Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Area's hazard won't change soon

Safer path at site of tragedy years away

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A cyclist rides at Bishop Grandin Boulevard and Pembina Highway Thursday afternoon.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

A cyclist rides at Bishop Grandin Boulevard and Pembina Highway Thursday afternoon. Photo Store

It's one of the most intimidating stretches for cyclists, and it could be a decade or more before any significant bike infrastructure is built there.

Pembina Highway and Bishop Grandin, where a Winnipeg Blue Bomber fan was killed while cycling to Monday night's exhibition game, is about to be bracketed by a buffered bike path local cyclists love. The Pembina bike lane north of Bishop Grandin was built last summer, and crews are working now on a short stretch south of the eight-lane overpass.

But the overpass itself is widely seen as among the worst spots for cyclists, thanks largely to many merge lanes, several driveways and the sheer speed and volume of cars.

But a truly separated bike path next to the proposed bus rapid transit line along the nearby Letellier rail line is still at least six years away from completion, assuming federal infrastructure cash can be secured for the southwest rapid transit corridor that city council debates endlessly.

And the construction of a buffered bike lane along the full length of Pembina Highway is part of the city's draft cycling master plan. But that's a 20-year project, and city transportation staff could offer no word Thursday when capital funding might be available or where Pembina Highway might fall on the spending priority list.

The active transportation master plan goes to council for approval later this year.

To avoid the Bishop Grandin-Pembina intersection and get to the University of Manitoba, the city recommends a bike detour east along Plaza Drive and following the Red River through the back campus. But that route is not well-known to cyclists.

The intersection is under the cycling spotlight, but Bike Winnipeg's Mark Cohoe says there are many others in the city that are no-go areas for many bikers. Those include Main Street at the Higgins underpass, Confusion Corner and the Osborne Street underpass, and Main Street at Broadway, where long left-turn lanes see cars stacked up and often in conflict with pedestrians and cyclists.

Winnipeg bike enthusiasts have many tales of crashes and close calls along Pembina, but collision experts with the Winnipeg police have investigated at least two serious ones in recent years. In June of 2011, a 52-year-old woman died when her bike was struck by a 23-year-old driving a Lexus on Pembina near Dalhousie Drive. A couple of weeks later, a 24-year-old man cycling on Pembina near Chancellor Matheson Drive was also badly hurt when he was struck by a vehicle.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2014 A4

History

Updated on Friday, June 13, 2014 at 7:40 AM CDT: Removes redundant sidebar

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