Not so fast says Wyatt and Co. on pedestrian and cycling strategy

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The wheels have not stopped spinning for the anti-spoke blokes hellbent on altering the city’s 20-year cycling strategy.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/07/2015 (2694 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The wheels have not stopped spinning for the anti-spoke blokes hellbent on altering the city’s 20-year cycling strategy.

Coun. Russ Wyatt and his cronies aren’t giving up on seeing changes to the city’s pedestrian and cycling strategy, despite the fact council adopted it last week.

At a special Elmwood-East Kildonan community committee meeting, whose members consist of three of the five councillors opposed to the strategy, the group reintroduced a series of motions to amend the strategy.

Kristin Annable / Winnipeg Free Press An angry Russ Wyatt tapes his 20 rejected amendments to the pedestrian-and-cycling strategy on Mayor Brian Bowman's door Wednesday.

“Because of the fact that council adopted the policy, it was indicated we could (still) have input to make amendments to it,” Wyatt said after Friday’s meeting. “We now have a package we can present to the infrastructure and public works committee and it be more workable for them.”

The committee is made up of Wyatt, Couns. Jason Schreyer (Elmwood) and Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan); Browaty was absent from the meeting, but voted against the strategy last week.

In a move Wyatt described as an olive branch, the committee removed two caveats that would have gutted the strategy. They are no longer calling for the city to cap the proposed $334-million strategy to only $55 million and have removed the motion to cut the proposed amount of downtown protected bike lanes in half.

Instead, they are asking for public works to consider capping the 20-year active transportation plan to the five years which are already outlined in the capital budget. In the five-year budget, about $25 million is earmarked for active transportation and the committee is asking for a further $10 million be identified for at least two pedestrian/cycling grade separations.

“Make it a five-year program and then review it after five years,” Wyatt said after the meeting.

As for the protected bike lanes downtown, the committee concurs with the Downtown BIZ that a pilot project should be initiated. However, the committee’s motion calls for a pilot project only be done at Garry or Fort Street, not both as has been budgeted in the 2015 cycling plan.

“Let’s find out how it works and what the impacts are for businesses and property owners before you start implementing them,” he said.

In total, the strategy calls for 25 of the 32 kilometres of protected bike lanes will be downtown, which Wyatt says leaves out the rest of Winnipeg who deserves equal attention to cycling infrastructure. Instead, he wants to see more equitable funding so the paths connect to the downtown.

The package of motions, which include deleting the snow-clearing recommendation and removing all neighbourhood greenways and bike boulevards recommendations in Transcona, will go to public works committee in September for consideration.

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca

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