Curb-protected bike lanes proposed, advocates lament current conditions

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Icy ruts, potholes and poor visibility aren’t cyclists’ only problems in bike lanes — parked vehicles are an ever-present nuisance.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/11/2021 (305 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Icy ruts, potholes and poor visibility aren’t cyclists’ only problems in bike lanes — parked vehicles are an ever-present nuisance.

Curb-protected bike lanes, which separate active transportation from rows of parked cars and vehicle traffic, will be safer than the current standard of painted lines and parking signs, a new City of Winnipeg report says.

City bureaucrats recommend the city erect curb barriers on six parking-protected bike lanes. However, only one lane route has money set aside for the enhancements.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Icy ruts, potholes and poor visibility aren’t cyclists’ only problems in bike lanes — parked vehicles are an ever-present nuisance.

“We need to be spending more to make our city walkable, bikeable and transit friendly,” said Mark Cohoe, Bike Winnipeg’s executive director. “If we don’t radically change what we’re doing, we’re going to see that our climate goals are impossible to meet.”

Cohoe said he often encounters parked cars in Arthur Street’s bike lane. It may be hard for motorists to recognize they’re not in a parking spot, he said.

“Often times (as a biker), it’s not like you can just shift left and go past that vehicle,” Cohoe said.

Instead, cyclists must merge into traffic, hop onto the sidewalk or try and squeeze past in their lane.

“It’s an unpredictable manoeuvre,” Cohoe said. “Someone coming up behind you might not expect it, so it’s dangerous.”

A big reason why people don’t bike across Winnipeg is a fear of traffic, Cohoe said.

“Getting these (barriers) in place really provides people that space where they’re going to feel safe, comfortable and secure,” he said.

The city report, to be reviewed by Winnipeg’s infrastructure committee Wednesday, proposes upgrading Sherbrook Street, Arthur Street, Princess Street, Bannatyne Avenue, Notre Dame Avenue and Eastway bike lanes “over time”.

The barriers cost about $10,000 per 100 metre of bike lane, based on previous pricing and excluding other concrete work, the report says.

Winnipeg has budgeted $177,000 to upgrade the 595-metre strip of Sherbrook Street between Wolseley Avenue and Broadway. Bannatyne Avenue has been left unprotected to accommodate truck loading and turning manoeuvres.

The other four roads have “no current plan or funding to upgrade” and must be prioritized against other projects in the city’s pedestrian and cycling program, the report reads.

Coun. Matt Allard, who chairs the infrastructure committee, said he’s in favour of constructing more barricades.

“(They’re an) effective way of substantially improving the quality, safety, and desirability of existing painted bike lanes and other locations where the (physical) space exists on the current road width,” he wrote in an email.

The city considered poly-posts to separate bike lanes from parked vehicles, but the plastic bollards must be removed in the winter.

Allard said he’ll ask questions about snow clearing for active transportation at the upcoming meeting.

City cycling paths can be treacherous this time of year, depending on the route, according to Currie Gillespie, who’s on the Manitoba Cycling Association’s board of directors.

He’d love additional barriers between lanes and parking spots — but in the meantime, he’d appreciate more maintenance.

“The sanding on the bike paths has not been appropriate,” Gillespie said, adding it’s gotten better over the years.

“We get more butts on bikes by making a safe, efficient, well-maintained route for those people to get where they want to go,” he said. “There’s not enough attention to that principle yet.”

The city would need to increase its equipment designed for treating snow and ice in bike lanes, should more become barrier protected, Gillespie said.

Vehicles parked in bike lanes could be fined.

— With files from Kevin Rollason

gabrielle.piche@winnipegfreepress.com

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
Reporter

Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.

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Updated on Sunday, November 28, 2021 9:18 AM CST: Fixes typo.

Updated on Sunday, November 28, 2021 12:13 PM CST: Clarifies speed adjustment related to Bishop Grandin Boulevard.

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