October 26 update
Mark has submitted a recommendations report to the Charleswood Transportation Study.
BttF’s Charleswood Transportation Study submission (PDF, 13-pages, many diagrams/maps/images)
October 16 update
Mark has written a letter to the Winnipeg Free Press:
Proposal to Widen Shaftesbury Ignores City Policy on Active Transportation
The recently publicized proposal to widen Shaftesbury Boulevard from two lanes to four misses a seemingly obvious opportunity to fill a critical gap in the city’s active transportation network.
An existing multi-use path runs from the bicycle/pedestrian bridge in Assiniboine Park to the corner of Shaftesbury and Grant. Extending this pathway south would connect pedestrians and cyclists to West Taylor (also part of the AT Network), the Harte Trail (Wilkes Ave.) and the Thundering Bison Trail (Sterling Lyon Parkway) while providing safe, convenient connections between destinations such as the new Ikea, Fort Whyte Alive!, The Canadian Mennonite University, Assiniboine Park and Shaftesbury High School.
The importance of this link is recognized by Shaftesbury’s inclusion in Winnipeg’s proposed Active Transportation network (adopted in 2008) and the City’s Transportation Master Plan (adopted last November). City policy clearly states that active transportation facilities must be incorporated into all projects on infrastructure identified in the proposed AT network.
City officials and Councillors need to state clearly that any proposal to widen Shaftesbury Boulevard will not be acceptable unless it includes a multi-use path from Grant Ave. to Sterling Lyon Parkway.
Tom McMahon, Co-Chair, Bike to the Future
Mark Cohoe, Executive Director, Bike to the Future
Mark Cohoe attended the Charleswood Transportation Study’s Public Interactive Display Session (drop-in) on Wednesday October 10 at Charleswood United Church.
Here is his report.
I attended the Charleswood Transportation Study Public Information Display tonight, and the news was quite bad. The draft plan completely ignores the City’s AT policy in their recommendations for Shaftesbury Blvd. They are recommending widening this road to four excessively wide lanes without providing any cycling facilities at all on a roadway that connects one of the city’s main east west AT corridors (the Harte Trail) to Assiniboine Park, Canadian Mennonite University, and a critical bicycle pedestrian bridge over the Assiniboine River. This is despite the fact that north of the study area, a multi-use pathway runs along the west side of Shaftesbury all the way to the pedestrian/bicycle bridge and over the Assinboine River. I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but in truth it is not at all surprising.
Beyond the issue with Shaftesbury, both Shaftesbury and Taylor / West Taylor were omitted from the City’s network of proposed AT facilities, and while both Grant and Roblin were correctly marked as having sharrows, there was no indication that these would ever be upgraded to something useful such as a bike lane, or better yet, a buffered bicycle lane or cycle track, which would be warranted. In fact, I was told point blank by one of the MMM staff that AT was not within the mandate of the study other than to identify existing facilities. Shaftesbury was the one exception, but as I indicated above, they have inexplicably excluded any cycling facilities from their recommendation to widen this roadway to four lanes (each 4m wide)! The only other AT related recommendation I saw was what appeared to be a recommendation to remove the restriction on right turns on red in front of a busy pedestrian crossing leading to Royal School.
Here are the points I think need to be made:
- Any widening of Shaftesbury needs to include a bicycle path and sidewalk on the west side of the roadway.
- A bicycle/pedestrian overpass for the Harte Trail must be included in any southward extension of the William Clement Parkway.
- Bicycle lanes or cycle tracks should be added to West Taylor and Taylor from Shaftesbury to Kenaston.
- A recommendation to add buffered bicycle lanes or cycle tracks to Grant and Roblin as part of any future rehabilitation.
- The study needs to look into traffic calming on north-south residential streets in the study area that would encourage more cycling and walking, especially on streets leading to schools and commercial nodes.
- If the City had maintained the AT Advisory Committee, these errors would have been spotted prior to the public information display.
This can likely all be paid for if they simply reduce the lane width on Shaftesbury from 4m to a more reasonable 3.35m (11 ft), which is still wider than the current edition of the Highway Capacity Manual (The Green Book) recommends.