Planning for new bike and pedestrian paths in Winnipeg has reached the end of the line. City officials confirmed Tuesday that a study to develop pedestrian and cycling strategies has been “suspended.”
Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasi says she discovered the change in direction when she asked city staff for an update and received this email from the public works department:
“Due to the current and foreseen short to medium term human resource pressures within the Public Works Department, we are suspending the pedestrian and cycling Strategy until further notice. What we have completed to date will serve the citizens of Winnipeg well for many years to come. We look forward to being able to pick up where we left off, sometime in the not too distant future. “
Since last December, the city has hired professionals to look at bridging gaps between bike paths across the city along with all other improvements.
“The rug has completely been pulled out from under our future transportation network when it comes to walking and cycling,” said Gerbasi. “They basically put a stop to all planning.”
According to Gerbasi, a $400,000 contract to develop pedestrian and cycling routes has been stopped when the work is just starting.
The city did not make any officials available for an interview or to answer questions about the change and why it was made. Late in the day Tuesday unnamed officials sent an email with this statement:
“The Public Works Department confirms that the only initiative being suspended at this time is a study to develop Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies for Winnipeg.
“Currently, there are numerous Active Transportation projects underway in Winnipeg, including as examples, completion of the Disraeli pedestrian and cycling bridge, construction on the west side of the Red River at Fort Garry Bridge (Glengarry Drive to Plaza Drive) and Archibald Street/La Verendrye Street/Mission Street Intersection cyclist enhancements and renewal of paths in Frontenac Park, Chornick Park, Niakawa Trail, Muys Park, Assiniboine Forest.”
The mayor told Global News the money will go towards building bike paths, not planning them.
“There are a lot of people who think we spend too much money on consultants every time the reports come out,” said Sam Katz. “What is being suggested is we take the $400,000 and build some active transportation.”