Design unveiled for Osborne Village bike route

THE City of Winnipeg has unveiled the final design for a key cycling route.

In June, the city will begin building protected bike lanes on River and Stradbrook avenues (from Harkness Avenue to Wellington Crescent), and Wellington Crescent (between River and Stradbrook), as part of a larger road renewal project.

A cycling advocate says the link will add a key connection to the city’s bike route network and help many people commute.

“We’re really happy to see this moving through. We think it’s a big part of the city network moving forward and it’s something that we feel is going to get used right from the start,” said Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg.

Cohoe noted the route could help cyclists from parts of St. Vital and Fort Garry head downtown and will serve riders in densely populated Osborne Village.

The city’s website says the project will make travel for cyclists safer and more convenient by using a raised curb to separate bikes from vehicles.

“It’s definitely a safety improvement. Right now, if you look at both Stradbrook and River, it’s mixed traffic. So, if you’re riding your bike on those roadways, you’re mixing in with vehicles and parked cars. You’re more likely to get into a collision in that kind of situation,” said Cohoe. “Mixed traffic with parking on roads like River and Stradbrook with the heavier volumes of traffic is the thing that people find the least friendly to ride on. It’s the thing they fear most.”

The plan includes “two-stage” leftturn areas where space outside of bike and traffic lanes allows cyclists room to stop outside of the flow of traffic and wait for a safe moment to turn.

The new safety features are meant to help ensure riders of all ages and abilities can travel safely, said Chris Baker, the city’s active transportation co-ordinator.

“This protected bike lane will separate those on bikes from those in a car by a concrete curb.

This really increases the comfort of cycling there. What that does is attract riders who might not be comfortable riding in a different condition, riding on a painted bike lane or riding in mixed traffic,” said Baker.

This particular route is a priority in Winnipeg’s pedestrian and cycling strategy and should help the city meet a few different goals, he said.

“Creating a safe and comfortable and high-quality cycling network is critical to encourage more people to use… this mode of transportation. Getting more people on their bikes can reduce traffic congestion (and) it helps the city meet its climate change goals,” he said.

The city does not yet know the cost of the project since it’s part of larger road renewal contracts that are still open for companies to bid on.

Nearly all of the bike route will be protected from traffic, except for a short, narrower segment of River Avenue west of Harkness Avenue, Baker said. At that spot, the city proposes to eventually reduce the vehicle speed limit to 30 km/h and possibly add traffic- calming devices.

The routes will also be made safer for pedestrians, Baker said.

“This (project) has some major pedestrian improvements… (including) five new crosswalks that will be upgraded to (a) flashing beacon (to be more visible),” he said.

A survey on the final design has been posted on the city’s website (engage.

Construction on the protected bike lanes is expected to wrap up in October. Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga