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Bike Winnipeg Reaction to Motion to Slash Funding

Motion to Slash Funding Ill Concieved

While professing to be advocates for those who want to walk or bike in our city, Councillors Browaty, Schreyer and Wyatt managed to pass a unanimous motion at yesterday’s special meeting of the East Kildonan – Transcona Community Committee to slash the budget for the City’s Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies by 84%, from $334 million to $55 million over 20 years. Their proposed budget for pedestrian and cycling infrastructure would be limited to projects that are part of existing road renewal programs, development projects and major projects. In other words, they are proposing that unless pedestrian and bicycle facilities are part of infrastructure for cars, there will be no money to:

  • Eliminate existing gaps in sidewalk networks on major roads
  • Provide sidewalks on local roads where none currently exist
  • Bring sidewalks up to standard widths
  • Build grade separated crossings
  • Take advantage of hydro and rail rights of way to build bike and pedestrian paths
  • Build protected bike lanes downtown
  • Develop a city-wide bicycle network

Pedestrian & Cycling Strategies will Expand and Enhance Pedestrian Network

While the Councillors seemed to imply that the $334 million cost to implement the strategies over 20 years would all go towards the bicycle network, nothing could be further from the truth. The strategies would expand and improve the sidewalk network to make it more comfortable to walk, and improve safety and connectivity for people on foot. The proposed strategy is just what it says it is — a “pedestrian and cycling “strategy. Of the $334 million investment required to implement the 20 year strategies, $138 million, or a little over a third of the total is actually dedicated towards improvements to the bicycle network.

During the nearly two hour debate/discussion on the strategies, it was painfully obvious that none of the Councillors on the committee had taken the time to read through the strategies. None seemed to have any inkling that the strategies call for the city to expand and enhance the pedestrian network (Direction 1A in the strategies) and improve Pedestrian Safety (Direction 3B). How else can we explain their repeated calls to complete the pedestrian network while simultaneously proposing to remove the very funding meant to pay for that expansion?

Poorly Conceived, Self-Contradictory Motion Needs to be Rejected

There may well be aspects of the strategies that can be improved and debated, but the motion put forward by the Councillors is not helpful and will not lead to constructive discussion or debate. City Council should firmly reject the motion as a poorly conceived and self-contradictory reaction by Councillors who are grasping at every opportunity to undermine and delay the proposed pedestrian and cycling strategies, without apparently taking the trouble to read or understand them.


  1. These “clowns” are just doing this to be popular with the voters in their own wards, especially the wealthier ones. They don’t care about the rest of the city, especially downtown and the inner city. Nor do they realize the positive spin-offs of people cycling instead of driving. Russ Wyatt is one who should definitely park his car and mount a bicycle, it would do his waistline wonders and may even clear cobwebs from his brain so that he could think more clearly. Schreyer and Browaty could also use some cleansing of cobwebs and think about the wider benefits of having safe cycling throughout the city. I drive as well as cycle and prefer cycling in the summer; but it can be dangerous as there are drivers out their who believe they have exclusive rights to roadways. A good network of safe cycling paths would be a great benefit to everyone in every corner of the city.

  2. It’s no wonder this City can’t move forward with progressive thinking. I just spent a week in Ottawa and returning home was like going back in time 50 years.
    They say the infrastructure is crumbling and I would agree but have they given any thought that having more cyclists on the road means less cars pounding the pavement?
    If this comes to fruition the benefits will be endless but alas we have narrow minded leaders that will see that it doesn’t.

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