The decision by the City to cancel the contract to develop a bicycle and pedestrian strategy undermines all the efforts to improve bicycling and pedestrian facilities in Winnipeg. Cutting the development of a strategy in favour of an ad hoc approach flies in the face of the City’s recently completed transportation plan.
It’s like deciding to build a house and then firing the architect to save money, or building a boat but saving money by not buying a rudder. We have a general plan, but how will we implement it? The strategy study would have told us. It would have involved the public, including cyclists, pedestrians, businesses, communities and neighbourhoods in the development of such a strategy and it would have collected and organized the necessary information to answer the outstanding questions. What are the priorities? What do city residents and businesses think about the various options? How are we going to put the plan into effect? How will neighbourhoods be affected? Without the strategy all these decisions and more will be ad hoc, and the public, including cyclists and pedestrians and others, will not have reasonable input into the process. The City spends more than $1 million per year on bicycle and pedestrian paths; devoting the resources required to plan how best to spend this budget is both necessary and prudent.
Moreover, the sudden decision to cancel the contract came out of the blue – there was no consultation with the public or with interested groups and the credibility of the City’s planning process is undermined. Instead of proceeding systematically towards an improved transportation system that incorporates active transportation, the City seems to be lurching from decision to decision without any roadmap or rationale. It makes us all wonder whether there is really a commitment from above to go anywhere at all.
Co-chair, Bike Winnipeg
Media stories on Cancellation of Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategies
Winnipeg Sun – City suspends active transportation plan
Global News – City scraps bike path study
Winnipeg Free Press – We’re a city without a plan for path to future
CBC – Winnipeg mayor defends nixing active transportation study