Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/8/2016 (1851 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
An argument has broken out once again on my Twitter timeline between cyclists and motorists, or rather, between groups of people frustrated by the behaviour of each.
Impatient or entitled drivers can be hazardous to cyclists, and inconsiderate cyclists can be a danger to themselves and others. Both can cause tempers to flare, and when they’re forced to share the same road the likelihood of trouble increases.
One point of general agreement is that everyone is safer and happier when the two are kept apart but doing so often requires infrastructure improvements such as separated bike lanes, or intersection modifications to accommodate cyclists. Constructing these things can be costly and invasive, so it makes sense to incorporate them in planned street repairs wherever possible.
This is where I believe there is a disconnect somewhere within the Public Works machinery at City Hall. As I write this, Lakewood Boulevard is being torn up and resurfaced but with no specific improvements related to cycling.
Certainly the street needs the work — it’s a crumbling mess, rated as "poor" in the city’s street condition report — but it was also listed as a priority for active transportation upgrades in the city’s pedestrian and cycling strategies.
Was it a top priority? No, but it was on the list, and deservedly so as a commuting corridor that connects several schools and links the active transportation paths along Fermor Avenue and Bishop Grandin Boulevard.
Consideration was in fact given to cycling improvements along Lakewood, according to a spokesperson for the City of Winnipeg but it will be pushed off to "future years," when parts of what is being built now will presumably need to be torn up again.
The potential improvements were postponed because the time required for consultation and design would have delayed reconstruction.
This is where I think they’re falling short — it is known in advance that road repairs are required and it is also know in advance that AT improvements are desired. Ideally, design and consultation for the latter could be conducted in advance of the jackhammers hitting the concrete for the former.
"It is possible to include first class walking/bike improvements in every project, no matter how big or how small, with a little thinking and design time" says Anders Swanson, co-ordinator of the Winnipeg Trails Association. "Unfortunately, we still see projects being done all over the city wherein we are simply tearing things up and putting them back together the same way. I think people expect better."
Derick Young is a community correspondent for Southdale.
Southdale community correspondent
Derick Young was a community correspondent for Southdale.