Initial Priorities for City Cycling Infrastructure

On February 2nd 2016 Bike Winnipeg sent the following letter to Mayor and Councillors to guide their budget planning deliberations:

Now that the Pedestrian and Cycling Strategy is part of the transportation planning framework, we look forward to accelerated investments in cycling infrastructure in the coming years, particularly in light of the pressing need to change how Winnipeggers get around, so as to meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments made in Paris this fall, and benefit from the federal government’s interest in supporting green infrastructure initiatives.

The Pedestrian and Cycling strategy laid out an effective framework for prioritizing projects, based on network connectivity, equity, cycling demand and cost effectiveness.  We concur with the factors they identified, although we don’t find that their methodology for quantifying each factor for the scoring process is any better than a subjective analysis which takes those factors into account.

Based on our experience riding on Winnipeg streets, and talking to many of the people who ride with us, we believe that the City will get the best return on investment by concentrating initial cycling infrastructure investments in:

  • Creating a network of high-quality protected bike lanes downtown,
  • Establishing bicycle arterials along key corridors to provide complete routes as far out to the suburbs as possible, and
  • Fixing gaps in existing routes that connect major destinations.

These priorities are identified with relatively moderate capital costs in the Pedestrian and Cycling strategy.  They would serve many commuting / business / shopping / entertainment needs of a large number of people who live in the denser neighbourhoods of the city, and would improve the efficient flow of people during peak traffic periods.

As a secondary priority, we recommend that the City invest in:

  • Neighbourhood greenways that provide access to the proposed spine network as well as links within and between suburban communities
  • Key corridor studies required for development of the network
  • Engage in neighbourhood based community public consultation to carry out all recommended projects.

These priorities include the following projects:

Bike Winnipeg Infrastructure Project Priorities
Category Project Rationale
Network of Downtown Protected Bicycle Lanes Fort and Gary protected bike lanes Provides a north/south route through the downtown and into the heart of the Exchange District
Bannatyne and McDermot protected bike lanes Provides bicycle friendly connections between the Exchange District and the Health Sciences Complex

Provides east-west connector at the northern boundary of the downtown

Assiniboine at Main to The Forks – bicycle crossing at Main & separated bike lane connecting to the Forks Links the city’s most used bicycle lanes to the city’s most popular entertainment destination

Provides an east-west connector  at the southern boundary of the downtown

Protected bike lanes on St. Mary/York Provides a critical connection into the U of W campus and into the Spence Neighbourhood through the St. Matthews/U of W connection described below
Protected bike lane on Maryland from Notre Dame to Maryland Bridge Scheduled for rehabilitation in 2017?

Southbound corridor parallel to northbound protected bike lane on Sherbrook

Connects to Health Sciences Complex, University of Winnipeg and other Downtown locations

Existing painted bike lane is inadequate and in poor condition

Includes several bicycle collision “hot spots”

Protected Bike Lanes on Hargrave and Carlton Provides a north-south route through the Downtown
Protected bike lanes on Balmoral / Isabel from Portage to Logan North-south spine needed on west side of Downtown

Connects to Slaw Rebchuk Bridge and north end, the U of Winnipeg and east-west routes to downtown

Northwest Hydro corridor greenway Provides first bicycle-friendly north-south route in northwest Winnipeg

Connects to future Winnipeg Beach greenway

Future connection planned to Polo Park and St. James Industrial areas

Winnipeg Beach Rail Line Greenway Provides bicycle-friendly route through the Riverbend, Margaret Park, Templeton-Sinclair, Garden City, Jefferson, Inkster-Farady, Robertson and Burrows Central neighbourhoods towards the Health Sciences Complex and the St. James Industrial

50,000 people live within 1200 metres of the line

One of the two rail lines identified as early targets for rail relocation

Forms the eastern border to Precinct G (currently in the precinct plan stage)



Bicycle arterials along key corridors


Protected bike lanes on Wellington Crescent from River/Stradbrook to Wellington Park Should be part of the spinal network

Connects Osborne to Polo Park, the West End, River Heights and Charleswood, Assiniboine Park

Dangerous sections of Wellington need to be addressed to serve these high potential areas.


Bike lanes and other improvements on River and Stradbrook Provides east-west connections through Osborne Village, a dense residential area and entertainment destination

Connects to Wellington east-west corridor to several north-south routes including Churchill Parkway to the Forks, and Nassau

Protected bike lanes and other improvements on Provencher from Archibald to Taché East-west corridor needed through north St. Boniface along a Mixed Use Corridor

Links St. Boniface commercial and entertainment district to Downtown

Connects to Mission-Transcona Trail and to north-south routes within St. Boniface and through Elmwood/East Kildonan

Protected bike lanes on Arlington from Portage to Inkster Creates a north-south spine between Daniel McIntyre and the North End – areas identified as having the highest potential for increased biking

Extends the planned Arlington Bridge protected bike lanes – complimenting this project

Connects with many east-west routes in the West End and North End

Arlington includes several bicycle collision “hot spots”

Protected bike lanes on St. Matthews Provides a key east-west connection running from St. James to the U of W and Downtown (with connection described below)
Disraeli-Riverton Pathway/Bike Lane Connection Connects the Disraeli AT Bridge to the proposed Riverton Neighbourhood Greenway (see below), which in turn provides a bicycle friendly connection to the Northeast Pioneers Greenway
Gaps in existing routes that connect major destinations


Protected bike lanes on St. Mary’s from Eugenie to the Norwood Bridge Connects Downtown with east-west route through St. Boniface/St. Vital

Needs to include transitions at the North and South ends of the Norwood Bridge

Panet @ Mission to Transcona Trail Pathway Connection Provides a connection from St. Boniface to the southern end of the Transcona Trail, with safe access across Regent Avenue

Provides immediate access to the commercial area south of Regent

Provides future connectivity to the East Corridor Rapid Transit AT pathways.


South Winnipeg Parkway – Togo to Brandon Connects a popular pathway through to the Riverview neighbourhood where it will connect to existing infrastructure on Brandon Avenue (SWRT ATP) and Hay Street

St. Mathews/U of W Connection

Utilizes a series of pathways and calmed local streets to create a bicycle friendly connection between the St. Mathews/Maryland intersection and the U of W

Includes signalized crossings of Maryland and Sherbrook

Central to an east-west connection from St. James to the U of W and the Downtown

Waterfront Drive Pathway Gaps Fill in gaps that exist on the Waterfront Drive Pathway just north of the Mere Hotel.
Banning / Ruby Neighbourhood Greenway North-south route through the West End

Provides safe crossing of Portage Ave

Serves neighbourhoods with the highest cycling rates in the city

Connects with east-west routes at Wolseley, St. Matthews and Wellington

St Jean Baptiste / Enfield Neighbourhood Greenway North-south route through St. Boniface with connections to east-west routes at Eugenie and Provencher
Neighbourhood greenways


St. George Neighbourhood Greenway Provides an important north-south route through the St. George and Worthington neighbourhoods in St. Vital

Provides an alternative to St. Anne’s until proper infrastructure can be provided there

Builds on the investment in the Fermor Avenue Seine River Bridge project

Riverton Neighbourhood Greenway Provides a low stress connection between the North East Pioneers Greenway and the Disraeli AT Bridge
Riverside Neighbourhood Greenway Provides an important north-south connection through the East Fort Garry Neighbourhood
Corridor Studies Jefferson Major east-west route through the North End and Maples

No existing east-west improved bicycle routes north of Machray

Study needs to consider both Jefferson and nearby parallel streets

Main Street Regional Mixed Use Corridor & Major north-south route from downtown under the CPR mainline and into the North End

One of the few routes to the underserved North End

Bicycle collision “hot spots” near Redwood, Sutherland, Jarvis, Dufferin, Higgins, Portage, York

Dovetails with planning for Portage & Main and East Corridor Rapid Transit

Portage Avenue Regional Mixed Use Corridor

Fastest East – West route connecting downtown to major residential and commercial destinations


Other Major Capital Projects

There are several major transportation projects under review that will have a big impact on active transportation, including rapid transit, Centerport, rail relocation, Chief Peguis Trail extension, the construction of underpasses and bridges, etc.,.  We assume that, as those plans evolve, the resulting projects will properly incorporate AT facilities that comply with the Pedestrian and Cycling strategy, with suitable allocations within their project budgets, as required by City policy.


The Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies report outlines the critical importance of adequate staffing to develop and promote active transportation, and notes that Winnipeg lags behind many other cities in terms of Bike/Pedestrian staffing.  Bike Winnipeg recommends that the City act as quickly as possible to fill the three additional staffing positions recommended by the Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies:

  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Design Engineer
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Education and Promotion Coordinator

We recommend that, in addition to supporting infrastructure development, the initial staff priorities should be:

  • Develop a bicycle counting program that monitors cycling activity on a regular basis to evaluate and guide the City in achieving its cycling objectives.
  • Update the City’s Transportation Standards Manual to design roads that are safer for cyclists, and establish bicycle facility design guidelines.
  • Develop relationships with neighbourhood and Biz organizations to guide planning decisions in implementing cycling infrastructure.
  • Promote traffic safety measures which will make roads safer for all users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists


Several types of public information and education are required to safely increase the share of short trips that Winnipeggers choose to do by bicycle:

  1. Public information and signage for both cyclists and motorists showing how to behave in traffic to develop shared expectations of safe practices.
  2. Public education and signage to inform the public about where cycling infrastructure will be, what it will look like, and how to drive or cycle on those streets. The process should begin during the consultation before each project, and follow through upon completion of the projects.
  3. Help for new commuter cyclists to learn skills and locate the best bicycle routes.

We look forward to working with the City on these important projects.


Mark Cohoe

Executive Director