Cyclists ignore city’s threat of fines, clear icy bike paths
CYCLISTS have again taken matters into their owns hands, clearing ice from
a bike lane in the Exchange District during Monday afternoon’s commute,
despite a warning from the city that they may be fined.
It’s the second time in a week cyclists have cleared a lane themselves out
of safety concerns, after being dissatisfied with the city’s snow-clearing
policy and the handling of their complaints to 311.
This time, the group chipped ice which formed on a protected cycling lane
on Arthur Street, between McDermot and Notre Dame avenues.
“(The) spot is incredibly iced up and rutted,” said Hillary Rosentreter,
who organized the effort.
After she complained to the city’s 311 service on Twitter Sunday, a city
employee wrote back to inform her public works had been notified the lane
The employee also advised her to review certain sections of Winnipeg’s
“In general, residents shouldn’t work on, obstruct, or place items in the
right-of-way without a permit,” the employee wrote.
Rosentreter, who is among the Winnipeggers who cycle throughout winter,
said she will fight any bylaw fine in court.
“We’re going to keep notifying them when problems come up,” she said. “If
they take their sweet time getting to it, if we get to it before them, it
is what it is.”
The city has cleared other trouble spots for cyclists, including one on St.
Matthews Avenue, following complaints, Rosentreter noted.
Michael Cantor, the city’s manager of streets maintenance, said
Winnipeggers shouldn’t clear a public street, sidewalk or bike lane
They should report and discuss any concerns with 311, he said.
“I hope we wouldn’t get to that point, having to fine anyone,” said Cantor.
On Nov. 22, Rosentreter and about 10 others cleared snow and ice from a
lane on Westminster Avenue, between Maryland and Sherbrook streets, after
complaining to 311.
The city said an inspection found the lane had been cleared according to
policy, but the group wasn’t happy with the job that was done.
According to Winnipeg’s snow-clearing policy, active transportation paths
on Priority 1 and 2 streets are to be cleared to a compacted snow surface
instead of bare pavement.
Rosentreter said bike lanes should be cleared down to the pavement because
compacted snow surfaces become mushy and icy when temperatures fluctuate
like they have recently.
She wants the city to review and change the policy.
Cantor said smaller clearing equipment doesn’t have the power to plow ice
like a grader does.
It’s not feasible to clear all sidewalks down to bare pavement, he said,
because their concrete panels can shift in summer and make the surface
uneven, risking damage to infrastructure and equipment when snow is plowed.
Crews completed a two-and-a-half day residential street clearing operation
Saturday at 7 p.m., using about 300 pieces of equipment per 12-hour shift.
“All the residential streets were cleared,” said Cantor. “All of them were
cleared on time.”
The operation will end up costing about $2 million, which is on the “lower
side” of the scale, he said.
The city expects to exceed this year’s $35-million snow clearing budget by
It launched the operation following complaints from the public about some
streets and sidewalks becoming clogged with mushy snow amid mild weather in
the aftermath of the first major snowfall Nov. 10-11.
Melissa Graham, a project co-ordinator with the Manitoba League of Persons
with Disabilities, said her electric wheelchair got stuck on a
slush-covered sidewalk while returning home from a grocery store on a
She had to repeatedly reverse and move the wheelchair forward to become
unstuck while it was dark outside.
Otherwise, she said, “you’re stuck until you can find somebody to come help
“I’m fortunate to have a pretty solid chair with good tires,” said Graham.
“I was lucky it wasn’t too cold.”
Graham recently moved to Winnipeg from Toronto.
While using her wheelchair in Winnipeg, she has noticed some streets where
one sidewalk has been plowed but the other one hasn’t.
She expressed frustration over piles of snow preventing access to
pedestrian push buttons at intersections.
“They’re very good clearing the downtown streets, but very much not the
streets people live on,” said Graham. “Even when they do clear the snow, a
lot of times they leave the ice.
“For a city that sees a lot of winter and a lot of snow, you should have a
better budget for that. There are other cities that do better.”
Graham said a large number of people is affected when sidewalks are in poor
condition due to snow or ice.
After completing the residential street clearing operation, public works
crews are following up on any related concerns, such as windrows, reported
With minimal snowfall expected this week, they’re focusing on normal
trouble spots and controlling ice by salting and sanding higher priority
streets as required, said Cantor.
Salt isn’t used on sidewalks due to environmental concerns, he noted.
Environment Canada is predicting flurries, strong wind gusts and an
afternoon wind chill of -9 C today, with local blowing snow and a wind
chill of -23 overnight.
chris.kitching(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @chriskitching
Not "honk if you think you are right "?Sent from my phone.
-------- Original message --------From: Terry Zdan <tjzdan50(a)gmail.com> Date: 2022-11-28 23:39 (GMT-06:00) To: AT network <AT-Network(a)lists.umanitoba.ca>, Beth McKechnie <beth(a)greenactioncentre.ca>, Charles F <c_feaver(a)mts.net>, Anders Swanson <andersswanson(a)gmail.com>, Brian Pincott <brianpincott(a)gmail.com> Subject: Dear Urban Diplomat: I'm sick of cyclists making up their own traffic rules https://torontolife.com/city/dear-urban-diplomat-im-sick-of-cyclists-making… Think about something happy and carry on
Tired of waiting for city, cyclists grab shovels, clear bike lane
DISSATISFIED with the city’s efforts to clear snow and ice from bike lanes,
some Winnipeg cyclists have taken matters into their own hands.
Hillary Rosentreter was among a group of about 10 people, including a
child, who shovelled and scraped a bike lane on Westminster Avenue, between
Maryland and Sherbrook streets, down to the pavement Tuesday.
“It was a safety thing, and just being fed up with the city not taking
concerns into account and not taking appropriate action,” said Rosentreter.
“It had been neglected. We wanted to do whatever we could to make sure it
Rosentreter and others complained to the city and some councillors, after
noticing vehicles had been parked in the cycling lane.
“The snow had not been cleared off the road or the bike lane. There was no
way of telling there was a bike lane or where parking stopped,” she said.
While the group was there, a city employee showed up and took photos of the
lane, said Rosentreter, who cycles throughout winter.
About a dozen cyclists passed by while the group shovelled snow and chipped
“They were all saying thank you that we were there,” said Rosentreter. “I
think we will make this a regular thing now. We do plan to go out and
tackle spots that are being neglected.”
The lane in West Broadway is part of a key route to and from downtown.
Rosentreter said it is a “precarious” spot when it hasn’t been cleared.
City of Winnipeg spokesman Ken Allen said sidewalks and active
transportation paths on Priority 1 and 2 streets are to be cleared to a
compacted snow surface instead of bare pavement.
“We inspected the location on Monday and found it to be cleared as per the
policy,” Allen wrote in an email. “Residents are asked to not clear snow
from the roadways due to safety concerns, and to report any trouble spots
Winnipeggers can make reports or snow removal requests to 311 or on the
Frustrated by the “prioritization” of vehicles over active transportation,
Rosentreter said bike lanes should be cleared down to the pavement.
A compacted snow surface becomes soft and icy when temperatures fluctuate,
Winnipeggers have raised concerns about a lack of snow-clearing or the
state of some streets or active transportation paths after the first major
snowfall Nov. 10-11 and lighter dustings since then.
Plowing of residential streets is due to begin Thursday following an
onslaught of complaints made to the city.
Snow-clearing on streets, sidewalks and bike paths is based on three
priority levels and depends on factors such as the amount of accumulation.
The bike lane on Westminster Avenue, which is Priority 2, is supposed be
cleared when the street is plowed, said Sherri Rollins, the local city
councillor (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry).
Rollins, who received complaints from the group, said residents shouldn’t
have to resort to clearing a bike lane themselves.
“I share their frustration,” she said. She is concerned the city isn’t
meeting its standards for snow removal.
“Snow-clearing has not kept up, and that’s our first snow clear,” said
Rollins, referring to the Nov. 10-11 storm.
Coun. Cindy Gilroy (Daniel Mclntyre) wants the city to review and update
its priority system.
She is “very concerned” when Winnipeggers feel they have no choice but to
clear active transportation paths themselves.
“We have to make sure we get to those routes first,” she said in a voice
New public works chair Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverley West) described the
situation on Westminster Avenue as “terribly unfortunate.”
The fact “no action” was taken when the group reported its concerns to 311
is a problem, Lukes said.
“We’re a winter city. People need to be mobile,” she said. “We really want
to provide a good level of service. I think the public wants to see a
better level than is currently provided, and so do I.”
The councillor noticed some bike lanes hadn’t been cleared, including a
newer corridor on Pembina Highway, as of Saturday.
Some accountability issues need to be addressed, she said, as city hall
explores options to speed up snow-clearing.
The public works committee will discuss snow removal on Nov. 29, including
whether to give more work to private contractors in an effort to clear
sidewalks and paths faster.
In July, council approved a roughly $3.7-million purchase of 15 machines
which will clear snow from sidewalks and paths when they enter service. The
order has been subject to supply-chain issues, said Lukes, who hopes the
machines will arrive next year.
With a new budget cycle starting next year, council will have to look at
changing the city’s policy or spending more on snow clearing, said Lukes.
Thanks to a series of heavy snowfalls last winter and spring, the city
expects to finish the year $40 million over its $35-million snow-clearing
chris.kitching(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @chriskitching
Bus, parking on Esplanade Riel a bridge too far, protesters say
THE Esplanade Riel’s newest tenant has promised there will be no more
parking on the footbridge after pedestrians and cyclists complained about
vehicles, including a bus, driving onto the span.
Hillary Rosentreter was “absolutely floored” as she watched the bus drive
up to the 4,000-squarefoot building in the middle of the bridge and drop
off guests at a Manitoba Technology Accelerator event last Thursday.
“We all finally realized this really is becoming a problem,” said
Rosentreter, who helped organize a protest on the bridge during Monday
afternoon’s commute. “There were pedestrians being pushed out of the way by
She said normal-sized passenger vehicles, including an SUV and
Mercedes-Benz car, were parked on Esplanade Riel — next to the city-owned
space occupied by MTA — almost every day last week, despite parking being
Pedestrians “had to walk at the very edges of the bridge” to let the bus
through, said Rosentreter, noting the bus left “immediately” after dropping
Rosentreter, a downtown resident who cycles often, said the situation is
“unacceptable” and it raises safety concerns.
“So much of our city is taken over by cars,” she said. “The bridge should
About 20 people attended the protest, with others stopping momentarily
while walking or cycling by. Bed sheets attached to a railing across from
the MTA’s doors had messages reading “This is a footbridge, you are a car,”
and “It’s OK to not want cars here.”
In an email to the Free Press, Marshall Ring, the CEO of MTA, a non-profit
that helps startups and technology companies grow, promised no parking on
the bridge going forward.
He also said MTA will stop using buses on the Esplanade Riel.
“We do still expect service vehicles and delivery vehicles to drive on the
bridge,” Ring wrote. “However, if they have to do so, we are telling them
to stop on the bridge, put the hazards on, load/unload quickly and get off
Thursday’s event was MTA’s grand opening and first “beta run” of how to use
the space. Extra service vehicles, staff and contractors were going in and
out of the building.
“We also offered a park-and-ride service as the city approved a permit to
bring a bus onto the bridge,” he wrote.
Parking is not permitted on the nearly 200-metre-long bridge, a major
walking and cycling path that crosses the Red River and links downtown
Winnipeg and St. Boniface.
“The Winnipeg Parking Authority is aware of this parking violation
concern,” city spokesman Adam Campbell wrote in an email. “It has attended
this location on multiple occasions this week and will continue to as part
of regular patrols in the area.
“We encourage anyone who notices a parking violation to use the online
submission form so the Winnipeg Parking Authority can investigate.”
No tickets had been issued as of Monday.
When he followed up on residents’ complaints, Coun. Matt Allard (St.
Boniface) was informed vehicles require a permit from the city to go on the
bridge for purposes such as deliveries or guest transport.
Ring said MTA doesn’t have a permit, given it doesn’t own any vehicles.
“Employees, contractors, etc. all make their own applications for a permit
for their own vehicle. So the vehicle owner applies for a permit,” Ring
Allard has asked the city’s public service to consider minimizing the
impact on bridge users when permits are issued in the future.
“This is a main active-transportation facility, and we need to ensure we’re
doing everything we can to make it as pedestrian- and bike-friendly as
possible,” he said.
Ian Walker, the advocacy chair for Bike Winnipeg, discussed bridge users’
concerns with Ring on Friday.
Walker said Ring told him he would ask staff to stop parking on the path,
and the MTA would no longer use buses on the bridge.
Walker and Rosentreter were informed an SUV parked on the Esplanade Riel on
“Apparently, the cleaners hadn’t got the memo about not parking on the
bridge,” Walker wrote in a text message.
Ring and Walker said MTA and Bike Winnipeg will work together to ensure the
path is a safe space for pedestrians and cyclists.
Coun. Sherri Rollins, whose ward of Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry is on the
west side of the bridge, also discussed the concerns with Ring after
receiving complaints from residents.
“There is no doubt his priority is also the safety concerns of all
involved,” she said. “I’m really satisfied he understands the concerns of
the community and has made some future friends in the active-transportation
Monday’s protest was held to raise awareness about the situation and the
“abuse” of public infrastructure intended for active transportation.
“We do expect (MTA) to respect the space they have chosen is on a major
pedestrian and bike route, and they should act accordingly,” said
Rosentreter. “I sincerely hope they will come to us with some concrete
“If we don’t protect the bridge, of all places, where does it end? Cars
dominate a lot of the infrastructure that we have already.”
She contacted MTA via Twitter last week to raise her concerns.
Parking has been a concern for past tenants of the Esplanade Riel building,
which was previously leased by restaurants, starting with Salisbury House
Rosentreter said plenty of parking is available on either side of the
In September 2021, the city’s property and development committee
unanimously voted to lease the site to MTA for five years with an annual
rent of $20,000.
In its winning bid, MTA said it would explore e-scooters as a way to
transport visitors from nearby parking lots to and from the building.
At the time, Ring said the site would be more than just office space, with
plans for events and a tech commercialization hall of fame.
MTA has set up its International Centre for Innovation on the bridge, which
opened in 2003.
In September, Ring told the Free Press about $200,000 worth of technology
being installed in the space.
He also said MTA was on target to exceed the $250,000 worth of renovations
it promised when the lease was awarded.
chris.kitching(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @chriskitching
Gillingham rides bus to work, wants to make transit safe
AMID serious concerns about violence on city buses, Mayor Scott Gillingham
took a Winnipeg Transit ride to city hall Wednesday and vowed to keep doing
so “from time to time” to help guide his efforts to make the service safer.
“I want to see Winnipeggers confident in the transit system... It was very
intentional (that) I got on a bus this morning and came to city hall on a
transit bus. I’m making decisions on transit, so I think it’s important
that I ride from time to time,” said Gillingham. “We want transit to be a
safe option for people and (for) people to have confidence when they get on
The mayor’s decision to take the bus, and his commitment to do so in the
future, came a day after the union representing Winnipeg Transit workers
pleaded with the city and province to tackle what it called a “safety
On Tuesday, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 president Romeo Ignacio
made note of multiple dangerous incidents on buses and at transit stops
earlier this month, including sexual assault at knifepoint and two violent
robberies. In another incident, a driver climbed out of his vehicle’s
window to escape a threatening passenger.
In all, ATU has recorded 107 assaults against bus drivers this year so far,
including verbal threats, spitting, punching and attacks with a weapon.
Gillingham said he supports the union’s longtime request for a transit
security force to make buses safer, which he expects would be staffed by
some form of peace officer — not police — pending provincial approval of
the change. He said discussions with the province have yet to determine the
exact requirements for such a security force, how much it would cost or how
many employees it would require.
“Ultimately, the goal is to make the transit system a safer system and make
sure that the people of Winnipeg who choose transit… have the confidence to
get on our transit system,” he said.
Coun. Janice Lukes, the head of council’s public works committee, said she
rides the Southwest Transitway from her ward to city hall often and
believes there’s a need to expand that “dream” level of service to other
parts of the city. “(The) southwest rapid transit corridor is amazing, and
this is why I’m hoping we can advance the transit plan… because other parts
of the city need this,” Lukes said.
Lukes (Waverley West) said the city should pinpoint routes with the highest
number of safety issues as a first step to address the concerns.
Meanwhile, council voted Wednesday to approve Gillingham’s membership on
the Winnipeg Police Board. That included passing a bylaw amendment to let
the mayor sit as a member of the board, while not serving as chair.
As a result, Gillingham will replace Coun. Ross Eadie on the board. Coun.
Markus Chambers continues to serve as chairman.
Eadie said he was initially ready to fight the change but opted to support
it after Gillingham told him the board will include an inner-city voice
among its members.
“I am assured that there will be an inner-city representation, perspective,
experience, advice and voting,” he said.
Gillingham told media he will ensure citizen members that the mayor
appoints to the board reflect that promise.
“I believe one of the board members needs to be someone who understands and
represents the inner city and the North End, so that will be important to
me as I make a decision as mayor (on whom) to appoint,” he said.
joyanne.pursaga(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga
Where is the front page coverage? Where is the outrage?
St. Boniface pedestrian’s death latest on dangerous city streets
A man in his 50s has died after being hit by a vehicle Sunday in St.
Boniface — the latest in a recent string of fatalities on Winnipeg streets.
Police and fire paramedics were called to the 100 block of Dumoulin Street
at about 7:30 p.m. for a reported pedestrian collision, Winnipeg Police
Service said Monday.
The man was taken to hospital in critical condition, where he was
pronounced dead. The driver, a man in his 20s, remained at the scene and
spoke with police.
Little sign of a police investigation remained on the mostly residential
block of Dumoulin Street mid-day Monday, apart from a piece of yellow crime
scene tape in the road’s gutter near the St. Boniface Hotel.
Traffic investigators have asked anyone with information or who witnessed
the collision to call the division at 204986-7085.
On Monday, police had no updates to provide on the investigations into the
spate of hit-and-runs in late October. Investigators have not made any
arrests, police confirmed.
Five people died on city roads in little more than a week, three of whom
were pedestrians. The drivers in four of the fatal collisions fled the
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. Oct. 24. He later died in
After a tip from the public, police investigators found the suspect vehicle
abandoned in Charleswood.
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 the vehicle he was a
passenger in struck a hydro poleon 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, 81-year-old Corazon Manguerra 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 suspect vehicle ran away before police
arrived, leaving the wrecked Dodge Caravan on the bank of Omand’s Creek.
On Oct. 9, Jim Aitkenhead, 78, died in hospital after he was struck by a
vehicle while crossing Osborne Street. The driver, a woman in her 80s,
remained at the scene and spoke with police. No charges have been announced.
— Erik Pindera