For years, cyclists have identified Pembina Hwy as a very important route that is "difficult" (inconvenient, unsafe, no fun), but there is no reasonable alternative to it between Chevrier Blvd and Plaza Dr.
The City of Winnipeg will soon be doing "mill and fill" road maintenance work on Pembina Hwy between Chevrier and Bishop Grandin.
February 4, 2010 update:
On January 18 at the Riel Community Committee, Councillor Justin Swandel tabled an Active Transportation improvements on Pembina Highway motion (PDF) that passed. It will come forward at the City's Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works meeting at City Hall on February 9 at 9:00 AM.
Janice Lukes of the Winnipeg Trails Association has registered to appear in delegation at that meeting (click "Contact us") to support the motion. The City is mandated to look at incorporating AT into all major projects. Janice has contacted other organizations to see if they will also support the motion at that meeting:
- Bike to the Future
- Manitoba Cycling Association
- Resource Conservation Manitoba
- One Green City
Other who should get involved:
- accessibilty groups (improved sidewalk maintenance and snow clearing)
- residents who live along the strip
- anyone else
You can also
- write your feedback about the possible cycling infrastructure on Pembina Hwy, and
- send it to Janice Lukes.
She'll include it with the feedback forms she receives from the UofM Display on Monday, and present it at the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works meeting on Tuesday morning.
Incorporating an AT solution on Pembina Hwy has been the #1 recommendation of the City's Active Transportation Advisory Committee, and while this proposed solution may only be a few blocks, it is the edge of the wedge.
February 9, 2010 update:
Today was another very positive day at City Hall at the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works meeting!
Councillor Justin Swandel appeared in front of the committee and did an absolutely outstanding presentation on why active transportation (AT) should be incorporated on Pembina -- in addition to whatever comes out of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor (Bus Rapid Transit -- BRT) Phase 2. He pitched a strong case to the "need and opportunity" with the proposed Pembina Hwy "mill & fill" work. He specifically noted the letter from the University of Manitoba supporting his motion. He was brilliant. Huge kudos for him for doing what is right and safe for anyone on a bike and in a car on Pembina Hwy!
Janice Lukes (Winnipeg Trails Association), Karin Kliewer (Bike to the Future), Beth McKechnie (Resource Conservation Manitoba), Anders Swanson (One Green City), and Anders Annell (UofManitoba Bike Dungeon) each gave a presentation. There were many questions and bantering back and forth on interpretation of the policy City Council adopted in 2008 (stating AT must be incorporated into any rehabs or upgrades of roads on the AT network). Councillor Dan Vandal asked excellent questions related to why the funding wasn't included in the budgeting of the "mill & fill", and yet again the excuse was "BRT Phase 2) -- the elephant that everyone except Swandel hides behind. Fortunately, Swandel had made a strong case that we all knew BRT would cost $200+ million, and would be a long time coming, but the city needed to act on this "mill & fill" opportunity.
Anders Swanson and Janice sat through the subsequent debate about recycling/composting/garbage in order to hear the decision on what Council would do with Pembina Hwy. Councillor Bill Clement (Committee Chair) asked Brad Sacher (Director of Public Works) to look into finding money in the existing capital budget to incorporate AT into Pembina with the "mill & fill" tender. Mr Sacher said he could come back "formally" to the Public Works Committee with a reply in a month's time (probably delaying the "mill & fill" project) or he could try to find the money and proceed forward without returning to the Public Works Committee. Sacher was given the go ahead to see if he could find the money and the right design without having to come back to the Public Works Committee. (In other words, they told Brad to "make it happen".)
In Janice Lukes' presentation (PDF), she reminded them how creative they had been in finding up to $90+ million for the Chief Peguis Extension in less than 4 years, and also how well they crafted the partnerships for the $50+ million Waverly West / Kenaston intersection, and said she felt confident they could be creative to find funding to incorporate AT on Pembina Hwy. Anders Swanson spoke afterwards with Kevin Nixon (City AT Coordinator) and Mr Sacher about cycle tracks on both sides vs a multi use trail on one side (etc), designs that would/could work and what wouldn't, etc.
Overall, we are very optimistic there will be some forward movement to incorporate AT into Pembina Hwy in this gap, and that it will occur this year.
Thanks so much for all your support. If you are so inclined, fire off an email to Councillor Swandel for all his effort and support in moving this forward. He is the only councillor to tackle AT on Pembina and not hide behind the BRT Phase 2 elephant!
February 11, 2010 update:
August 24, 2010 update: