The city is launching a one-year pilot project this week that will reduce speeds on select streets in Winnipeg.
The Neighbourhood Greenway Reduced Speed pilot project aims to make four of the city’s 11 greenway routes safer to share with cyclists and pedestrians, by reducing speeds to 30 km/h.
Cyclist Currie Gillespie welcomes the project.
“Thirty kilometres an hour is where we save lives,” Gillespie said.
“Personally, I cycle 7,000 kilometres a year. Most of that is urban, and yeah, the close calls are daily. And I don’t say that to scare anyone, when a vehicle comes close and makes me uncomfortable, they still might be three feet away from me. But that’s still when they’re going 50 km/h, that could be a 30-km/h speed difference, and if they hit me, I’m in the hospital.”
The project launched this week on Machray Avenue between Fife and Main streets, and on Powers Street between Dufferin and Partridge avenues. It will come into effect next week on Eugenie Avenue between St. Mary’s Road and Youville Street, and on Warsaw Avenue between Thurso Street and Pembina Highway.
City crews will also be installing traffic calming measures, including additional signage and speed humps.
“There a huge demand throughout the whole city to get speed limits down to 30 to provide safer cycling routes for people, especially in areas where there are no separate bike facilities separated from the road,” Mynarski ward city councillor Ross Eadie told Global News.
After the one-year pilot, the city will collect additional feedback from residents and road users.
Eadie says he’s heard some opposition to installing speed bumps on the routes, but overall thinks the pilot project won’t be an inconvenience to motorists.
“I don’t think people will have an issue and they’ll be happy about it, I know the cyclists and pedestrians will,” he said.
St. Boniface ward city councillor Matt Allard says he’s also heard mixed reaction.
“Lots of opinions across the board. I know for people who live in the neighborhoods, they have a particular perspective. For commuters, they have a particular perspective,” Allard said.
“I know in the case of St. Boniface with Eugenie Street, Eugenie Street is not a commuter street. It’s a residential street, and so a lot of people use Eugenie to cut through the neighbourhood instead of using Marion Street when Marion gets backed up. And that’s generally not welcome in the neighbourhood.”
Allard also says the traffic calming measures will help to better define the city’s greenways.
“Right now the only thing that distinguishes a greenway from any other street is that green sign that says bicycles might want to ride here, and that’s not much in terms of encouraging people to ride those streets,” Allard said.
“So if we were to better define what a greenway is in Winnipeg — if it meant something like more traffic calming, if it meant something like 30 km/h — that might make them better (for) all road users.”
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