Well, you can’t fight City Hall but that doesn’t mean that you can’t comment on or perhaps complain about the things that happen in the running of the city that don’t make sense.
The City of Winnipeg has an active transportation policy where, according to their website, they encourage people to walk, cycle, in-line skate or even cross-country ski to get from point A to point B. It goes further to state that the benefits to the individual and the community include:
Encouragement of healthy lifestyles
Reduce traffic congestion
Save money on healthcare
Better air quality
Improve road safety for motorists and cyclists
Help reduce costs associated with driving such as fuel, maintenance and parking
Part of this plan includes bike lanes, dedicated road space for cyclists separated from the vehicular traffic by signs and pavement markings.
The route that I regularly ride incorporates bike lanes. There is signage on the curb as well as markings on the road itself. This all sounds wonderful.
The most active bike season in Winnipeg runs from the beginning of April until the end of October. Outside of these months, there’s typically snow in Winnipeg so the number of cyclists drops dramatically. All of those wonderful markings on the road are covered with snow six months of the year.
“What are these pictures?” I can imagine you are asking. They represent a small example of the road markings as they currently exist on Roblin Boulevard in the community of Charleswood. I took them just this morning.
I have been out riding my bike throughout the summer season and continually noticing that these markings have not been repainted since last fall. With each passing day, I find this makes me more and more frustrated.
Today I was out on my bike again and I see that the city has finally decided to repaint them. The problem, of course, is that it’s now August 24. We have had five months of clear roads and these markings have been missing. Here we are nearly at the end of August, with just over two months until our first snowfall is likely to hit and they’re finally getting around to painting them. They’ll be visible for September and October and then they’ll be hidden under snow for six months. The snow and the road salt from the winter season will leave them in disrepair by the time summer rolls around again.
If you follow the philosophy “better late than never” then I guess you would be okay with this. But it seems to me, if the city is going to spend the money to repaint these markings then it makes more sense to be doing them early in the spring, at the beginning of the peak cycling season, when they can actually have a greater benefit to cyclists and to drivers.
So what’s at issue here? Why is this essential work left until late in the year when a good portion of its benefit is lost? I don’t fault the workers in this case. Perhaps the city isn’t assigning the proper priority to this work or sufficient funds to get this work done in a timely manner.
Hopefully, this post, read by the right people, will encourage the city to do a better job next year.
In the meantime here’s an example of what the roadway looks like today. It’s a dramatic improvement from what it was yesterday, but it is still too late.
If you are interested in reading Winnipeg’s Active Transportation Policy, you can read it here.
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