The latest phase of design for the Osborne Village to Downtown Walk Bike Bridge and Connections report is now complete, with recommended designs available on the city’s website for the project.
Project recommendations cover plans for a walk/bike bridge over the Assiniboine River between Fort Rouge Park and McFadyen Park, improvements to the two parks, and new cycling facilities along River Ave, Stradbrook Ave, Wardlaw Ave, Scott St, and along sections of Lewis and Clark Streets. When built out, these new cycling facilities will provide critical connections into the Downtown, the Forks, and St. Boniface from the southwest quadrant of the city.
This is a promising project, with the potential to make a huge difference for people living in Osborne Village or commuting through it. The connections it provides will make transportation by bicycle a much more attractive and practical option for many, many people who now drive to their destinations. Combined with the park upgrades the new bridge and bike connections will bring new life to the neighbourhood and add much needed access to the Assiniboine River.
Unfortunately, as the report makes clear, the bridge, cycling facilities, and park improvements are not currently included in the city’s budget, so the many benefits these projects will bring our city remain unrealized.
Scheduled Rehab Work Ignores Report Recommendations
Sadly, rehabilitation projects on Stradbrook and River Ave between Wellington Cr and Osborne St planned for 2022 also seem to exclude any provision for the cycling facilities recommended in the new Osborne Village to Downtown Walk Bike Bridge and Connections report or as identified in the 2015 Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies. We hope that this is an error of omission, and that plans will evolve to include needed improvements to the cycling facilities on River and Stradbrook Ave.
The engagement report for this project notes that the project will be further defined upon the completion of the Transportation Master Plan. We would not want to see rehabilitation work along Stradbrook or River move forward without consideration for the protected bike lanes recommended in this report. If plans have not been completed by 2022, we would recommend delay of the rehabilitation projects to ensure that they can be matched to recommendations from the Osborne Village to Downtown Walk Bike Bridge and Connections report.
Policy statements in both the 2021 City of Winnipeg Budget and the 2015 Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies make it clear that inclusion of improved walking and cycling facilities is required as part of rehabilitation projects planned for roads such as River and Stradbrook that are identified as part of the city’s cycling network.
Please write your city Councillor and let them know that this is an important project, and that it needs their support.
For more information:
- Osborne to Downtown Walk Bike Bridge and Connections Project Site (City of Winnipeg)
- Bike Winnipeg Backgrounder on the Osborne Village to Downtown Walk Bike Bridge and Connections project (Bike Winnipeg).
- City of Winnipeg Multi-Year Budget: 2021 Update (City of Winnipeg)
- Page 2-4 lists road renewal projects the include funding for Active Transportation facilities. Neither the Stradbrook nor the River Avenue rehabilitation projects are listed.
- The second paragraph on page 2-14 of the Supplement to the 2021 Preliminary Budget sets out the need to incorporate active transportation into reconstruction or rehabilitation projects along roadways identified in the proposed bike network.
- Rehabilitation project on Stradbrook Ave is shown on page 2-17 of the Supplement to the 2021 Preliminary Budget
- Rehabilitation project on River Ave is shown on page 2-18 of the Supplement to the 2021 Preliminary Budget
- City of Winnipeg Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies and Action Plan (City of Winnipeg)
- Action 1B.x on page 291 – Ensure that bicycle requirements be addressed in all new and renewal road projects that are part of the bicycle network or where the road provides connectivity or support to the bicycle network.