Vehicle in recent fatal hit, run found
WINNIPEG police have located the vehicle involved in the city’s latest
fatal hit-and-run, but have not yet made any arrests in the spate of
collisions that killed five people in little more than a week.
Three of the five who have lost their lives on city streets since Oct. 18
were pedestrians, and the drivers in four of the fatal collisions fled the
Most recently, a 56-year-old man was struck at Notre Dame Avenue and
Keewatin Street by a white or light-coloured SUV at about 2:45 a.m. Monday.
He later died in hospital.
On Tuesday, traffic investigators were called to the first 100 block of
Scotwoods Drive about a damaged, abandoned 2019 Hyundai Tucson.
The Hyundai also hit a parked vehicle on the Charleswood street before it
was abandoned, police said Wednesday.
Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Claude Chancy said police are
concerned about the uptick in deaths and traffic division investigators are
working diligently on each case.
“It’s something that is not common in our city, it’s definitely elevated,
so we have put our resources in effect regarding the investigations,” he
“There’s multiple units that form the traffic division, and collision
reconstruction as well, that are involved in trying to piece out details
and information that are provided to us in order to find the people
responsible — especially in the cases where it involves hit-and-run
Winnipeg police have investigated eight hit-and-runs so far in 2022, six of
which have been fatal, police statistics show.
That’s a jump over last year, when police laid a total of five charges
related to leaving a collision scene, including two of failure to stop
after an accident resulting in death. In 2020, police laid a total of nine
related charges, including one of failing to stop after an accident
resulting in death.
On Oct. 21, a woman in her 40s was struck and injured near Marion Avenue
and Archibald Street.
On Oct. 18, David Bunguke, 17, was killed after a vehicle driven by a
friend struck a hydro pole on St Mary’s Road. The driver, an 18-year-old
male, was also seriously injured.
On Oct. 16, Shannon Joan Marie Romaniuk, 24, was killed near the
intersection of Portage Avenue and Berry Street. The driver fled in a
silver or grey late-model SUV.
Just 18 hours prior, Corazon Manguerra, 81, was critically injured when the
vehicle she was in was struck in a hit-and-run near Sargent Avenue and
Empress Street. She died in hospital.
The driver and occupants of the other vehicle ran away before police
arrived, leaving the wrecked Dodge Caravan on the bank of Omand’s Creek.
Chancy said traffic investigators use, among other tools, a scanner to
create 3D images of collision scenes. Information from the public — and
surveillance footage — are also “instrumental” in collision investigations.
“It can establish a timeline… of the involvement of people or vehicles, and
it can also establish the manner of driving prior to and post incident as
well,” Chancy said of video footage of vehicles.
He added police received a tip from a member of the public about the
Hyundai reportedly involved in the Notre Dame Avenue hit-and-run just hours
after putting out a request for help.
Police have asked for anyone who witnessed the collisions or might have
seen the vehicles involved or have dash camera or home surveillance footage
to call investigators at 204-986-7085 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.
erik.pindera(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @erik_pindera
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*Winnipeggers on board with transit improvements*
THE wheels on the bus aren’t going round and round as efficiently as
Winnipeggers would like. And, according to a recent poll, more than half of
residents want to see more investment in transit infrastructure.
Results from a recent Probe Research poll, jointly commissioned by the Free
Press and CTV News, showed 52 per cent of respondents supported increased
spending on things such as bus lanes, while 33 per cent were satisfied with
the current budgetary allotment and 15 per cent wished for less spending.
It’s a slim majority, but in this car-centric city, any endorsement of
public transportation is notable — especially since the majority of
residents don’t ride the bus regularly.
Transit ridership declined during the pandemic and remains well below
normal operating levels, creating a $15 million shortfall for the
department this year. Financially, the city needs more people on buses.
Practically, services need to improve in order to boost ridership. It’s a
chicken-and-egg conundrum Winnipeg’s incoming mayor and council will need
Currently, taking the bus in this city is an exercise in frustration. Stops
are few and far between, routes are indirect, transfers are often required,
the fare structure is confusing and busing can take considerably longer
than driving to the same destination. Assuming, that is, the bus even
These are a few of the sticking points identified in the Winnipeg Transit
Master Plan, a 25-year planning document adopted by city council last
spring that aims to make public transportation more accessible and
attractive. Twenty-five years might seem like a lengthy timeline, but
transit improvements here tend not to take the express route.
One example is the rapid transit system, which has been a political talking
point for decades and has been growing at a snail’s pace since the first
phase came online in 2012. The second phase of the southwest transitway
opened in 2020, and there are two more corridors proposed. While some
expansion can make use of existing roadways, special lanes and stations are
needed to complete the network.
Based on the aforementioned poll, there’s an appetite for this kind of
major infrastructure investment. Based on the aforementioned shortfall,
there’s little in the coffers to support said investment. Federal and
provincial funding is required to make the transit master plan a reality.
Large-scale improvements, including expanded rapid transit lines, are
necessary to bring Winnipeg on par with other major Canadian cities, but
they’re only one piece of the people-moving puzzle. Less costly revisions
to the user experience are also needed to build ridership.
Earlier this year, the city released a Winnipeg Transit app that allows
riders to plan trips and check route schedules. But as yet, it’s not a
one-stop shop. Real-time updates are lacking, and users still need to
navigate a City of Winnipeg webpage to manage their Peggo account — a
frustratingly flawed online fare system that would make even the most
tech-savvy commuters opt for a different mode of transportation.
Just as the Peggo system is in desperate need of an overhaul, much of the
city’s existing bus network requires re-imagining. The hub-and-spoke model
that sees most routes converging downtown no longer makes sense. Commuters
need better crosstown connections and reliable service. These are things
that shouldn’t take 25 years to implement.
There will undoubtedly be more bumps on the road to adequate transit
service, but in order to make this city a more livable and connected place,
and also one that does its part in addressing climate change, Winnipeg’s
next mayor and council need to make public transportation a priority.
*FLAWED TO THE CORE *
City’s record of urban ‘planning’ has long been an exercise in
after-the-fact rationalization, not foresight
EARL Levin had big plans for downtown Winnipeg. The year was 1969, and
Levin, the head of the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg’s
planning division, laid out a bold vision for the future of the city’s
historic core in a document entitled the Downtown Development Plan.
The economy was booming and Winnipeg — flush with cash — hoped to improve
its reputation on the national stage by transforming its decaying downtown
into one befitting a cosmopolitan city in the second half of the 20th
It was an era of wrecking balls and construction cranes, as cities across
North America were engaged in a grand, continent-wide experimentation in
new development practices, with unprecedented suburbanization and
car-centric transportation routes.
The issues plaguing downtown Winnipeg in those years were many, if not
In 1941, more than 15,000 people called the downtown core home, but by
1966, that number had fallen to 8,706 — a decrease of 44 per cent in just
A third of downtown buildings were assessed as being in poor condition; 30
per cent of the area was comprised of surface parking lots; and 20 per cent
of the commercial structures sat vacant.
Enter Levin, with his 20-year, $161-million revitalization plan, which
would have seen the construction of high-rise residential towers, new
public parking facilities and recreation centres, a skywalk system, and
wide swaths of open green space.
The proposal was ambitious, with the far-fetched goal of attracting 75,000
new residents downtown in just two decades.
But Levin’s dream was not to be, finding a vocal critic in then-mayor
Stephen Juba, and was ultimately scrapped by the city within two years.
Winnipeg has been trying to “renew” and “revitalize” downtown ever since.
Fast-forward to 52 years later. It’s the fall of 2022 and Winnipeg is in
the midst of a municipal election campaign that will set the policies and
priorities of our local government for the next four years.
Downtown is still plagued by many of the same issues Levin’s 1969 plan
sought to address.
It is still seen by many, if not most, residents as decaying and blighted.
Its population sits at 16,800, according to the 2021 census — an increase
of just seven per cent over 1941.
Twenty per cent of downtown is comprised of surface parking lots; 50
storefronts closed permanently during the COVID-19 pandemic; and 1.5
million square-feet of office space sits vacant.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
THE seeds of our current crisis were planted in the aftermath of Second
Across North America, residents were fleeing downtowns in favour of shiny
new suburban developments. Winnipeg was no exception, exploding out in
every direction, as new neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the city were
built one after the other.
According to The Divided Prairie City, a 2015 collection of academic essays
published by the University of Winnipeg’s Institute of Urban Studies
program, the city’s suburban footprint grew by 133 per cent from the early
1950s to the early 1970s.
It is a phenomenon often referred to as “urban sprawl,” which is
characterized by the widespread adoption of low-density, single-use (often
Then came the 1972 Unicity Amalgamation, as 12 surrounding communities were
folded into the City of Winnipeg, which only deepened the trend.
“With suburban resources came suburban influence over the direction of the
downtown and central city,” wrote Robert Galston in One Great Suburb:
Municipal Amalgamation and the Suburbanization of Winnipeg.
“Suburban dominance on council led to complex urban issues being
The development of new neighbourhoods required the construction and
maintenance of an expanded network of infrastructure, resulting in further
civic resources being funnelled away from the struggling downtown towards
the more prosperous, middle-class suburbs.
While upfront costs of development — roads, sewers and water lines — were
charged to developers, the maintenance of that infrastructure was the
responsibility of taxpayers.
The public was also on the hook for the construction of new civic
facilities in these communities, such as swimming pools, parks and
libraries, as well as the provision of emergency services, street cleaning
and snow removal.
The fiscal consequences of such rapid growth, and the adoption of
unprecedented patterns of development, would not be seen for many decades.
In some cases, empty land adjacent to existing neighbourhoods and
infrastructure was skipped over in favour of parcels further away from the
downtown core — in large part because it was deemed more profitable by
In a scathing 2013 essay — Winnipeg: Aspirational Planning, Chaotic
Development — Christopher Leo, a professor emeritus at the U of W,
suggested the approval of such developments by municipal decision-makers
was tantamount to a dereliction of civic duty.
“Planning is, in reality, a clean-up operation designed to legitimize
decisions that are primarily driven by developers, and that prioritize the
interests of those developers, and of the residents of their new
neighbourhoods, over the interests of the city as a whole,” Leo wrote.
“The appearance of planning is constructed retrospectively, to conceal a
reality that looks orderly, but lacks the coherence needed to permit the
development of a viable and affordable network of services and system of
In the decades after those seeds were planted, Winnipeg dutifully watered
ELMWOOD is a historically working-class area of Winnipeg, the city’s lone
pre-amalgamation neighbourhood east of the Red River.
Many years ago, one of its residents, Michel Durand-Wood, had a question.
He couldn’t shake the feeling he was watching his neighbourhood
deteriorate, and he wanted to know why.
“It’s hard not to notice the decline. Things don’t get fixed, stuff falls
apart… The city is still growing, we’re still getting new residents, so why
is it that… we seem to get poorer and poorer?” Durand-Wood said during a
“Every budget it’s always: What do we cut this year? It didn’t make sense
to me. At a neighbourhood level, I wanted to know: how do we get more
services? How do we get the city to fix stuff?”
That initial question — a simple why — set Durand-Wood off on a quest to
learn more about how local governments, in particular Winnipeg’s, operate.
He also became increasingly active in his neighbourhood, hoping to improve
things from the street-level up.
Eventually, his brother-in-law told him about an organization called Strong
Towns, a non-profit advocacy group founded in the United States. Given his
new interest in local governance, he thought Durand-Wood might find the
organization’s perspective interesting.
Strong Towns grew out of a blog started in 2008 by an engineer and planner
named Charles Marohn, who became convinced the development practices
adopted across North America in the post-Second World War era were
contributing to a growing financial disaster for municipal governments.
When he read Marohn’s work, Durand-Wood had a lightbulb moment: what he was
seeing in Elmwood and across Winnipeg made sense.
“If you take a step back and ask yourself, can we afford what we’ve built?
The inevitable conclusion is we can’t, so you have to have a completely
different conversation from that point on,” Durand-Wood said.
“It’s not a revenue problem, it’s not a waste problem, it’s an insolvency
Durand-Wood took the Strong Town principles he’d learned, and Marohn’s call
to “do the math,” and began applying them to Winnipeg. He pored over
municipal financial statements and crunched the numbers. Ultimately, he
determined Winnipeg was in financial crisis.
The bottom line: the City of Winnipeg lacks the tax base to maintain its
existing stock of infrastructure — let alone expand it.
“Build, abandon, build again on the edge, abandon, build again further on
the edge. That’s the paradigm of development we’ve known since we were
born. That’s how the city grows, it just keeps growing to the outside, as
our downtown dies, as our older neighbourhoods die,” he said.
“That’s just what we’ve come to accept. We almost don’t see it, even though
it’s right in front of us… We cannot afford what we have built. We
shouldn’t build more, because when you’re in a hole, you don’t keep
During the 2018 municipal election, the potential opening of the Portage
and Main intersection to foot traffic was put to the ballot box as a
plebiscite. As far as Durand-Wood was concerned, the question was a
But when the vote to open the intersection failed by a significant margin,
he realized just how many citizens of Winnipeg lacked an understanding of
the issues — and potential solutions — we faced as a community.
That’s when he decided to launch a blog — Dear Winnipeg — aimed at
facilitating a better, more informed, more productive conversation about
municipal governance. The blog went live in December 2018, roughly two
months after the last municipal vote.
The project gained wider attention during Winnipeg’s 2019 budget
deliberation, when he wrote a post criticizing the city for pushing forward
on the construction of a new recreation centre in Waverley West, while it
was considering closing existing pools and libraries in older
To Durand-Wood, it was a matter of common sense: Why build a new facility
on the edge of the city when we can’t even afford to maintain our existing
He grew more concerned when the director of public works, Jim Berezowsky,
publicly suggested the city might have to phase out more than 18,000 street
lights over a three-year period due to a cap on the department’s funding.
“Once again, it was all about the cuts. Everything was on the table… I was
like, literally, we are not keeping the lights on!” Durand-Wood said.
A decade earlier, a 2008 audit into Winnipeg’s management of capital assets
came to the same conclusion Durand-Wood did many years later.
“The city may be constructing capital assets that it cannot afford to
maintain into the future. This can lead to a reduction in the overall level
of service provided to citizens as the required maintenance is deferred to
meet budget targets,” the audit report reads.
In Durand-Wood’s eyes, that is exactly right. “The first people you default
on are not the bond holders. The first people you default on are the
citizens of Winnipeg. And we’re already doing that. There are already
implicit promises that have been made to us that aren’t being held up,”
“Implicit promises like: when there’s a road, we’re going to maintain it;
when there’s a community centre, it’s going to continue to operate; when
there are libraries, they’re going to be open. An implicit promise that
when the city builds something, it will maintain and operate it, not for
five years, but forever.”
In this, Winnipeg is not alone. In an interview, Daniel Herriges, the
editor- in-chief of Strong Towns, said it’s hard to underestimate just how
revolutionary the changes to development patterns across North America were
in the aftermath of the Second World War.
For nearly all of human history, communities were centred around walking as
the main method of transportation, and they were built incrementally, by
many hands, with whatever resources were available at the time. They were
not built to remain static, as if frozen in aspic, but to evolve.
But by the early 1950s, the personal automobile was king, and it became
commonplace to have large corporate developers build entire suburban
neighbourhoods in one fell swoop, or to remake whole inner-city blocks as
part of a single project.
In Winnipeg, these trends manifested in the Lord Selkirk Park Renewal
Project, which transformed the heart of the city’s Jewish community. Other
examples include the construction of a large row housing project near
Burrows Avenue and Keewatin Street.
According to an academic article from Marc Vachon and Joshua Warkentin —
The Rise and Fall of Winnipeg’s Modern Project (1958-1972) — these
developments are now regarded as some of the “worst planning mistakes in
the city’s history.”
They were also the sorts of developments that were taking place across
“It was an unprecedented experiment, and part of what makes it
unprecedented is we did it everywhere at once, very rapidly… It was a
controlled experiment without a control group… We transformed an entire
continent,” Herriges said.
“It has resulted in an almost unfathomable number of places that are
functionally insolvent. We have systematically not done the math for the
ability of this development pattern to generate enough concentrated wealth
to sustain itself.”
Herriges said that for decades cities have been misallocating resources on
a grand scale, building infrastructure they lack the ability to maintain
long-term. The result: deferred maintenance and cutbacks to essential
It amounts to a Ponzi scheme, according to Herriges — not in the sense that
it’s a criminal conspiracy, or the brainchild of a malicious actor, but in
that the development pattern needs perpetual growth to sustain itself.
“There’s no Bernie Madoff in this story. But it resembles a Ponzi scheme in
that the early entrants into the scheme get bailed out by the later
entrants, until the whole thing collapses. And by entrants into the scheme,
what I mean is development,” Herriges said. “You add new infrastructure,
you’ve got growth, and you’re cash-flow positive until you reach the second
life cycle and things need major repair. And the only way you can cover
(those costs) is with continued growth… and when you cease to grow the
whole thing falls apart.
“We are on the verge of an epidemic of failing places, that are hitting
that third life cycle of the growth Ponzi scheme… and it worries me.”
Durand-Wood said that once you understand the central insight of Strong
Towns — that we lack the tax base to support our existing infrastructure,
let alone expand it — then suddenly the current state of the city of
Winnipeg makes a lot more sense.
“I can understand why no one thinks about it this way, because it’s been
like this since before we were born. It was a paradigm shift that happened
in the ’40s, so of course none of us sees these things. None of us looks at
the city and think it’s abnormal or financially unproductive,” he said.
“We just look at it and think: yeah, that’s the way things are, because
that’s all we’ve ever known. But once you see it, you kind of see it
everywhere, and it really gnaws at you.”
BRENT Toderian is the former chief planner for the City of Vancouver, and
an internationally recognized urbanist who now owns a private consulting
firm, Toderian Urban Works.
In an interview, he said that when it comes to city planning, Winnipeg’s
reputation on the national and international stage is far from positive.
“(Winnipeg) is a city that can’t see past its own car-addiction. It plays
out in your budget, it plays out in your political decisions, it plays out
in your detailed arguments about things like Main and Portage, it plays out
in the conversations surrounding your elections,” Toderian said.
“It’s just constant examples of Winnipeg ignoring the successes of other
cities and continuing to double-down on failure, continuing to support its
own addiction, its dependency on cars. And that’s the least healthy, most
expensive, least sustainable way of planning your city.”
Toderian characterized continued investment in car infrastructure as a
“race to the bottom.”
While it’s a counterintuitive insight, he said that if you want to make
Winnipeg a more pleasant place to drive, the solution isn’t more investment
in roads, but to invest in alternative modes of transportation, such as
walking, cycling and public transit.
“If you’re serious about addressing vehicle congestion, we know for certain
the only two things that do that is a combination of better infrastructure
for alternatives — walking, biking, transit — combined with pricing
mechanisms that affect the choice to drive,” Toderian said.
“Those are the only proven ways to actually reduce vehicle congestion.
Everything else is just more money spent to induce more driving with the
same — or worse — congestion. All of that is absolutely certain. There is
no doubt at all to it.”
Toderian said it’s not a question of “urbanist ideology,” but
evidence-based decision making.
“I’m not one of those urbanists who says: everyone should not want to
drive. I’m actually much more pragmatic than that. If you want to be able
to drive easier, the best thing you can hope for is that other people
choose to walk, bike or take public transit,” Toderian said.
“Every decision is based on a business case, and the business case is there
for investing in walking, biking and transit. The business case is rock
solid… As a matter of fact, it’s ideological to ignore that evidence, and
this plays out all the time in Winnipeg.”
The past two mayoral administrations — Sam Katz (2004-14) and Brian Bowman
(2014-22) — have been primarily characterized by holding the line on
property taxes (Katz) and record investment in roads (Bowman).
This has resulted in a public transit system with subpar service and low
ridership, and an active transportation network with significant gaps.
And despite our record investment in roads, Manitoba Public Insurance says
that damage claims due to potholes in Winnipeg are through the roof: in the
first six months of 2022, there were more than 2,000 such claims — more
than six times higher than the entirety of 2021.
When it comes to repairing our existing roads, let alone constructing new
ones, Winnipeg is bailing water out of a sinking ship. At our current
levels of record spending, it would take approximately 48 years to repave
or reconstruct all of our streets and alleys.
The problem is they deteriorate at a faster rate than we can fix them. We
simply can’t keep up.
Toderian said that conversations about city planning often turn into
“ideological debates,” and somehow the “car-based voices end up sounding
practical,” while those who advocate for alternative transportation “end up
“The opposite is true. When you understand the economics of city building,
the most practical course of action is to invest in walking, biking and
transit infrastructure, to emphasize infill development, more activity in
your downtown, inner-city and early suburbs,” Toderian said.
“If you want to have a conversation about avoiding future municipal tax
increases, that’s the only way you can do it… Suburban sprawl is an
incredible drain on municipal finances, and thank goodness you’ve got the
inner-city and infill development to subsidize it.”
The American-Canadian journalist Jane Jacobs, whose work had a profound
impact on urban studies, suggested big cities thrive when they are composed
of healthy, inter-connected micro-villages.
In order to achieve that, neighbourhoods need a good mixture of frequent
streets; buildings of different ages; a high concentration of people; and a
combination of primary uses. She argued that unless neighbourhoods are able
to attract foot traffic from surrounding areas, they will fail.
“Dull, inert cities… contain the seeds of their own destruction and little
else. But lively, diverse cities contain the seeds of their own
regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs
outside themselves,” Jacobs wrote.
According to Herriges, what’s needed now is another paradigm shift, one as
revolutionary as the development pattern that was ushered in across North
America in the years following the Second World War.
Instead of thinking big, we need to think small.
“You look for: Where are the people in this community struggling right now?
What needs are they struggling to meet in a way local government can
address? And then you ask: What is the next smallest thing we can do to
address that struggle?” Herriges said.
“You address the urgent struggles of people in the community… You launch a
thousand small experiments, you take the ones that are successful and you
scale them up… And that’s a really fundamental transformation from the way
things are done now.”
But the fact is we need a rupture from the status quo, because what we have
been doing for decades isn’t working. It is insanity to keep doing the same
things over and over again while hoping for different results.
Poverty and homelessness are more visible and acute in downtown than ever.
The tree canopy is dying. The city routinely dumps raw sewage into our
rivers. Winnipeg’s infrastructure deficit is $7 billion, and there’s a
$60-million shortfall in the municipal operating budget.
The city is in crisis, and no one is coming to save it. It falls to the
citizens of Winnipeg, and those they elect to city hall on Oct. 26, to act.
Two roads lie ahead — and the one Winnipeg is currently on is rapidly
approaching the point of no return.
ryan.thorpe(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @rk_thorpe
*Pedestrian injured in latest hit-and-run*
A woman in her 40s was rushed to hospital after she was found lying in a
busy St. Boniface intersection Friday afternoon — the third hit-and-run on
city streets in a week.
The victim was found in the intersection of Marion Avenue and Archibald
Street at approximately 3 p.m. Friday, the Winnipeg Police Service said in
a news release Saturday morning. She was rushed to hospital and is now in
Police said the woman was the victim of a hit-and-run. No arrests have been
made, police said Saturday.
Friday’s crash is the third hit-and-run on city streets in a week — and the
third involving a pedestrian this month. On Oct. 16, Shannon Joan Marie
Romaniuk, 24, was killed after she was struck at the intersection of
Portage Avenue and Berry Street around 11:30 p.m. Emergency crews found
Romaniuk lying in the road, but the vehicle that struck her had fled,
police said. No arrests have been made in the case, police confirmed
“Rest easy Shannon, you were such a good friend to those around you…,” read
a comment posted to Facebook last week.
On the same day, just 18 hours earlier, a hitand- run at Sargent Avenue and
Empress Street claimed the life of an 81-year-old woman.
Corazon Manguerra and a 45-year-old man were found trapped in their SUV
after their vehicle was hit by an older model Dodge Caravan, which fled the
scene, police said. Manguerra was rushed to hospital, where she died. The
man was taken to hospital and treated for his injuries. Police said no
arrests have been made.
“Along with the incident that occurred (Friday), we continue to actively
investigate other recent hit-and-runs,” police said in an email statement
Saturday. “There are no updates to provide regarding those investigations.”
Jim Aitkenhead, 78, also died after he was hit on Osborne Street outside of
his retirement home, Fred Tipping Place, just before 10 p.m. on Oct. 9.
Officers met with the vehicle’s driver, a woman in her 80s, who remained at
the scene, police said. No charges have been announced in the case.
So far this year, 10 pedestrians have been killed in collisions, compared
with a total of six in 2021, according to police data.
Anyone with information about the hit-and-runs is asked to call police at
204-986-7085. Information can also be provided anonymously to Winnipeg
Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477 or winnipegcrimestoppers.org.
*Nearly double amount of pedestrians have died this year compared to last *
The number of pedestrians killed on Winnipeg streets has nearly doubled
this year over last, as police ask for help in investigating the latest
incident that claimed the life of a 24-year-old woman.
Police and fire paramedic crews raced to the intersection of Portage Avenue
and Berry Street at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, where they found the seriously
injured woman lying in the road, the Winnipeg Police Service said Monday.
Police identified the victim as Shannon Joan Marie Romaniuk of Winnipeg.
Just 18 hours earlier, an 81-year-old woman was killed after the vehicle
she was in was struck in a hit-and-run at Sargent Avenue and Empress Street.
In 2022 to date, 10 pedestrians have been killed in collisions, compared
with a total of six in 2021, WPS data provided to the Free Press show.
The total number of vehicle-collision deaths, including both pedestrians
and vehicle occupants — is also up; 20 people have died thus far in 2022,
compared to nine last year.
In 2021, two people were charged for failing to remain at the scene of a
collision in which a pedestrian was killed. Three have been charged so far
“It’s extremely sad and unfortunate, and it’s happening all hours of the
day,” police spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon said.
Investigators have determined Romaniuk was crossing Portage Avenue when she
was struck. The driver and occupants, if any, fled in the vehicle, which
was a silver or grey late-model SUV.
Police have not yet located the SUV or its driver.
Officers completed their investigation and left the scene Monday morning,
but spatters of what appeared to be blood remained on the road at the
intersection just west of Route 90.
On the south side of Portage Avenue, apartment buildings overlook the
eightlane thoroughfare with a 60 kilometre- an-hour speed limit, which has
controlled pedestrian crossings on the east and west sides of Berry Street.
The collision was the second fatal hit-and-run in less than 24 hours.
Investigators have identified the 81-year-old woman who died in hospital
after a two-vehicle collision at Sargent Avenue and Empress Street as
Officers rushed to the intersection at 4:30 a.m. after receiving multiple
They found the woman and a 45-year-old man trapped in their SUV, police
Manguerra was in unstable condition and had to be extricated from the
wreck. She was rushed to hospital, where she died. The man was taken to
hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The occupants of the other vehicle, a late-model, dark-coloured Dodge
Caravan, ran away from the scene before police arrived.
On Sunday, the wrecked Dodge van sat abandoned along Omand’s Creek on the
east side of Empress. A traffic-light was on the ground nearby.
The other vehicle, a Toyota RAV4, was on Empress Street’s west sidewalk,
north of the intersection.
Investigators said witnesses reported the Dodge Caravan driving at a high
speed before the collision.
They are asking anyone with information about the two collisions, including
dash-camera footage, to call the traffic division at 204-986-7085 or Crime
Stoppers anonymously at 204-786-8477.
“So many people have their own personal dash-cams now,” McKinnon said.
“They can record make, model and licence plate number… the hope really is
anyone in this area, from the public, may have seen the collisions or
perhaps the manner in which the suspect vehicle was driving — before or
McKinnon confirmed police have not yet made any arrests in either incident.
The two deaths occurred a week after a 78-year-old man died after he was
struck on Osborne Street.
Jim Aitkenhead was hit by a vehicle crossing the 50 km/h, four-lane street
outside of his retirement home, Fred Tipping Place, a few minutes before 10
p.m. on Oct. 9.
Aitkenhead — who was affectionately called “Jimmy” and “Gentleman Jim,” by
friends, neighbours and family — was taken to hospital in unstable
condition, and later died.
Officers met with the vehicle’s driver, a woman in her 80s, who remained at
the scene, police said at the time. No charges have been announced in the
erik.pindera(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @erik_pindera
*Path to car-free living challenging, rewarding *
JUST a few years ago, Sharee Hochman wouldn’t have called herself an
advocate for making car culture a thing of the past in Winnipeg.
The 23-year-old lifelong Winnipegger used a vehicle to get around and only
cycled recreationally for years, but found herself slowly drawn to use her
bike more and more.
Eventually, she realized even when she felt forced to drive, she didn’t
enjoy it. She got rid of her car in January, and picked up a winter-use
“When I began to understand the different benefits cycling for
transportation had on me, the environment, the community, even for
businesses and my mental health, I began to prioritize it,” said Hochman.
“And then I began to just really fall into it.”
She’s part of a growing community of Winnipeggers who have foregone
personal vehicles for bikes, buses and car co-ops. Some have adapted their
lives around sustainable transport. Hochman moved to River Heights, a more
central area with better access to bus routes and bike lanes, from Garden
City, and found herself investing in warm clothing for winter bike travels.
Hochman found the benefits so meaningful she ended up becoming the Green
Action Centre’s sustainable transport program co-ordinator in August. She
now works to shift mindsets away from car culture and toward other options.
It hasn’t always been an easy sell. The hardest push-back, she said, hasn’t
been winter winds while cycling home with groceries — it’s been from other
“I think a lot of people don’t expect my answer to be that the most hard
thing has just been the resistance from folks who can’t imagine a city
without having to rely on a vehicle,” she said. “And with that comes
hostility and even some harassment, sometimes.”
Kyle Cavell, too, is taking the leap. Last week, he changed his vehicle
insurance to leisure coverage, and has decided to give winter cycling a
“I spent over a decade living in the north suburbs of the city, and when I
moved to West Broadway (in 2019), I realized that this was the lifestyle
that I wanted,” he said. “I don’t want to spend hours a day in traffic and
in a vehicle, I’d like to commute by bike or walk, just live in a more
walkable, dense neighbourhood.”
It even influenced his decision to purchase a condo in Osborne Village with
no parking spot but three Peg City Car Co-Op vehicles available nearby.
Peg City carsharing service began in 2011 with just three cars, but now has
90 vehicles and more than 2,500 members. In the 2 1/2 years Ian Walker has
sat on its board, the co-op doubled its number of vehicles to meet a
growing need after an explosion of interest during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every month, I see our usage numbers are higher than we’ve expected, so
it’s allowing us to keep thinking forward to how we’re going to grow,”
Walker and his wife accessed the service before he got involved with the
board. They plan to sell their car in the spring to become full-time users.
Walker said he’s heard of growing exhaustion among car owners, both in
using and maintaining vehicles and what it would take to switch to more
“Winnipeg tries really, really, really hard to be good at moving people
around in cars, but what we end up with is a city where nobody can really
get around with any mode,” he said.
Meantime, Cavell is excited to get biking this winter but not sure how
it’ll go. It’s a short ride, but his experience with the city’s piecemeal
cycling infrastructure has left him concerned about snow clearing and
“I think that Winnipeg has got a lot of good cycling infrastructure, just
the connections are missing,” he said.
Hochman called it an issue of citywide inequity.
“It’s really challenging and difficult to watch, because from my
perspective, I know how an increase of infrastructure in certain areas of
the city would help alleviate a lot of different other issues for many
different identities,” she said.
Bridging that gap through building more compact communities with easy
access to public transit and resources is the challenge, urban planner
Jason Syvixay said.
City planners often have grand aspirations of walkable, connected cities
that will inspire people to ditch their cars overnight, but on the flip
side, the equity issue means car ownership and use is a must for many
families, especially from lower-income neighbourhoods, to be able to
maintain day-to-day operations.
“We have these big aspirations, but how do you implement them in a way that
doesn’t unintentionally create these impacts to these other marginalized
groups who might use it?” Syvixay said.
He pointed to the “15-minute city” initiative popularized in Paris during
the pandemic as an example of how cities can use zoning and planning to
create a more equitable transport solution. The residential urban concept
reworks cities with the goal of having as many of its residents’ daily
activities — groceries, recreation, gathering spaces — be within a
15-minute walk or bike ride away.
In Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo has promised to implement this vision by
converting main roads into communal spaces blocked off to cars, installing
bike lanes on every street by 2024, and using schools as community
gathering spots on holidays and weekends.
“It seems like such a simple concept, right? This idea that you should be
able to live in a neighbourhood that gives you the things that you need,”
“But we know that, historically, the way that we’ve planned our city with
zoning and our policies, they’ve actually deterred those things.”
Syvixay said getting Winnipeg on board would require sweeping changes to
zoning rules and mindsets.
“Things like the suburbs, for example, the zoning was built in a way that
wouldn’t allow for mixing of a grocery store or for a school to be built in
the residential neighbourhoods. So you start to see over time, because of
zoning, these neighbourhoods only being allowed… to build single-family
homes,” he said.
Syvixay was born and raised in Winnipeg, and has worked with Downtown
Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone and as an urban planner in the private
sector. He moved to Edmonton in 2018, in part because there were more
opportunities for city planning and development.
Winnipeg is behind its Prairie peer in investing in progressive city
development, he said. Along with changes such as abolishing single-family
zoning in Edmonton, the Alberta capital has invested in walking people
through these changes and making it apparent how they benefit everyone.
“Change and community support takes a lot of time, and we need to be, I
think, compassionate and empathetic that people have staked their lives and
their future and their money in communities,” Syvixay said.
“We need to work through the change with them so that they know what’s
happening, what’s coming.”
Syvixay remains optimistic. Interest is growing in Winnipeg, he said, and
it’s a matter of when municipal leadership decides to get on board.
“It might take some public infrastructure or investments or catalyst
projects that can sort of show the development industry where the city
wants to go, and the city can make statements in their investments, and
what they put in the infrastructure, and the development industry might
follow,” he said.
“It could be symbolic gestures like that, or funding gestures like that,
that can see some cascading impacts.”
*Majority willing to pay for faster, more reliable transit*
/ CTV Winnipeg PROBE RESEARCH
IMAGINE a city where the buses run on time and efficiently get you where
you need to go. Or imagine a city where you can safely commute on a bicycle
You can probably imagine that city isn’t Winnipeg — at least not yet — but
not only are most mayoral candidates talking about transit and active
transportation, a new poll suggests a majority of residents are willing to
pay for them.
In the Free Press- CTV News poll conducted by Probe Research, 52 per cent
of respondents said the city should spend more money on new public-transit
infrastructure, including creating dedicated lanes for buses. Another 33
per cent are satisfied with the money currently being spent, and 15 per
cent think there should be less funding.
As well, when Winnipeggers were asked how they would feel if the city spent
money to build a light-rail transit line, more than half, at 52 per cent,
said it would make them more likely to support spending on transit, while
28 per cent said it makes no difference to them, nine per cent said it
would make them less likely to support spending on public transit and 11
per cent said they were unsure.
Curtis Brown, a principal at Probe Research, said the results are a clear
indication there is an appetite to buy improvements.
“People are starting to see the need for it,” Brown said. “Issues of
climate change, gridlock… people want to see more investment.”
Brown said residents are more inclined to support light-rail than
rapid-transit buses but, “We haven’t really heard any of the candidates
talk about it or promise it.”
Idris Adelakun is the only mayoral candidate among the 11 on the ballot
talking about a transit system using something other than buses and,
according to a Free Press- CTV News poll released last month, he likely
won’t get many votes.
Adelakun is proposing a solar-powered, 20-passenger overhead rail-car
“It will attract visitors to our city,” Adelakun says in his platform.
“Also, it will reduce traffic congestion and pollution.”
The top five candidates have more conventional ideas in their platforms.
Glen Murray wants to see a citywide system that provides frequent service
using electric buses within eight years.
Scott Gillingham would add 11 new buses to the city’s busiest routes over
three years. Shaun Loney would implement the city’s transit master plan in
10 years instead of 25. Kevin Klein would push for all new buses to be
electric. Robert-Falcon Ouellette would set adult fares at $1; youths 17
and under would ride free.
Kyle Owens, president and chairman of Functional Transit Winnipeg, said he
is pleased to see the poll numbers in favour of injecting more money into
Winnipeg Transit’s infrastructure.
“I think these numbers reflect that most Winnipeggers see the benefits of
investing public transit,” Owens said.
“Winnipeggers who use the system regularly know how slow and unreliable it
is. Because of the lack of funding, people can’t use it to get to work on
Owens said his group advocates that even people who never take the bus will
get a bang for their bucks that go into public transit infrastructure.
“It benefits the city,” he said. It gets more people out of their cars.
And, with the master transit plan passed last year, we were very glad to
see it passed and we want to accelerate that funding because 25 years is
As well, he said when the plan is in place, the number of households within
500 metres of frequent transit service will go to 58 per cent from 21 per
Owens said Winnipeg has fallen behind other cities in the country.
“Winnipeg is the largest city of its land size in Canada without
light-rail,” he said. “The others have all realized the benefits to get
people where they are going.”
The poll was taken while Winnipeg Transit continues to experience lower
ridership numbers, in part due to the pandemic.
In 2012, annual ridership hovered above 48 million. It plunged to 24.8
million in 2020 and 21.5 million in 2021, during the pandemic.
A transit spokeswoman said weekday boardings are now up to approximately 80
per cent, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020.
Winnipeg Transit continues work on the multi-year master transit plan city
councillors approved last year.
Bjorn Radstrom, Winnipeg Transit’s manager of service development, said the
plan was moved forward because, “We really heard that transit wasn’t
“The transit system we had then, and still mostly have now, reflects
Winnipeg as it was with people coming downtown in the morning and then
going back in the afternoon. It doesn’t offer that many cross-city trips.
We’ve tried to redraw the map to make it a grid system and not spokes going
Radstrom said transit users will soon see the changes, with a series of
fast bus routes taking passengers to transfer locations where they can
board other buses to take them to where they want to go. He said the system
is already in place in southwest Winnipeg, with feeder routes not going
downtown, but instead only taking passengers from subdivisions directly to
and from the Blue Line, much of which is the Southwest Rapid Transit
“Buses will be so frequent on major routes you don’t have to check the
schedule — you just show up,” he said. “Just missed the bus? Who cares?
Another one will come in five minutes… that type of change is really what
would get more people to be on the bus.
“Downtown will always be the biggest destination, but it is not like it was
in the 1940s and 1950s.”
As to the demographics of Winnipeggers who support — or don’t — spending
more on public transit, the poll shows a lot depends on a resident’s
political ideology, age, education level and neighbourhood.
Sixty-four per cent of the people who identify as NDP supporters and 60 per
cent of Liberal voters indicated they favour spending more, while only 28
per cent of people who back the Progressive Conservatives did the same.
A larger percentage of Tories — 42 per cent — suggested they support
funding for light-rail, behind Liberal supporters at 59 per cent and NDP at
56 per cent.
There was a stark age breakdown in the results; 71 per cent of people
between the ages of 18 and 34 support spending more, while only 39 per cent
of people 55 and older feel the same way.
About 57 per cent of university graduates agree more should be spent on
public transit, compared to 41 per cent with high school or less education.
And, while residents who live in the core area give 62 per cent support to
spending more, other areas of the city range from 47 to 53 per cent.
Meanwhile, when it comes to putting more dollars into active transportation
and building more bike lanes, 45 per cent of Winnipeggers are in favour of
spending more, but a majority of respondents believe the city is spending
enough (31 per cent) or should spend less (24 per cent).
The executive director of Bike Winnipeg, an advocacy organization, said
support for active transportation has continuously grown through the years;
45 per cent of Winnipeggers now want the city to spend more on bike lanes.
“This is very positive,” Mark Cohoe said. “I think it is a pretty clear
indication people are ready to spend more. They are linking walking,
cycling and transit to climate. There is value with active transportation.
“Getting people out of their vehicles is critical to meeting our climate-
change goals.” Cohoe said many changed their driving habits during the
pandemic, so the time is right to enhance the active transportation network.
“People are travelling less (and) we’ve found we can reduce the number of
vehicles on the road. Numerous studies show people are driving more than
they want to. But if we just blindly plan for the same number of cars on
the road, that’s what we’ll get.
“If you plan for fewer vehicles and have more options for biking, walking
and buses, you’ll get there.”
Among the five leading mayoral candidates, Murray said he wants to see
aligned and integrated city and transportation planning to encourage
cycling and walking. Gillingham would increase active transportation
funding by $13 million and use a $1.50-per-foot frontage levy hike to
partially pay for bike-route investment. Loney would inject an additional
$20 million into funding, Klein would ensure active transportation is
reviewed before roads are built and Ouellette wants to include safe family
cycling in active-transportation plans.
The poll of 600 Winnipeg adults was conducted Sept. 8-18. The results are —
with 95 per cent certainty — within plus or minus four per cent if the
city’s adult population had been surveyed because of the size of the