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Goodness amid tragedy

I write to share extreme goodness in the midst of a tragedy Thursday evening. I was coming south on St. Mary's Road near Glenlawn. It was about 8:20.

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The traffic was continuous. I noticed a man was crossing the street with his large dog on a leash. In that second, the man fell, letting go of the dog's leash. He was bleeding. He started to scream. Then his dog took off crossing the median and ran straight into oncoming traffic, where he was killed.

My heart stopped. The man was trying to get up and was very distraught. I couldn't look at the dog -- it was dreadful. I froze.

Instantaneously, the cars seemed to pull in a circle around the dog and the man. People were rushing out of their cars. People from all nationalities, all shapes and all sizes, were running to the dog and to the man.

I watched helpless, as all these people gathered around the man and the dog.

No one was yelling nasty remarks; no one was pointing a finger. Everyone was helping.

Winnipeggers at times are criticized for not being the "friendly Manitoba" people it says on our licence plates.

Tonight, I witnessed quite the opposite. I witnessed many people running to help without thinking of themselves.




Undermining efforts

Re: City cancels consulting contract (June 10). The decision by the city to cancel the contract to develop a bicycle-and-pedestrian strategy undermines all the efforts to improve bicycling-and-pedestrian facilities in Winnipeg. Cutting the development of a strategy in favour of an ad hoc approach flies in the face of the city's recently completed transportation plan. It's like deciding to build a house and then firing the architect to save money, or building a boat but saving money by not buying a rudder.

We have a general plan, but how will we implement it? The strategy study would have told us. It would have involved the public, including cyclists, pedestrians, businesses, communities and neighbourhoods in the development of such a strategy and it would have collected and organized the necessary information to answer the outstanding questions.

What are the priorities? What do city residents and businesses think about the various options? How are we going to put the plan into effect? How will neighbourhoods be affected? Without the strategy, all these decisions and more will be ad hoc, and the public, including cyclists and pedestrians and others, will not have reasonable input into the process.

The city spends more than $1 million per year on bicycle and pedestrian paths. Devoting the resources required to plan how best to spend this budget is both necessary and prudent.


Bike Winnipeg


Now that we have provided the new, safer bike lanes along Pembina Highway, it seems we may have to teach the cyclists to use them.

Earlier this week, I encountered a cyclist who was staying in the right-hand traffic lane. When I was able to pass him, I shouted that he should get into the bike lane. I watched him in my rear-view mirror and saw that he did not stay in the bike lane or use the sidewalk ramps to bypass the bus stops.

I got the impression that he was only interested in going as fast as he could, without considering the danger he was putting himself in.




Automation has downside

Re: Air crash revives concern that automation is eroding airline pilots' flying skills (July 9). Automation in the past few decades has taken over so many of the tasks that we used to do on our own.

Humans have become studious, efficient and reliant upon operating all the buttons and wireless components. But in many ways we are remiss, even complacent, in dealing with the basics of what we are operate.

Automatic is a good thing when everything is working as programmed, but what happens when the system malfunctions?

The basics of our professional ingenuity and application have been clouded with the dementia of rust by our dependence on automation. That is the problem we face in our modernization.




Insensitive to area history

Re: Our Little Italy going upscale (July 10) As a longtime resident of Osborne Village, I strongly object to the proposed new plan for our area. A very different plan was considered, discussed and approved at a meeting of local residents some time ago.

This plan was tossed out because of the opposition of a number of businessmen and developers, led by a local architecture firm that happens, coincidentally, to be the author of the newer scheme, which involves the construction of several new condos.

I have watched the construction of some of this firm's condos in my area, during which the choice of the cheapest and shoddiest building materials is glaringly exposed. (A couple of examples: fake mortar lines drawn on the outer walls of one condo to suggest brick construction, thin stone veneer glued to the surface of particle board on another.)

The obvious insensitivity to both the area's historic past and Winnipeg's heritage has been most egregiously displayed by the disfigurement of several gracious old Edwardian houses, which have had sheets of corrugated steel tacked on to them. This is about as esthetically appropriate as remodelling the legislative building with fluorescent plastic siding.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2013 A16

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