City seeks cyclist feedback for new greenway

Public forum on Sept. 15 to discuss connecting Wolseley and West Alexander

The city will hold a forum this Friday to discuss a planned pedestrian and cycling infrastructure project that would connect Wolseley and West Alexander.

The proposed project would be a neighbourhood greenway, which is a low-traffic volume street where vehicle speeds are kept low to ensure pedestrian and cyclist safety through traffic-calming measures. These measures can include signage, bike signals, pavement markings or speed humps.

This neighbourhood greenway would run along Ruby Street, starting where the street intersects Palmerson Avenue, which is just before the Assiniboine riverbank in Wolseley, and head north along the street up to Portage Avenue, connecting Ruby Street (south of Portage) to Banning Street (north of Portage). The neighbourhood greenway would continue along Banning up to Notre Dame Avenue.

“It’s very exciting,” Cindy Gilroy, city councillor for Daniel McIntyre, says. She notes that the proposed greenway would connect Wolseley to a major hub that includes a University of Manitoba campus near the Health Sciences Centre. Also, she says, a number of schools will be connected to the neighbourhood greenway, including École Laura Secord School, General Wolfe School, Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute and Greenway School.

“We can really start looking at encouraging active transportation as a means of getting to and from school for a younger generation,” Gilroy says.

Jason Pinkney is a downtown resident and commuter cyclist who moved to Winnipeg from Ottawa three years ago. There were jarring differences between bike infrastructure in the two cities, he says.

“In Ottawa, they have a network of bike paths, where you can go from one end of the city to the other,” he says. “When I got here, it seems like a very disjointed network.”

Pinkney regularly cycles down Portage Avenue and practices defensive manoeuvres to avoid traffic mishaps and get to places quickly. He says Winnipeg’s local conditions made him appreciate why some people want bike paths separated from traffic.

He says you should not have to be a fanatic like himself to bike in Winnipeg, and infrastructure options that make casual and less-experienced cyclists feel safe are important.

The planned neighbourhood greenway will not involve separated cycle paths, according to the City of Winnipeg’s project webpage.

Pinkney is particularly concerned about whether bike commuters going north from Wolseley to West Alexander will end up stranded in a heavy-traffic, bike-unfriendly area.

Gilroy stresses that there will be offshoots of the neighbourhood greenway going onto Wellington Avenue and Arlington Street, but she says the details of the project are not fully hammered out.

“These are things that we want to go to the public on. We want to make sure that the public’s comfortable. We’re hoping to get the cycling community out to this event, so we can get their thoughts,” she says.

The forum will be held Sept. 15 from 3-7 p.m at Greenway School (390 Burnell St.).

Published in Volume 72, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 14, 2017)

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