New office to review consultations on $334M pedestrian, cycling strategy: EPC
Cheryl Holmes, CTV Winnipeg
Published Wednesday, May 13, 2015 10:25AM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, May 13, 2015 6:13PM CST
Mayor Brian Bowman opened Wednesday's executive policy committee meeting with a speech about the city's proposed $334-million pedestrian and cycling strategy.
The mayor moved a motion to have the Office of the Public Engagement review public consultations on the 20-year strategy that were conducted in 2013.
“We are here to listen,” Bowman told members of EPC. "This plan is for all Winnipeggers. It's not simply for one group."
Previously, Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt said he does not support the plan because it recommends possibly changing the way sidewalks are classified, meaning some residents may have to shovel their own sidewalks, and he said the plan calls for big changes to downtown streetscapes that could affect businesses.
Bowman says he brought the motion forward after speaking to community members who say they didn't get a chance to provide their input.
At the meeting, a number of advocates spoke in favour of the strategy and a few opposed it.
"I did receive some feedback from some business people in downtown and I had an opportunity yesterday to correspond with some of them, as did other people at city hall," said Bowman.
The committee heard from a number of community delegates regarding the pedestrian and cycle strategy.
Anders Swanson, coordinator of the Winnipeg Trails Association, said downtown revitalization depends on this strategy and especially needs better foot traffic.
Swanson spoke about safety and told the EPC that pedestrian countdown signals are critical for in that regard.
Mark Cohoe from Bike Winnipeg spoke about gaps in the bike trails system and he stressed that there was a lot of consultation for the strategy.
"It's one thing to request more and more and more public consultation on active transportation but we're not seeing that same standard reached for really significant projects,” said Cohoe.
Coun. Matt Allard brought up concerns with two delayed active transportation routes in his St. Boniface ward.
”Traffic congestion is real. Climate change is real," said Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge - East Fort Garry ward), speaking in support of the strategy.
She also accused other councillors of playing a part in misinformation about the plan.
Mayor Bowman wants the Office of Public Engagement to review the 2013 consultations and to provide recommendations for projects proposed in the 20-year active transportation plan.
In a unanimous decision, EPC moved the motion and the matter will be reviewed at June's meeting of the standing policy committee on infrastructure renewal and public works.