BIKE WINNIPEG’S HISTORY
After the intense focus on cycling in Winnipeg throughout the summer of 2006, a group of cyclists organized a forum entitled Bike to the Future, which was held at the University of Winnipeg on September 20th, 2006. Over 100 cyclists came together to discuss their vision for cycling in Winnipeg and to share their ideas about what is needed to make cycling better and safer in our city. The forum resulted in a report with recommendations for the City and Province. The report was delivered by bike to elected representatives at the Provincial Legislature and City Hall.
After the forum, the municipal election provided an ideal opportunity to raise the awareness of cycling in the City of Winnipeg. A group of people came together after the forum and under the organizational name of Bike to the Future created a questionnaire that was distributed to all municipal candidates asking for their vision of cycling in the city and what they were going to do to improve infrastructure for commuter cyclists in Winnipeg. As a result, Winnipeg cyclists were named “Most Effective Lobby Group” by the Winnipeg Free Press during the election.
Bike to the Future began meeting with city and provincial leaders to advance recommendations made in the Bike to the Future Forum Report, and getting organized to pursue an ambitious agenda, including a membership drive and continued advocacy for infrastructure improvements. Our Mission and Vision statements were formed at a Strategic Planning Session in November 2006.
Bike to the Future was incorporated in Manitoba in February 2007.
Bike to the Future’s main objective is promoting cycling as transportation, which includes the development and use of bike lanes, designated routes on traffic-calmed streets, and multi-use pathways as part of an interconnected bicycle route network.
The organization has been a strong participant in trail-development initiatives and stakeholder committees for public consultation. A few examples include the Northeast Pioneers Greenway, Bishop Grandin Greenway, Fort Garry Bridge and Disraeli Bridges rehabilitations, and Chief Peguis Trail development.
When the City of Winnipeg announced the creation of the Active Transportation Advisory Committee (a recommendation of the 2005 Active Transportation Study, and something Bike to the Future had been lobbying for) in Spring 2007, we were invited to have a representative on the committee. Many of the reps from other organizations are BttF members.
Bike to the Future has made many presentations to the City, Province, and community groups, and produced many publications, most notably:
- The report from the 2nd annual participatory forum held at the University of Winnipeg on October 11, 2007.
- Presentations to the City and Province during their 2008 budget consultations.
- A Cycling and the Future of Manitoba report that was presented to the Province.
In 2008 and 2009, Bike to the Future expanded and strengthened its partnerships with many other organizations to present various events and pursue a number of initiatives. Our partnerships with the Manitoba Cycling Association and the City of Winnipeg led to Winnipeg’s first annual Bike to Work Day in 2008, and the creation of a new Winnipeg cycling map in 2009.
As a result of tremendous work by BttF members and others on the City of Winnipeg’s Active Transportation Advisory Committee, major AT progress was made in 2008 and 2009, including receiving $20 million Stimulus Funding for Active Transportation for 2010.
Our 2008 Fall Forum (Why Not Winnipeg?) had 200 attendees, including Mayor Sam Katz and a few high ranking politicians and decision makers. We are well-respected by many civic and provincial politicians and administrators.
Other achievements in 2009 include
- producing the Cycling Advocacy for Winnipeg Citizens brochure.
- successfully lobbying for the creation of a Provincial Active Transportation Advisory Committee.
- partnering with the Winnipeg Trails Association, and the Winnipeg Rapid Transit Coalition to bring attention to the gap in AT infrastructure at the Osborne Underpass for the new Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor (Bus Rapid Transit) that will be built between The Forks and the Pembina-Jubilee underpass.
- supporting and participating in Winnipeg’s first Ciclovia.
- initiating a discussion about STOP signs as YIELD signs for cyclists (and receiving a lot of media attention) after many cyclists were unfairly ticketed on Assiniboine Avenue and on Balmoral Street.
- organizing a very successful 2nd annual Bike Shorts Film Festival.
- bringing well-thought out ideas for improved cycling to the Osborne Bridge Neighbourhood Advisory Committee Public Consultation and Collaborative Planning Process meetings for the Osborne Bridge Rehabilitation.