The wheels on the bikes in a busy Winnipeg commuter corridor will go round and round thanks to two new protected bike lanes coming next summer, the city says.
River and Stradbrook avenues are slated to get the cycling infrastructure as part of a road improvement project, with construction scheduled to start next summer, according to a recently updated City of Winnipeg website.
The bike lanes will make the area more functional for many cyclists from around the city, says one advocate.
“Pretty much anything from the southeast, from St. Boniface, south Osborne, Pembina — it all flows into that area,” said Mark Cohoe with Bike Winnipeg.
Osborne Street is considered a mixed-use corridor, according to city planning documents. That means it’s meant to be used by motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.
But people like Miles Fisher don’t trust biking in the area.
“Drivers in cars in Winnipeg don’t respect bikers,” said the Osborne Village resident. “It’s always been like that.”
Fisher is skeptical the new bike paths will make a difference. Drivers don’t bother to check when they’re turning off streets in the area, he says — a move that almost got him clipped by a trailer.
“He just didn’t care. He was on his merry way,” he said.
“So I’d rather stick to the sidewalk, even with protected bike lanes. I feel a little safer on the sidewalk. I get sworn at more, though.”
The bike paths through the Village, as well as one on nearby Wellington Crescent, are part of a road improvement project that city hall has already approved. They can be seen on this City of Winnipeg map.
City staff will start meeting next week, however, with business owners who may be concerned about nearby parking.
“We know construction and any new infrastructure development is always a concern for businesses as we build and develop our city for the future,” said Lindsay Somers, executive director of the Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone.
“I look forward to attending the consultation session next week with local businesses to discuss how we will work together to develop a plan and path forward that is satisfactory to all our needs.”
City planners also envisioned a pedestrian-cyclist bridge crossing over the Assiniboine River, but that will remain a dream for now. That proposal has yet to appear before city councillors at all.
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