeg public works
committee, some disgruntled residents took issue with the increases in
traffic on the alternate route, Academy Road.
Some residents noted difficulty turning onto the alternate route
during rush hour,
“bumper-to-bumper” traffic, or tacking extra minutes onto their commute.
Others described frustrating encounters with pedestrians and cyclists
aggravated by cars on the road — even while driving just one block to their
For Sarah Manteuffel, who lives in the Fort Rouge/River Heights area and
uses Wellington Crescent when it’s closed to vehicle traffic, the wide-open
road provides a safer place for her to ride.
On her day off Monday, Manteuffel went for a leisure ride down Wellington
and posted a photo of herself — smiling wide next to road barriers
outlining the open street rules — in response to criticism of an initiative
she feels “makes Winnipeg great.”
“I have dwarfism, so I ride a smaller bike and on the streets don’t usually
feel very safe,” Manteuffel said in an interview Tuesday. “Even in a
designated bike lane, am I going to be trusted to be seen by large
vehicles? I go pretty slow, so even other passing cyclists can sometimes be
Brian Szklarczuk, an adaptive cycling advocate who co-owns Wolseley’s
upcoming bike shop Prairie Velo, said more inclusive forms of movement
(three-wheeled bikes, handcycles) often take up a little more space, but
those who use them also want to feel safe and comfortable on the road.
“We know we need a little more space in the adaptive world, but we really
want to be able to not be on the margins all the time,” he said.
“(We want) to be able to use the other areas and just feel normal, just
feel like we’re another person riding — and that’s what the open streets
have allowed folks to do.”
As some area residents argued the streets were inaccessible to those who
are not as mobile and unable to travel the street except by car, Manteuffel
said she found that perspective “challenging” to hear.
“I understand that people may want to participate in driving down the
crescent to utilize it but, there are other methods and opening the street
allows for a different variety of body types to take advantage of that
space,” Manteuffel countered.
Szklarczuk agrees, and hopes to see all Winnipeggers mindful of each
other’s needs when out on the roads.
“If we can have the conversations about true inclusiveness, we can have
everyone feel safe on whatever mode of transportation they’re using:
cyclists, walkers, folks using mobility devices, power chairs, manual
chairs — everything you can think of can co-exist really well. We can also
co-exist with vehicles really well if there is a shared responsibility that
we are all using the road,” he said.
Coun. Matt Allard, public works chairman, said a recent motion to knock
Wellington Crescent off the holiday closure list came about in an effort to
both satisfy the community’s needs and keep the street program running.
After Wellington’s ward councillor, John Orlikow, tabled a motion asking
for more flexibility on open street rules, by putting power in the hands of
the public works director, Allard feared staff could have the power to nix
After talking off-the-record with legal advisors, public works instead
motioned to take Wellington Crescent off the list and let the area
councillor and the public works team decide how best to proceed.
Allard said the intent was not to see Wellington permanently dropped from
the list, but rather to empower the local councillor and public works
director to add routes in a way that works best for constituents.
Internal conversations about Wellington Crescent — and its future use as a
Sunday/holiday closure street — are still underway at city hall.
“The road belongs to everyone, at the end of the day,” Allard said. “All of
our taxes pay for the roads, and they are a public space and meant to be
Street strife on Wellington Crescent
THE city should pay close attention to the serious concerns raised by some
Wellington Crescent residents about the consequences of favouring cyclists
and restricting motorists. What the city must ignore, however, is the
suggestion by several residents that their high-end addresses entitle them
to special treatment.
To bestow municipal favours on the basis of property value is a type of
classism that has no place in Winnipeg. It would be a logistical nightmare,
for example, if city staff had to prioritize posh areas for services such
as fire, police and snow-clearing. It would also violate the egalitarian
foundation of democracy, where citizens, regardless of address, get equal
access to government consideration.
That said, it’s equally important not to stoop to negative stereotypes.
Many critics in public forums are denouncing the recent feedback on bike
routes as the laments of well-to-do Winnipeggers who don’t want their tony
street to be sullied by visitors.
It’s a pilot project, after all, and feedback is warranted. These
Wellington Crescent residents took the opportunity to offer their feedback,
plenty of feedback, a prerogative that could be equally exercised by
homeowners along any of the other 17 city areas involved in this
Summer Bike Routes program, formerly known as Open Streets. Their views
were outlined in about three dozen letters, citing problems with the
traffic-calming program that restricts motorists to one block of travel
between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Homeowners wrote about increased trash on the ground, and dog deposits on
lawns. Many were also miffed that their alternative driving route, along
Academy Road, is now so crowded that traffic is slowed.
Alarmingly, several letter writers described conflict. One wrote: “I was
threatened, yelled at, and physically blocked by cyclists and pedestrians,
on a daily basis, while driving the one block allowed to access my
residence.” Another wrote: “When you close the roads, the people that live
on the street are treated like trespassers onto their own properties.”
While councillors should thoughtfully weigh such concerns, they should
ignore an attempt by several letter writers to wield their property taxes
as a lobbying weapon. One writer noted: “I pay almost 12K a year in
property taxes.” Another wrote: “I hope that with our hefty property tax
bill our voices will be heard.”
The letters were submitted to the city’s public works committee, which then
recommended Wellington Crescent be removed from the open streets list. The
recommendation now goes to council’s executive policy committee.
Councillors should be wary about granting Wellington Crescent an exemption
that could set a precedent and undermine the entire open roads program.
Council could be required to grant similar exemption to any street where a
few homeowners took the initiative to door-knock neighbours and obtain a
petition and letters seeking, like Wellington Crescent, an exemption from
Councillors, and Wellington Crescent residents, should live with the
current open-road restrictions until this year’s pilot program ends on Nov.
5. It will then be decided which routes will be included in next season’s
Wellington Crescent is a beautiful area with well-tended properties, grand
homes, lush gardens and flowering trees. It’s to be hoped homeowners
fortunate enough to live there can bear with the added cyclists and
pedestrians for now, perhaps even considering it a community service that
their haven offers visitors a geographical tonic from the stressful
grimness of the pandemic.
I had the chance to watch this webinar last week, and found it very
interesting and useful.
One key part was the need to look at average pedestrian delay when setting
phasing for traffic signals. When left out of reports that calculate
average delay and levels of service for vehicles, average pedestrian
waiting times often end up exceeding 40-50 seconds, or Level of Service F,
even though it might actually be pretty easy to greatly reduce the average
pedestrian wait times without causing much added delay to vehicles.
To prevent this from happening, some cities's have adopted policies that
require average pedestrian wait times to be measured in any report that
includes intersection level of service for vehicles. Pedestrian Level of
Service is then reported based on values in the 2000 edition of the Highway