City officials are attempting to encourage Winnipeggers to get active by mapping out a $330-million, 20-year plan to increase cycling and walking in the city through an extensive document.

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City officials are attempting to encourage Winnipeggers to get active by mapping out a $330-million, 20-year plan to increase cycling and walking in the city through an extensive document.

"This project aims to improve the quality of life for all Winnipeggers," said Kevin Nixon, Active Transportation Coordinator said in a news release. "The City needs a roadmap to prioritize active transportation infrastructure, programs, and policy to support a growing and dynamic city. It is evident that providing safe, convenient, accessible and well maintained pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is important to most Winnipeggers."

The city’s 356-page Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies guideline outlines the city’s short and long-term goals for walking and cycling in Winnipeg, as well as provides the framework for their 20-year plan.

Public works chair Coun. Janice Lukes is ecstatic the city finally has a plan for active transportation in the city.

"It is a plan, it is not a random approach; we are identifying key connections, we have brought extensive data to make extremely informed decisions on how we invest our funding, and we don’t have a ton of funding, so we have to be extremely strategic on how we invest it," the St. Norbert councillor said, noting it is a comparable document to the city’s Master Transportation Plan that guides their road investments.

"This brings us up to speed with cities around North America and Europe."

It outlines several barriers the city needs to address in order to support this plan, including better snow removal for sidewalks and better connectivity for bicycle paths.

The cost to implement the Pedestrian and Cycling Strategy is pegged at about $334-million over the next 20 years.

A cost which Lukes notes is about 10 per cent of what the city plans to spend on roads.

"If you think about it, we are looking at the Waverley Underpass which is a $175-million project…it is quality of life, it is health, it is livability," she said.

It will also require approximately $3.7-million annually to support the improvements to the city’s infrastructure needed in tandem with the strategy.

The strategy calls to improve the convenience of cycling by providing parking for bikes and facilities to encourage cyclists to bike to work.

Also, part of the strategy is the need to improve the maintenance of the city’s sidewalks and bicycle networks.

In this year’s capital budget, $250,000 was set aside for new regional sidewalks; $150,000 for new non-regional sidewalks; $1-million for recreational walkways and bike path; and $1-million for bicycle corridors.

For 2015, the public service has outlined a series of proposed new sidewalks, bike paths, and multi-use active transportation paths, such as a $1.29-million bike path for Chancellor Matheson Pathway to connect Investors Group Field and Pembina Highway.

They are also recommending as part of the strategy to pay for the bike path by delaying the planned Waverly Street pathway between Bishop Grandin Boulevard and Scurfield Boulevard.

The report outlining the strategies will be first considered by public works committee on May 5, before heading to council for approval.

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca