*It’s time to make better transportation decisions*
ARCHITECT Brent Bellamy comments in the May 23 edition ( Need more
congestion? Route 90 plan is the $500-M ticket) that improving Kenaston
Boulevard will be, in total, more than just the $500 million construction
cost, that the bill won’t be paid for up to 30 years, that greater capacity
will create further congestion as this becomes a preferred route, and that
we should consider the impact on future generations.
In all of these points, Mr. Bellamy is correct, although I think he should
have mentioned that for something like this, there is cost sharing with the
province/feds which typically reduces the cost to the city.
The reality is we could have avoided a lot of this pain had we made better
decisions 50 years ago.
Around 1970, Plan Winnipeg decided that, with minor exceptions, we would be
a city without freeways. Today, for a city of our size, we have significant
traffic congestion and an inefficient transportation system.
Rather than expediting travel from one part of the city to another, it
seems like it is more designed to spread the pain, as most routes take
about the same time. On that point, traffic is bad enough on major routes
at rush hour that we now have restrictions on travel through residential
areas because commuters would rather take the “scenic route” than fight
traffic on a “major route” studded with light signals (which, by the way,
the Kenaston expansion won’t deal with — it still incorporates stop
lights). If there is more traffic on a widened Kenaston, there will be less
through River Heights.
The simple fact is that if we had not made the decision to avoid freeways
in 1970, the cost of implementing them would have been significantly less
than the cost today.
Consider the issue of the Red River Floodway, the initial cost of which was
significantly less than $100 million in the mid-1960s. To give you an idea
of the cost of deferring capital expenditures, Fargo, N.D., is currently
implementing a “floodway- style” Red River diversion. Although it has some
more complex details than our own floodway, the cost: US$3.2 Billion.
Bellamy, among others, has touted the benefits of active and mass
transportation. At the urging of special interest groups such as Bike
Winnipeg, politicians have dedicated millions of tax dollars to creating an
“active transportation” network — including bike paths — and are
considering expansion of the mass-transit system. The reality is these
solutions are not realistic for our climate and the busy North American
lifestyle of most families.
On the matter of bike paths for commuting, I have never heard a convincing
argument for this. Someone needs to stand up and say this will never work
for the vast majority of people. As it is, the existing system of bike
paths are largely unused, let alone considering expanding the system
further. While this is a feel-good story, it doesn’t make sense for us for
a variety of reasons.
Essentially, commuting by bike will work only for those who can shower when
they get to work, for people who don’t need a vehicle to make calls out of
the office on a given day, who can keep separate attire at work and don’t
have a busy family life.
If you need to use your vehicle for work, live in the suburbs or don’t have
facilities to shower/
change, this will never work. Furthermore, given our climate, this is
barely workable for four to five months of the year.
Finally, can someone please explain to me how someone with a bike picks up
their kids from daycare and gets them to sports/activities and then home
again on a bike?
Some will say improved mass transit is an answer. The existing system loses
a fortune every year, and the ongoing cost of providing frequent and
efficient mass transit to overcome climate and distance is unimaginable. As
a first step, we need to make the existing system safe.
Until we confront that issue, ridership will be limited to those who have
no choice or for whom the cost of commuting with a vehicle is prohibitive.
Also, building a mass-transit system forces the assumption of where
planners think people will want to go in 10, 20 or 30 years. That’s a tough
call. It’s a good thing we didn’t build mass transit out to Polo Park to
serve the Jets and Bombers.
Perhaps an alternative is to accept the fact that personal vehicles are and
likely will be the preferred form of transportation for the foreseeable
future. In the same manner, single-family homes are likely to remain the
preferred form of residence.
To try and reconcile these issues, could we perhaps embrace the move to
electric vehicles instead and accept the need for an improved traffic
In Norway, a country with a winter climate and a small population spread
over a wide area, the majority of vehicles sold are now electric. Manitoba
has the current and potential power resources to be self-sufficient in
energy as well as an even more significant exporter. Further development of
this resource would allow Manitobans to maintain our lifestyle and help
address climate change through export of clean electricity.
An expansive charging network would remove one of the main concerns of
potential vehicle owners and do so at a fraction of the cost of
Either way, an efficient transportation system based in reality is needed.
It’s unfortunate that we are where we are, though this is the cost of poor
decision making in the past.
It’s even more unfortunate the city’s finances are so messed up that we
absolutely can’t afford to take this project on, regardless of any benefit.
The city is broke, broke, broke.
But that’s another story.
*Ray Kohanik writes from Winnipeg.*
*Coalition urges pause on Kenaston, Chief Peguis projects*
THE City of Winnipeg should pause any new spending on two major road
projects expected to cost a combined $1 billion, until it determines if
they are worth their financial and environmental price, according to a
sustainable transportation advocate.
On Friday, the Transportation and Land Use Coalition urged city council to
avoid committing funds to widen Route 90 (Kenaston Boulevard) and extend
Chief Peguis Trail, aside from money needed to complete a cost-benefit
analysis and environmental assessment of each project.
“We just want to be sure that no money is spent in the upcoming budget
until that (analysis and environmental review) is received and assessed,”
said Mel Marginet, co-chair of the organization.
Marginet accused city council of rushing the approval process by listing
the two projects within its strategic priorities action plan, which is
expected to help guide the city’s 2024-27 multi-year budget.
The coalition fears the city could lose money on the projects and the
developments could undermine the municipal government’s efforts to combat
“It’s going to induce the continued reliance on personal vehicles within
our transportation system… The bike routes that are included as part of the
Kenaston project… are very inadequate and it’s unrealistic to expect that
the cycling trips that they will generate will in any way mitigate the
induced demand for personal vehicles,” said Marginet.
The group also claims the projects are unrealistic, since the federal
government already rejected at least one application to help fund the
The city confirmed the senior government declined a request to fund Route
90 improvements in 2017, though the design was different at the time.
The Chief Peguis Trail extension would extend from Main Street to Brookside
Boulevard, pending council approval and funding. The Kenaston proposal
would widen the boulevard to offer three lanes in each direction between
Ness and Taylor avenues, while adding transportation paths on both sides.
The city is now seeking public feedback on the latest Kenaston design.
That project has also drawn complaints from some area residents.
Carol Styles said she’s concerned about a lack of information on how the
city will assist folks whose homes are removed to create room for the
project and those who will be left to live next to a major construction
“What is the plan for the people that they’re expropriating and the people
they’re leaving behind? There’s… little talk about noise mitigation during
the construction, as well as afterwards,” said Styles.
While she agrees the road is in desperate need of repair, Styles said some
residents have been hesitant to make home improvements since they still
aren’t sure when the long-discussed widening project will happen.
“Having lived through the process for 15 years and three iterations of
these community engagement sessions, as they call them, (my concern) is
really about the process… People want to know (what’s happening). Make a
decision, let’s do it or not do it.”
When asked if the provincial government now expects to fund the two
projects, Manitoba Municipal Relations Minister Andrew Smith repeatedly
said: “Stay tuned.”
Winnipeg MP Dan Vandal, federal minister responsible for Prairies Economic
Development Canada, called both projects “very important,” but stressed
it’s up to the city to set its own infrastructure priorities.
Coun. John Orlikow said the city has conducted extensive consultation on
the Kenaston project, and is continuing to seek feedback. However, he
agreed it should commit to a clear plan forward soon.
“Unfortunately, there are some homes that need to be expropriated… but
these people have been living in limbo for the last 15 years… So, it really
is time to move this project forward, one way or another.”
Orlikow noted the Kenaston project would also improve a sometimes
“dangerous” St. James Bridge, crumbling roads and Transit access, while
sewer repairs incorporated into the road work would help reduce combined
“The value isn’t just (for) the road, it’s many, many layers,” he said.
joyanne.pursaga(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga
Hi AT folks – see below a link to the webinar recording of NCCEH Healthy Built Environment Webinar Series held on May 24, 2023:
Title: Rapid implementation of bikeways for healthy, safe, equitable and more sustainable communities
Presenters: Brian Patterson, Urban Systems; Matt Craig, TransLink
The recording of the presentation and slide deck are now available here<https://ncceh.ca/content/webinar-recording-rapid-implementation-bikeways-he…>
Kristine Hayward (she/her)
Physical Activity Promotion Coordinator
Population & Public Health
MB Health and Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
2nd floor - 490 Hargrave Street
Winnipeg, MB R3A 0X7
Bike racks are available in front of the building at the corner of Hargrave and McDermot.
Plan your Winnipeg Transit trip: http://winnipegtransit.com/en/navigo<https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://winnipegtransit.com/en/navigo__;!!IqQd2s…>
Metered street parking and pay lots in the area – please note designated loading zones and spots requiring a disability permit.
Disclaimer : This email (including any attachments or enclosed documents) is intended for the addressee(s) only and may contain privileged, proprietary or confidential information. Any unauthorized use, disclosure, distribution, copying or dissemination is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify the sender immediately, return the original (if applicable) and delete the email. Avis : Le présent courriel (y compris toute pièce jointe) est destiné à la personne ou aux personnes à qui il est adressé, et peut contenir des renseignements confidentiels, privés ou protégés par un privilège juridique. Toute utilisation, divulgation, distribution, copie ou diffusion non autorisée est strictement défendue. Si vous avez reçu le présent courriel par erreur, veuillez en informer immédiatement l’expéditeur, retourner l’original (le cas échéant) et supprimer ce courriel.
Need more congestion? Route 90 plan is the $500-M ticket
THE projected cost of the city’s plan to widen Route 90 is equivalent to a
6.9 per cent property tax increase for every Winnipeg homeowner. It will
take 30 years for Winnipeg taxpayers to pay off the new road, and in the
long run, traffic congestion will get worse.
The City of Winnipeg is currently asking for public feedback on a new
design for widening Kenaston Boulevard between Ness and Taylor avenues,
including related sewer upgrades and an expansion of the St. James Bridge.
The city is hoping that other levels of government will share the cost, but
Ottawa has already rejected applications twice before, in 2015 and 2018,
and the province’s Multi-Year Infrastructure Investment
Strategy makes no mention of the project. This likely leaves Winnipeg
taxpayers to foot the bill on their own.
The cost of widening Kenaston is typically reported to be $500 million, but
a 2019 city document, Unfunded
Major Capital Projects Detail, provides a more accurate picture of the
total costs. Using the $500 million construction value, it projects that
when borrowing and operating costs are included, the project will require
annual payments of $38.7 million, (6.9 per cent of the city’s operating
budget) amortized over 30 years.
This represents a true project cost of $1.2 billion, and is predicated on
construction values not increasing further, having already risen steadily
from $129 million in 2009, to $375 million in 2015 and $450 million in 2018.
The formula’s operating costs include projected increases in maintenance
required for the larger infrastructure. For 20 years, the city has
earmarked $100,000 annually for the maintenance of Kenaston Boulevard. The
state of the road is evidence of how woefully inadequate that number is,
but it’s also evidence of how strained our city’s finances are. The
application to the Building Canada Fund in 2015 revealed that additional
operating and maintenance costs for an enlarged roadway were projected to
be $1.9 million per year, a significant addition to the city’s already
stretched road-maintenance budgets.
The costs are staggering, but Kenaston is congested and many people believe
that needs to be addressed. This is the other bit of bad news found in the
city’s reports. The 2023 Route 90 Improvements Study indicates that even
after increasing road capacity, traffic congestion will eventually be
greater than it is today. The study projects that over several years,
driving times between Ness and Taylor will increase to 8.7 minutes in the
morning peak and 9.2 minutes in the evening peak, compared with eight
minutes and 7.2 minutes today, respectively. The study predicts that if we
don’t enlarge the road, those times will increase by several minutes, but
this might be challenged, because despite significant growth in south
Winnipeg, the number of cars travelling on Kenaston every day (measured at
the bridge) hasn’t increased since 1995. People find alternate routes.
The traffic study seems counterintuitive, but it reflects something many
cities have already learned. You can’t build your way out of congestion. A
bigger road always attracts more cars, eventually consuming any additional
This concept is known as “induced demand.” The increased capacity of bigger
roads will immediately reduce commuting times. To take advantage of the
higher capacity network, drivers divert from different routes, are less
strategic with the times they travel and are less likely to use public
transportation or carpooling. All of this increases the number of vehicles
on the new road. Greater convenience also results in more people willing to
commute longer distances, incentivizing suburban sprawl, increasing car
dependency and further increasing traffic volumes.
Almost invariably, within a few years of a road expansion, traffic
congestion begins to return and, as the Route 90 study demonstrates, may
get worse than it was before.
This large increase in the number of vehicles on Kenaston will also have
important impacts on surrounding neighbourhoods, pushing significantly more
traffic to adjacent feeder streets such as Academy Road and Corydon Avenue.
The design carves a vehicle canyon, lined with concrete acoustic walls,
through existing mature neighbourhoods. Large intersections will decrease
walkability and pedestrian safety, reducing connectivity between
neighbourhoods, and inhibiting any ability for the future development on
the former Kapyong Barracks land to integrate with surrounding communities.
It’s often suggested that enlarging Kenaston will generate economic growth
as a long-haul trucking route that opens new international trade
opportunities, but without a marked long-term improvement in congestion,
it’s unclear why a road through residential neighbourhoods would inspire
new trade and commerce.
Currently, only four per cent of vehicles on Kenaston are large trucks, and
the road’s role as a trade route was significantly diminished when the CN
Intermodal Terminal moved to Symington Yards, replaced by the outlet mall.
Provincial investments in CentrePort Canada Way and the Perimeter Highway
are more appropriate catalysts to this growth.
With all of Winnipeg’s post-pandemic challenges, widening a single road may
not be the best way to spend such a staggering amount of money. There are
so many more impactful quality-of-life improvements that could be made. We
could invest in the tree canopy, neighbourhood parks and community centres.
For that same money, we could build 7,000 new affordable homes as an
impactful way to address homelessness and poverty. Winnipeg’s full 25-year
rapid transit plan connecting the entire city — an investment that might
actually reduce congestion — could be built for the same projected cost. We
could even just fix the pothole-blighted roads we already have.
As we evaluate widening Kenaston, we should remember that we are not making
a choice just for ourselves. Our children and grandchildren will be paying
for it as well, and we should ask ourselves if they will believe we spent
their money wisely.
*Brent Bellamy is senior design architect for Number Ten Architectural
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-stellantis-ev-b… government is enchanted – obsessed even – with the idea of building batteries for electric vehicles on home soil. Already, Volkswagen is soaking up about $14-billion in public subsidies to build a battery factory in Southwestern Ontario, and Stellantis, owner of Jeep and Fiat, and LG Energy Solution are demanding equal treatment for their joint venture.The mission to make Canada (well, Ontario) part of the global EV supply chain was inevitable and, from a purely industrial point of view, makes some sense, even though the per-employee job creation bill may emerge as the most expensive in Canadian history.But on so many other levels, the decision to lunge into the EV supply chain lies somewhere between irresponsible and crazed; it locks us into an ever-expanding car culture for generations when we should be downgrading the car as a transportation tool, as some European cities are doing. EVs, and hybrid cars to a lesser extent, enjoy a global image that is entirely unjustified. The pitch – buy an EV and save the planet – is just nonsense.Never mind that EVs are still cars that need to be parked. Their presence will still disfigure cities, pushing politicians and developers to build new parking lots, roads and highways to gratify the endless swarms of drivers (see Ontario’s proposed Highway 413, an assault on the wetlands, waterways and farmland in Southern Ontario’s Greenbelt).And never mind that EVs are hardly “clean,” even if they have no tailpipe emissions. The EV supply chain is notoriously ugly and carbon-intensive. Yes, EVs can make urban air more breathable, but at what cost to the greater environment?Cleaner air in cities does not mean climate change will slow down. The EV revolution could even accelerate global warming as forests in sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia and elsewhere are razed to make way for the mines and smelters that produce the nickel, copper, cobalt and lithium required to build EV batteries. The Washington Post recently reported that the high-pressure, acid-based nickel-leaching process used in Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of the metal, generates 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of nickel. After a slow burn, there is no doubt that EVs will sound the death knell for diesel- and gasoline-powered cars. European Union law requires all new cars to have zero carbon emissions from 2035. In the United States, President Joe Biden wants the Environmental Protection Agency to tighten car-emission standards to the point that two-thirds of new cars and light trucks will have to be electric by 2032. Canada is considering an even more aggressive zero-emissions mandate, backed by the lavish investments in battery production.The debate virtually worldwide is the speed at which governments should banish internal-combustion engines; it is rarely about the need to banish cars regardless of what power source they use. EV production could actually increase the number of cars on the road, since families will probably buy them initially as second cars – urban runabouts – while they keep their longer-range fossil-fuel cars for as many years as possible.As EV use soars, so will the demands on regional and national power systems. Already, there are fears that plugging in millions of cars at night could blow grids in areas where there is barely enough electricity to meet peak demand. Last September, California asked residents to avoid charging EVs during a brutal heat wave, when all the juice was needed to keep the lights and air conditioning on. As the planet heats up, so will the battle to find enough power to keep EVs charged up and homes running.More power plants will have to be built and, in many countries – perhaps most – that means building coal and natural-gas plants. The International Energy Agency says that about two-thirds of global energy comes from fossil fuels and that ratio is unlikely to change much any time soon, since nuclear plants are costly and renewable energy is unreliable and rolling out slowly, if steadily.It may make sense to plug in an EV in Ontario or Quebec, where zero-emissions energy is the dominant power; it makes little sense to plug in an EV in Alberta, where almost 90 per cent of the electricity is generated by fossil fuels. EV owners in Alberta are merely transferring emissions from the tailpipe to the smokestack.In some enlightened cities, the debate is not whether EVs are a net benefit but whether cars of any size, shape or power source are. In Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo doesn’t want her streets cluttered with fossil-fuel or battery-powered cars. The city has banned heavily polluting diesel cars, added bike lanes to most of the streets in the centre, eliminated most cars from a few main roads like the Rue de Rivoli and is expanding the metro network. The result is that car trips in Paris have fallen by almost half since 1990, according to a study by Les Cahiers Scientifiques du Transport.Which brings us to Canada. If there is one project that would create thousands of jobs, improve business productivity, clean up the air, reduce the output of greenhouse gases and cut the demand for endless highway construction, it would be high-speed electric rail between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, where population densities are high enough to make the project sensible. Cost estimates are all over the map. The University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy put the price tag at about $12-billion, which is $2-billion less than the bucks being thrown at the Volkswagen battery plant alone. But forget it – the Canadian government wants more cars, not fewer. Canadian cities will remain car sewers forever.Sent from my phone.
*City hears calls for active transportation*
Despite some opposition, Brandon residents showed overwhelming support for
active transportation and community growth during Thursday evening’s city
More than 70 residents filled the Brandon Curling Club’s upper lounge at
the Keystone Centre for the first city plan event since March, when a
confrontation between attendees and city staff at a previous session led to
the temporary cancellation of consultations for the project.
A group of citizens confronted staff and accused them of trying to
implement elements of a conspiracy theory surrounding 15-minute cities.
The concept of 15-minute cities proposes communities be designed in a way
that allows residents to access all necessary amenities and services in 15
minutes or less of travel time. The conspiracy theory alleges a plan to
assign people to zones within their community they’re not allowed to leave.
The first member of the public to speak was Rick Macl, part of the group
that confronted city staff in March.
He criticized the city for pursuing growth and trying to attract new
residents without working harder to reduce the cost of living. He said
originally coming from Winnipeg, the property taxes in Brandon were
“insane” and decried upcoming increases to Brandon’s water utility rates.
Macl brought up 15-minute cities while speaking, saying they aren’t a
conspiracy theory and the city’s actions show it is pursuing that goal.
While kicking off the meeting, Brandon’s director of planning and
buildings, Ryan Nickel, said when the process to design a new city plan
started, thought was given to how to generate engagement from the public.
Nickel thanked those attending for their time and consideration, and said
he hoped people had come because of a variety of interests and opinions. He
said he hoped the event would be a safe environment for everyone to address
“We want to acknowledge that we had a pause,” Nickel said. “We know there
was a lot of passion.”
After an introduction to the concept of a city plan and how it’s made, city
planner Sonikile Tembo and Nickel gave a series of short presentations on
elements of the plan broken up by opportunities for attendees to ask
On top of the prudence of planning for the city’s future, Tembo said
Brandon is required by the province to complete plans like this every so
Nickel said in recent years around 74 per cent of Brandon’s growth has come
from “emerging” areas in the southwest and the North Hill, with 26 per cent
coming in more established neighbourhoods.
One challenge to industrial growth, Nickel said, is while Brandon plenty of
industrial land, only some of it is fully serviced with utilities and
infrastructure. During consultations, the city has heard residents ask for
a greater variety of housing and a bigger emphasis on mixed-use zoning to
allow services to operate near residential areas.
While the city has identified a desire for more active transportation
routes around town like bike paths, Macl questioned the value of doing so
given how many people drive to work and the number of months where biking
is inaccessible due to winter weather.
He said he’d like to see members of Brandon City Council walk to work every
day and see how that suits them.
Addressing some of those concerns about active transportation, Nickel said
it’s not about restricting vehicles, it’s about providing safe options for
people who are travelling on foot, by bike or other methods of movement.
“It’s about taking the space we already have and using the space a little
bit differently,” Nickel said.
In response, Macl argued against the potential cost of maintaining more
bike paths and said he hasn’t heard any safety concerns from pedestrians or
Brandon Police Service Chief Wayne Balcaen, sitting on the panel of city
representatives, said there are several motor-vehicle collisions and
bicycle accidents every year and it is the city’s goal to prevent them.
Macl challenged Balcaen to say how many fatalities he’s seen over his
30-year career, to which a fellow member of the public said: “One is too
Cycling advocate Grant Hamilton, who lost a finger and suffered a
permanently separated shoulder last year when he was struck by a car while
riding his bike, said it is “absolutely wild to hear that people like me
He said he didn’t speak up to complain about himself, but to say he doesn’t
want any motorists to feel the guilt the person who hit him did. That, he
said, is why Brandon should pursue safety for all road users.
Another resident said that while she doesn’t intend to get rid of her
vehicle, she appreciated road safety issues being looked at so she and
other people can more easily choose to walk if they want to. She pointed
out that by making more accessible walking and cycling infrastructure, it
will also make it simpler for people using scooters or other mobility aids
to get around.
Multiple people spoke about how they either bike during the winter or would
if the city had the proper infrastructure in place.
While speaking about movement, Nickel acknowledged that residents have made
it clear they’re unhappy about the current state of Brandon Transit and
said city council has identified improving the service as a priority.
The city’s community housing and wellness co-ordinator, Shannon Saltarelli,
said in working with the city’s most vulnerable population, she’s found how
important active transportation options are for them.
More information on future city plan events and the feedback generated by
the public can be found online at brandon.ca/cityplan.
» Twitter: @ColinSlark
Peg City puts faith, new fleet into free-floating service
IT’S a new era of car sharing in Winnipeg — one without city parking fees,
advanced bookings and precise dropoff locations.
Peg City Car Co-op’s free-floating car-share program, nicknamed Flo, will
launch June 7.
“I really feel the wind is behind our backs,” Philip Mikulec, Peg City
chief executive officer, said Wednesday, standing near one of 35 Toyota
Corollas set to join the program.
The vehicles won’t have a permanent home. Instead, they’ll stay in
prescribed zones when not being used, untouched by City of Winnipeg time
limits and, for the user, street parking fees.
It is “more flexible, but it’s more last-minute” than Peg City’s typical
structure, Mikulec said.
Currently, Peg City vehicles must be booked for at least one hour and
returned to the same spot from where they were picked up. The round-trip
program — now nicknamed Fix — will continue alongside Flo.
“The two will complement one another,” Mikulec said.
Free-floating vehicles must be booked within a half-hour of use. Available
cars will appear on a map, real-time, on Peg City’s app for users to book.
Members can drive those vehicles without a predefined end, and they don’t
have to return the Corollas to the trip’s starting location. However, the
car must be parked in one of 12 designated zones throughout the city.
When Jared Kozak exits his home base of Osborne Village in a Flo car, he
can leave it in a designated zone in River Heights, Crescentwood, Corydon,
Riverview, Lord Roberts, Norwood, St. Boniface, West Broadway, Wolseley,
St. Matthews or the West End — or back in River-Osborne.
“(This will) revolutionize the way that we do last minute bookings,” said
Kozak, a Peg City member.
The cars, which are decorated with Flo labels, can disregard city time
limits and parking fees in designated zones highlighted on Peg City’s app.
“It’s, like, brilliant,” said Coun. Janice Lukes, who also serves as deputy
City council unanimously approved a bylaw change allowing for free parking
of the co-op cars in the 12 zones.
It follows a pilot project in which certain parking spaces were reserved
for car-sharing vehicles. Five spots became permanently reserved for car
shares in early 2022.
Lukes couldn’t say Wednesday how much street parking revenue the city will
lose because of the zones. Peg City Car Co-op will spend $875 annually on
Flo car parking permits ($25 per vehicle).
For Lukes, the program’s gains outweigh the money lost. “It’s doing far
more than revenue generation,” she said. “It reduces the wear and tear on
our streets, it reduces the greenhouse gases, it’s good for the
Cars are expensive, and this is an alternate form of transport, Lukes added.
“It’s… really cheap,” agreed Zephyra Vun.
She sold her vehicle in 2019, and got a Peg City membership. She pays $4.50
monthly for a casual spot. A regular membership (with cheaper vehicle
rental rates per hour) requires a $500 refundable share.
Members are set to pay 35 cents per minute while using Flo vehicles. The
price caps at $10/hr and $50/day, with subsequent days costing $40. For a
casual user such as Vun, the daily rate is $56.
There are nine Flo drop-off spots in clusters of three downtown and in the
Exchange District. The cars can also be taken out of province.
“The cars are communicating with us,” Mikulec said. “If there’s something
going wrong, and the vehicle has been suspiciously out of the zone for a
long time and stationary, it’s going to alert us.”
Members will be asked to leave the keys in the vehicle after ending a trip
in a designated zone. Once alone, the vehicle automatically locks itself
If it’s in a Flo zone, it will reappear as available on Peg City’s map,
The company has attracted more than 3,000 members since its 2011 launch.
Communauto, Canada’s largest car-sharing business and a Peg City partner,
assisted the local co-op in launching its app last month.
“I’m sure (free-floating cars) will be a big boost in membership and usage
(for Peg City),” said Marco Viviani, Communauto vice-president for
A similar program has been in Montreal for 10 years. Since then, the
flexible model has spread to Quebec City, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and
Hamilton, Ont., Viviani said.
In Montreal, usage of the flexible model nearly matches usage of the
station- based model Peg City Car Co-op is known for, he added.
One car-sharing vehicle takes up to 15 privately-owned cars off the road,
according to Peg City Car Co-op. Three-quarters of its members bus or take
active transport to work.
Lukes (Waverley West) said she wants to see the new program model expand:
“I just think that we need to have these (zones) all throughout the city.”
Meantime, Peg City Car Co-op also launched a new logo Wednesday, a green
circle with white lettering. It will hold its annual general meeting May 31.
It has a fleet of more than 130 vehicles.
* A tale of two roadway plans *
CONSIDERING the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and motor
vehicle use, it is instructive to compare two approaches to urban planning
in Winnipeg: one along Route 90 between Ness and Taylor avenues and the
other in Osborne Village.
The former is a plan to widen a busy roadway, a move that will ultimately
attract more vehicles and, in all likelihood, fail to achieve its primary
goal of reducing traffic congestion. The latter is an attempt to discourage
motor vehicle use by prioritizing pedestrian traffic, public transit and
The City of Winnipeg is planning to spend some $500 million to widen Route
90 and separate combined sewers along the roadway. The plan includes
upgrades to the St. James bridges and would add new, dedicated walking and
The main objective of the mega project is to improve traffic flow for motor
vehicles. To achieve that, the city plans to add a lane northbound and
southbound and standardize the speed limit at 60 km/h (it currently varies
between 50 km/h and 70 km/h).
Proponents of the plan argue widening the roadway is necessary to reduce
traffic congestion and to prevent it from getting worse as Winnipeg’s
Without the added lanes, commute times along Route 90 for northbound
vehicles during morning rush-hour would nearly double over the next 18
years to about 14 minutes, the city projects. Southbound commutes would
increase from around eight minutes to 11 minutes during afternoon peak
periods. The added lanes would keep both commute times at about seven to
What the city’s analysis does not address, however, is that adding more
lanes will induce demand for vehicle traffic and create more gridlock over
time. What urban centres all over the world have discovered is that
building larger, wider roads only serves to attract more vehicles, and does
not actually solve the problem of traffic congestion.
The analysis also fails to consider how alternative options — including a
vastly improved public transit system, enhanced active transportation and
the use of other strategies to reduce the use of single-occupancy vehicles
(such as more ride sharing) — could reduce traffic congestion and eliminate
the need for wider roads.
Meanwhile, a few kilometres to the east, Osborne Village is looking to
create a more livable neighbourhood by actively discouraging motor vehicle
use. Instead of seeking ways to accommodate more vehicles, the Osborne
Village BIZ’s “Blueprint for a Vibrant and Healthy Neighbourhood” is
proposing less space for cars and trucks and more room and flexibility for
pedestrians and cyclists.
It is a unique and forward-looking approach. The plan proposes to narrow
each of Osborne’s four traffic lanes within the village from 3.25 metres to
three metres to allow for wider sidewalks. It also proposes to lower the
speed limit and bring in a “pedestrian scramble” at the corner of Osborne
and River Avenue, where all vehicles would temporarily stop to allow
pedestrians to cross in all directions at the same time. It would be the
first such pedestrian crossing in Winnipeg.
By favouring pedestrians and cyclists over motorists, the Osborne Village
proposal seeks to achieve the opposite of what the Route 90 plan would
likely bring: more single passenger, carbon- emitting vehicles to the area
and ultimately, more traffic gridlock.
Perhaps it’s time to reimagine how the Route 90 corridor could look with
less emphasis on motor vehicles and a greater focus on alternative forms of
City's 'strategic misrepresentation' overstates benefits, understates
costs, Ken Klassen says
As Winnipeg considers whether to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on
two of the most expensive road construction projects in its history, one
expert says the city's own data shows the projects aren't worth the cost.
Ken Klassen is an engineering technologist with four decades of experience
advising companies on ways to improve sustainability.
He gave a presentation to city council's executive policy committee in
March, urging them not to go ahead with plans to widen Kenaston Boulevard
and extend Chief Peguis Trail.
Using reports produced by the city, including some obtained through freedom
of information requests, Klassen argued the costs far outweigh any
"Part of the strategic misrepresentation that the city has consistently
done with this project [is] they've overstated the benefits [and] they've
understated the impacts on the community," Klassen said in an interview.
Earlier this month, the city released its preliminary designs for upgrading
the Route 90 corridor between Taylor Avenue and Ness Avenue, including
adding two new lanes to Kenaston Boulevard.
That report states more than two-thirds of the cost of that project is
needed for necessary upgrades to the road, sewers and St. James Bridge.
Past cost-benefit study
The city estimates the Kenaston Boulevard project will cost about $500
million, and the 2023 budget includes $2.8 million for preliminary
planning, including conducting business case studies of the Kenaston and
Chief Peguis Trail projects.
Klassen, who lives on a street near Kenaston Boulevard, said the city
already did that study a decade ago.
A 2012 report prepared by MMM Group Ltd. estimated widening Kenaston would
generate $125 million in revenue for the city over 20 years — $6.25 million
The city's unfunded major capital projects report from 2019 estimates the
Route 90 project will cost the city $38.7 million per year, with financing
and maintenance costs factored in.
The cost of the proposed Chief Peguis Trail extension is also pegged at
about $500 million.
Klassen said considering those costs, the two projects are "the equivalent
of a 14 per cent increase in your property tax every year for the next 30
In an emailed statement, Mayor Scott Gillingham said the city would conduct
a new cost-benefit analysis using current data before applying for federal
and provincial funding.
"But this isn't simply about widening a road. It's about removing a
bottleneck on one of our most important trade routes," Gillingham wrote.
"Kenaston is six lanes wide immediately north and south of this section.
The bottleneck creates congestion and causes some drivers to cut through
other streets in River Heights."
Feds rejected project twice
Klassen also cast doubt on the possibility of the city getting federal and
provincial support for the project.
He points out that the federal government has rejected it twice already
— once in 2015 under the Building Canada Fund and again in 2018 under the
National Trade Corridors Fund.
Other Canadian cities have dedicated massive amounts of money to building
their rapid transit networks with the help of federal funding, Klassen said.
"The federal government is not funding urban freeways, they're funding
rapid transit," he said.
"Winnipeg taxpayers are literally seeing their federal tax dollars being
used to fund rapid transit in other cities, and we're not at the table."
Gillingham points out the Kenaston plans also include new active
transportation paths and upgrades to transit stops, allowing for
articulated buses to be used along the route.
"Outside of this project, we will continue to implement [the] transit
master plan and make further enhancements to pedestrian and cycling
infrastructure," he wrote.
Rather than building wider and longer roads as a way of dealing with
congestion, Klassen said Winnipeg should focus on expanding its rapid
transit network, which carries an additional benefit.
The largest bus manufacturer in North America, New Flyer, is based in the
city. As Winnipeg moves to electrify its bus fleet, it can take advantage
of Manitoba's abundance of cheap electricity.
"We don't build cars like Ontario does. We build buses," Klassen said. "We
don't drill for oil and gas the way Saskatchewan and Alberta do. We have
hydroelectricity. Yet we're not leveraging our inherent resources. It's
* City fails to look to the future *
MOST Winnipeggers won’t know that on April 18, with the release of the
agenda for our five city community committee meetings, they were notified
of a chance to comment on the new city strategic plan or Strategic
Priorities Action Plan (SPAP), a new guiding document for Winnipeg.
Unless you make it your business to know, you would be oblivious, because
you had only two days to register by April 21 for the public meeting April
24-26. We have all been jammed by scheduling games like this, where someone
doesn’t give the time needed to meet or complete a job. There are terms for
this type of action in workplaces — weaponization of procedures,
administrative harassment, or social bullying. What do you call it when
governments routinely do it to citizens?
Governance procedures are often used to exclude, while creating the optics
of inclusion with no meaningful engagement and participation. Our city
governance routinely makes public meetings a charade, merely a token
gesture or formality.
The recent community committee meetings of city council, discussing
something as important as a strategic plan, were an example, even before
disrespectful councillor comments.
Policy and procedure are connected. We need an inclusive, participatory
process to get good evidence-based public policy, including evidence from
lived experience. This was the main point of my presentation at the
community committee that caused Coun. Jeff Browaty to confuse unsustainable
privilege to drive SUVs around drive thrus with civil rights.
Real democracy is required for real progress to address the climate and
inequity crisis we face. Cities must become climate smart by design,
through good urban planning, and connecting collaborative public
engagement, research evidence, budgets, and public policy.
But there was not just a problem with undemocratic procedure related to
what happened at the community committee, but with the SPAP itself. A
strategic plan is mandated by and flows from the requirements of Our
Winnipeg, the governing document approved by council to guide city planning
and development. This plan to implement Our Winnipeg should not be pet
projects cobbled together by councillors and called a strategic action plan
— pet projects like Chief Peguis Trail incompatible with guiding policy.
The Our Winnipeg document and dozens of related policy documents call for
complete communities, where people can access services and resources close
to home and for mode shift. Meaning to meet our climate obligations we must
reduce our personal vehicle-reliant mode share from 80 per cent to 50 per
cent, by 2030. To do this, we must reduce the gasoline purchased and burned
by 50 per cent, which requires the city to make transit, car-pooling,
biking, and walking viable and convenient. Electric vehicles will help, but
electric vehicles don’t address traffic congestion. This mode shift is
impossible in a city designed for car reliance, like Winnipeg.
A strategic plan which prioritizes the extension of the Chief Peguis Trail
expressway and other street widening megaprojects like Kenaston is not
aligned with Our Winnipeg and other policies. This infrastructure expansion
makes it impossible for us to meet our transportation climate emission
goals and responsibilities. Borrowing billions of dollars for vehicle
infrastructure we can’t afford just can’t happen.
We can’t knowingly continue to design the city for cars, inequity, climate
chaos and catastrophe. On May 30, council must not approve the SPAP.
After I made these points as a member of the Transportation and Land Use
Coalition (TLUC), Coun. Browaty, the finance chair, made shocking comments,
implying he, and the constituents he represents, do not support the climate
plan, that his constituents wanted to drive their SUVs around drive-thrus
to get coffee.
Did he violate his councillor code of conduct not just with climate change
denying comments but in support of the SPAP? Section 10 of the Code
indicates council members will “adhere to all by-laws, policies and
procedures adopted by council.”
If the integrity commissioner investigated, would they find elected
officials not following public policy, particularly those who consider it
irrelevant to support policy for addressing climate change?
This is important because Coun. Browaty leads city budget development. The
mayor, who appointed him finance chair, was quoted saying he did not see
anything wrong with Coun. Browaty’s comments.
We must stop this disregard for public policy and groups that, acting in
the public interest, follow public policy development at city hall. These
citizen groups take time to review the documents, prepare, sign up, and
speak up, urging those elected to live up to their mandate to create a
healthy city for all.
There are special interest groups who benefit handsomely from the
unsustainable way Winnipeg has been developed and governed for decades.
They presented to council meetings in support of the billion-dollar Chief
Peguis Trail Highway extension. The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
spokesperson made some outlandish comments of his own, claiming the Chief
Peguis Trail extension would help meet our climate goals by reducing
Wow! Who is relevant? Who is speaking for public interests? Which
councillors are going to stand for climate-relevant policy?
*Marianne Cerilli is a former MLA and mayoral candidate.*