Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/9/2020 (452 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A new bike loop is making it easier for Winnipeg residents to get active and explore their city.
The Central Winnipeg Bike Loop, a 10-kilometre path through downtown, was launched on Aug. 31. It’s a collaboration between local business improvement zones to guide cyclists throughout some of the busiest districts, encouraging residents to get out and explore the city.
Sara Atnikov, executive director for the West Broadway Biz, said it’s a way to encourage active transportation in the city.
"In terms of West Broadway, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. A lot of people here bike to get around … When there’s good urban planning that encourages active transportation, (residents) get really excited," Atnikov said. " If you have a car, you don’t have the opportunity to wander around and connect with the neighbourhood. When you’re cycling, you’re able to spend more time exploring, and just enjoying the murals, architecture … of the street you’re on."
The project is a collaboration between the Downtown Winnipeg, Exchange District, Norwood Grove, Osborne Village, Provencher Blvd., West Broadway and West End business improvement zones.
It takes around 45 minutes to complete the loop, which takes you through seven of Winnipeg’s central neighbourhoods. The loop is dotted with clearly-marked signs that help guide cyclists.
Atnikov said there’s a number of economic benefits of active transportation. According to a 2019 report, published by the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, active transportation routes, when installed, improved cyclist safety and increased sales for the businesses near the bike lanes. A 2013 report, published by the City of Toronto, found that cyclists are "responsible for greater monthly per capita spending than drivers and transit users."
Active transportation has been a hot topic in the past few months. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Winnipeg extended its Sunday/Holiday bike routes until September. This reduced vehicle traffic on various streets in Winnipeg, giving more space for cyclists and residents to walk around during the pandemic.
The BIZs have been working on this loop since late June. Representatives from each district cycled around central Winnipeg, using the existing infrastructure to map a pathway for this project. The organizations worked together to design the loop.
Joe Kornelsen, executive director of the West End BIZ, was proud of the partnership’s results.
"Any time you collaborate … It can take time to bring a vision to reality. After we did the first ride, we started mapping it out," Kornelsen said. "From late June until now … Getting something out there in such a short time, it was a great turnaround. I’m really excited."
The West Broadway Biz can be found at westbroadwaybiz.com
The Metro community journalist
Justin Luschinski was the community journalist for The Metro until May 2021.