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Winnipeg cyclist sees importance in the city’s push to improve bike routes downtown

Emily Payne with Bikes and Beyond says safety is important for cyclists. She says the city's push for developing bike lanes in two routes downtown is a good step forward. Arsalan Saeed / Global News

As part of a bid to guide further development downtown, the City of Winnipeg is seeking public feedback on proposed bike routes.

The move is part of the city’s CentrePlan 2050, described as an initiative that aims to create a 30-year plan that guides the work done in the downtown core — the ultimate goal of which is to bring more people into the city’s centre.

The request for public feedback was issued on Jan. 24, detailing options for proposed routes along St. Mary Avenue and York Avenue, as well as Notre Dame Avenue and Cumberland Avenue.

On their website, the city states that for the first set of routes, one option would be to establish one-way protected bike lanes on St. Mary Avenue and York Avenue. Another option would be to establish a two-way protected bike lane on York Avenue. Both options would see routes starting at Colony Street, ending at Garry Street.

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For its second set of routes, one option is to have a two-way protected bike lane on the south side of Cumberland Avenue. Another would see a two-way protected bike lane on the north side of Cumberland Avenue. Both would see a bike lane on the north side of Notre Dame Avenue, between Carlton Street and Adelaide Street.

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Emily Payne, a salesperson at Bikes and Beyond, said she’s been an avid cyclist for years. In cycling to work, she said she’s gone through many of the downtown bike routes — as well as those included in the city’s CentrePlan initiative.

For her, it’s a great idea for the city to look into the possibility of adding and improving on bike routes.

“We are in the core of the city. We (want to) make it safe for people to travel,” she said. “Who are we prioritizing in our transportation plans? Do we want a downtown that is dedicated and centering (around) cars? Or do we want a downtown that is vibrant with different kinds of transportation?”

Payne said it’s important to ensure that cyclists feel safe when out on the roads. One way to ensure that is by having motorists limit the speed at which they use the streets.

“No matter how many bike routes you put in, it’s important that you have a slower pace of travel,” Payne said.

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Part of CentrePlan 2050, according to the city’s website, is considering various design factors that can affect the downtown core. These include working with a limited road space, high traffic volumes, transit, one-way streets, demand for on-street parking, and loading zones.

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