WBCO Statement on Active Transportation 2021
April 30, 2021
April 30, 2021
Dear West Broadway residents and stakeholders,
In recent years we have seen a significant and impressive groundswell of community engagement relating to active transportation (A/T) issues in our neighbourhood. The proposed introduction of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure along Westminster Ave, Balmoral St, and Granite Way has generated particular interest among community members in West Broadway and in adjacent neighbourhoods. West Broadway Community Organization (WBCO) would like to offer some context in hopes of informing the dialogue surrounding this important issue.
WBCO has long supported and advocated for the introduction of A/T infrastructure and traffic calming measures in our neighbourhood. Aside from the obvious health, environmental, and social benefits of A/T, several local factors shape our organization’s position on these issues:
The 2016 Census noted that 63 percent of West Broadway residents commute primarily on foot, by bicycle or by bus. For these residents, vehicle speed is not a matter of personal convenience or efficiency but a significant factor and indeed often a threat to their day-to-day safety
Recent traffic counts conducted by the Winnipeg Trails Association confirm that the segment of Westminster/ Balmoral/ Granite between Maryland and Osborne is in the top five ‘most bicycled’ roads in Manitoba
The volume of motor vehicle traffic on West Broadway streets creates dangerous conditions for neighbourhood residents at current speeds (as documented by the City of Winnipeg Public Works Department, Transportation Division 2015 Traffic Flow Map showing that over 44,000 vehicles use Broadway each day between Osborne and Maryland)
West Broadway’s most recent Five-Year Community Plan 2016 - 2021 (an extensive, eight month consultation that captured the opinions and priorities of hundreds of neighbourhood residents and stakeholders) calls for immediate, significant improvement to active transportation infrastructure
In 2016, WBCO collaborated with Winnipeg Trails Association and West Broadway BIZ on a door-to-door, in-person, and online Neighbourhood Transportation Survey, reaching 340 West Broadway residents. This consultation found that over 90 percent of participants supported the addition of more cycling infrastructure and traffic calming measures on West Broadway streets
Seeing the volume of cycling and pedestrianism increase dramatically during the pandemic, we are more convinced than ever that significant A/T infrastructure is needed if the stated priorities of the vast majority of West Broadway residents are to be accommodated. We recognize that some on-street parking will be lost, some residents will no longer be able to drive their usual route to and from their home, commuters who cut through West Broadway will be forced to take other routes, and a small number of boulevard trees will be lost or replaced if our infrastructure requests are met by the City. Still, we are confident that the net gain from these changes will dramatically improve the health and wellbeing of our community members, and the overall liveability of this and adjacent neighbourhoods for generations to come.
On a related note, WBCO would also like to address the City of Winnipeg’s recent announcement of changes to transit services affecting West Broadway. Ultimately, we would like to live in a city where transit services are protected, improved, and expanded; where fares are affordable, operators are well trained, safe and well compensated, and bus services augment and compliment other modes of local transport. Unfortunately, the cost of providing this level of service is beyond what our municipality is currently willing to invest, so city planners and civic engineers have been asked to improve efficiency and increase ridership with minimal additional dollars spread over the next 25 years. The result is a Transit Plan that will increase the overall frequency of main routes like Osborne, Portage, Sherbrook, etc., while removing collector routes like our number 10.
While some West Broadway residents will lose number 10 access, many others will see improved frequency of access to Portage routes. In this instance, we support the new plan but we are disappointed in Council’s decision to invest so little in public transportation, and over such a long period of time.
West Broadway Community Organization
104-222 Furby St.
Winnipeg, MB R3C 2A7
CC: WBCO Board of Directors, Councillor Sherri Rollins