*Critical link between Wolseley and Exchange District applauded*
* Rolling ahead with bike lanes near HSC *
A$1. 3-MILLION upgrade to rebuild the road surface, curbs and sidewalks on a five-block stretch of Mc Dermot Avenue through the Health Sciences Centre campus begins next week.
The project includes construction of what an official said will become a pivotal piece of the city’s permanent protected bike-lane network: a threemetre- wide, two-way, permanent bike lane on the south side of Mc Dermot, from Arlington Street to Furby Street.
The permanent bike lane will eventually be the connecting link between permanent protected lanes that lead into the Exchange District and from Wolseley, said Scott Suderman, the city’s transportation facilities planning engineer. “In the greater context of the network, it’s considered a critical piece,” Suderman said of the 880 metres of protected bike lane being constructed within the Mc Dermot project.
To provide adequate space for the bike lane, Mc Dermot between Arlington and Sherbrook streets will be converted into a one-way, eastbound street. The portion of Mc Dermot from Sherbrook to Fort Street has long been a one-way eastbound street.
Suderman said the HSC bike lane will be built using the city’s traditional method of permanent, poured-in-place concrete curbs separating cyclists from vehicles.
Work on the project is expected to be completed in two months.
Complete details on the project can be found on the City of Winnipeg’s website, wfp.to/alexander.
A spokesman for the city’s cycling community said he’s excited by the latest addition to Winnipeg’s protected bike network but is concerned about the city’s piecemeal approach.
Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg, said he understands city hall’s long-term vision for the protected bike network and how the HSC/ Mc Dermot portion fits in, but he remains hopeful the city will follow the example of other communities and move faster.
The gaps between the protected sections of the bike network dissuade riders from taking advantage of it, he said.
“Painted lanes just don’t do it. We know there is a huge pent-up demand for this. When we put in protected bike lanes on Assiniboine, we saw a 225 per cent increase (in ridership),” Cohoe said.
The HSC/Mc Dermot permanent bike lane will connect to the existing painted bike lanes on Mc Dermot and Bannatyne avenues east of Furby that go all the way to Waterfront Drive.
The city is currently conducting a public engagement and engineering study to upgrade those sections to a permanent status.
“We’ve been studying that for quite a few months now. We’ve been meeting with the public, the businesses and owners along the route to work out a plan,” Suderman said.
It’s possible portable, adjustable curbs— which were installed this week as part of a nine-month pilot project on short stretches of Sherbrook and on Bannatyne in the Exchange — could be chosen as the building material for the Furby-Waterfront upgrade, making that project more affordable and getting the work done quicker, he said.
Other portions of the network that will eventually link to the HSC stretch include:
● A permanent protected bike lane along Arlington, from Selkirk Avenue to Mc Dermot, as part of the Arlington Bridge replacement project.
● A construction of a greenway along Ruby and Banning streets connecting to Wellington Avenue to Arlington and on to Mc Dermot.
Included in the HSC/Mc Dermot project are plans to connect Sherbrook from Cumberland Avenue to Mc-Dermot.
But Suderman said it’s not certain that work will be completed before winter.