Survey says, make city more bike-friendly
SWEEPING the streets in fall, painting roads with bike lanes and increasing public awareness of infrastructure developments to roads and bike lanes were among a list of recommendations Wednesday from CAA Manitoba, about a month and a half before October’s civic election.
The recommendations stem from the concerns respondents found most pressing in a June survey conducted by Probe Research.
In that poll, which surveyed 600 Winnipeg adults regarding cycling and driving issues, 59 per cent of respondents said road maintenance is poor and 36 per cent said lane-painting and signage needed improvement. Only three per cent said the city was doing a “very good job” maintaining road surfaces for vehicles, while only eight per cent were satisfied with lane paint and signage.
“That’s not news to us,” said Liz Kulyk, CAA Manitoba’s corporate manager of government and community relations at a media event near the soonto- be-complete protected bike lane at the intersection of Ferry Road and St. Matthews Avenue. She said the poll results and recommendations are things “anybody who’s elected to city hall in October should be looking at.”
Kulyk said the 2015 cancellation of the fall street sweep program has led to an accumulation of material along city curbs, creating a dangerous situation for cyclists and forcing them further into traffic. She also said such accumulation leads to pavement degradation. Reinstating that program would create a better situation for both cyclists and vehicles, she said. The organizations also suggested starting spring sweeping earlier.
Regarding signage and road demarcations, the organizations recommend putting roads with bike lanes first when it comes time to repaint, painting directional arrows on all painted bike lanes, using more high-visibility green paint at high-volume intersections, more consistency in “drivers yield to cyclists” signs and adding an option for citizens to request road painting through the 311 app.
Bike Winnipeg executive director Mark Cohoe said addressing safety concerns revealed in the survey means creating roads with protected bike lanes in mind.
“We really want to see this city as a world-class city in terms of biking,” Cohoe said. In June, an Angus Reid poll found more than three-quarters of Winnipeggers thought separated bike lanes were a “good idea.”
Other recommendations included a review of the past 10 years of snow-clearing budgets, revising next year’s budget accordingly and creating a reserve of funds set aside as a buffer for heavy snow years.
One element present through all recommendations was an emphasis on regular, targeted education campaigns, as well as significant social-media presence in order to ensure the public is aware of proper road etiquette and that people share the road in a safe way. Cohoe and Kulyk also stressed the merit of consulting the public on infrastructure rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Kulyk said the list of recommendations has been shared with the city and will be sharedwith all candidates in the upcoming election.
She said the organizations didn’t calculate how much implementing the recommendations would cost, although she acknowledged it would be an expensive, yet worthwhile, endeavour.