Dealing With Vehicle Speed In Our Neighbourhoods
This is a long, and very frank update and commentary on vehicular speed in the City, what I’m doing as Councillor, what the City is doing on a broader scale, and what YOU can do to help.
First, I want to extend my sincere sympathies to the family whose pet was the victim of a hit and run last night in Bridgwater Lakes. This is a tragedy no one should experience. Speed kills – it devastates – and changes lives forever. I’ve received much feedback directed to me on Facebook and in emails about what I am doing to solve the speeding issues in the Waverley West ward. I encourage you to read this entire posting – it’s a long one – and then to call me if YOU want to be part of the solution. We are all in this together.
Please also know I have a very intimate understanding of the devastating results of speed. At 18 yrs old, my dad was killed in a car crash because of speed and visual obstruction. At the time, I was the oldest, my brother was 14 and the twin brother and sister were 12. My mum was 48. Life changed – forever. Everything changed – forever. In 2000, I got married, we had triplets. Three babies can trigger memories, and action. Living in a growing city with 3 boys & knowing too well the fragility of life, I became a passionate advocate for safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists. So much so, its led me down a long and winding path, pursuing to goal of dramatically improving safety on City of Winnipeg streets, sidewalks and pathways. I’ve met many many wonderful people over the years who share this passion & goals – Beth, Mark, Anders, Paul, Jeannette, Jaimie, Jackie, Shoni, Luis, Curry, so so many – and thank them for their continued passion and support.
- If there is any doubt about my work and efforts in the area of improving safety on City of Winnipeg streets, sidewalks and pathways, please check out my website – as I’ve written extensively on many topics and see a few highlights at the bottom of this post.
- Please also know, I won’t take offense to those who call me out for ‘not doing anything’ about the speed on our roads. I live your frustrations daily and have for most of my adult life. Making change in a dysfunctional bureaucracy like the City – is incredibly hard, BUT will occur if people speak up.
At the July 18th City Council meeting – I rose to speak how I’ve observed over the last couple of years , a tremendous PUBLIC outcry to have more traffic calming and speed reduction on our Winnipeg streets. This outcry is now coming from the general public and not just the ‘advocates’. Its great – its needed, and it’s needed even more to make an impact. Never in my 19 years of working in this field have I seen so much public outcry about speed in our City as I have in these last few years, and with this brings hope for even more change.
We are a growing City, we are growing through immigration, and we are living in denser, tighter, smaller environments. And we are going to keep growing through immigration. I really encourage you to read the Community Trends and Performance Report 2019 – if you only read one City of Winnipeg report – this is the report to read to understand how our City is growing.
SPEED in the WAVERLEY WEST WARD
Here is what I am working on:
SHORT TERM INITIATIVES:
Winnipeg Police Service- Traffic Division patrols:
I reach out to our District Inspector requesting the traffic division regularly. Winnipeg Police Service patrols in both marked and unmarked vehicles. I’ve requested targeted patrols on certain streets (Appleford Gate, Lake Bend, Bridgland N & S, and others). They do these patrols, BUT – in the big picture of City crime, the WPS are currently very focused on the impacts of the meth crisis – break ins, murder, guns and more.
Changing the built environment – the actual road structure – can have very positive results in changing driver behaviour and speed. I have little faith in people reading signs and complying with the speed limits posted. Please know I have seven speed table pilots, on seven streets – currently underway. Speed tables (not humps) are new to Winnipeg. Public Works doesn’t even have a policy developed yet. I volunteered to pilot on many streets. The Department has made some mistakes during these pilots and is learning. I am paying the price for these mistakes through many frustrated calls and emails – but will persevere as the speed tables are proving to be effective in most cases.
Please Slow Down signs:
I just received a new shipment of these signs, you are welcome to have some if you feel they will help – send me an email. I’m not overly optimistic they help.
Speed Reduction on Residential Streets:
Public Works is to report back to City Council late fall (2019) with recommendations on traffic calming and speed reduction on residential streets. This will be interesting and create much discussion. Cities all over the world are moving to 30 km (vs 50km) on residential streets.
Speed & Traffic Study Information on my website:
I have one of the most comprehensive Councillor websites focused on ward issues and regularly post information in each neighbourhood on speed and traffic studies that are underway. I encourage you to bookmark and be aware of what is going on in your neighbourhood. Please send any suggestions you have.
LONGER TERM INITIATIVES
- Frankly, I am not pleased with many of MPI’s current approaches to educate citizens on traffic safety. Just last month I went to book the radar guns and digital signs for a speed awareness program on Bluemeadow – but was informed by MPI that they discontinued the program and have no other program to help residents build awareness on speed.
- I do not agree with their policy of allowing anyone arriving in Canada to be able to drive for 90 days BEFORE taking a written or driver’s road test. To be clear, someone who’s never driven in Canada can purchase a vehicle, and use their home country’s valid driver’s license to drive on the streets for 90 days – WITHOUT taking a written or driver’s road test. The only way anyone will know if they have a valid driver’s license is if the Winnipeg Police Service stops them and ask to see it. I’ve travelled the world and know the driving standards and signage in many countries vary dramatically. Many times there are language barriers with signage. I know when I was cycling in Nepal, I had no idea what the signs were directing me to do! I am in discussions with MPI on this and other ‘off shore permitting’ programs. MPI – as with any bureaucracy – will not be moving fast on any change, whatever it is.
- I encourage you to discuss this issue with Provincial candidates campaigning in the election.
- Installing speed cameras, in my opinion, would be ideal. I know there are two schools of thought on speed cameras, but I believe they do control speed. The Province of Manitoba regulates where they are installed. The City does not install or have the final say in where these cameras are installed, or even how many are installed.
- I encourage you to discuss this with Provincial candidates campaigning in the election.
Comprehensive City of Winnipeg
Road Safety Strategy:
- Winnipeg does NOT have a Road Safety Strategy. I made a motion in 2016 requesting the Public Works Committee to direct the Public Service to initiate one. Cities all across Canada and the world have road safety strategies. It’s preposterous that Winnipeg has just barely started on developing one.
Lack of Leadership from the Mayor on Road Safety:
- Winnipeg’s governance model is called the ‘strong mayor model’. The Mayor sets the direction and builds a team (Executive Policy Committee) to support the direction he wants to take the City. For me, as I have a very personal interest in road safety, I am extremely disappointed that the Mayor is not championing road safety IN CONJUNCTION with the hundreds of millions Council is investing in road repairs. Again, it’s preposterous that the Mayor will not secure funding in a billion dollar budget to hire professionals to develop a road safety strategy for our Winnipeg roads. The project currently underway to develop a strategy is occurring off the side of someone’s desk – in other words not a priority.
- I encourage you to reach out to the Mayor and express your concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT CAN YOU DO to help calm the streets ?
- Call me. 204 986-6824 Email me. email@example.com
- I will help you organize a ‘speed awareness’ discussion with your neighbours. We will pick a date, I will deliver flyers, and host a meeting on your street to discuss speeding issues.
- The speeders in our neighbourhoods are primarily people who live in the neighbourhood. Sure – there are some ‘cutting through’ – but – most speeders live in the area. Let’s work to create a better awareness of the life changing impacts speed can have.
- YOUR involvement to create awareness on your street is an important first step.
Please know, safety on our streets, sidewalks and pathways IS important to me – it is a TOP PRIORITY.
Thanks for reading.
Councillor Luke’s Background on Improving Safety on Winnipeg streets, sidewalks and pathways
15 yrs PRIOR to being elected:
Provincial focus: Director, Trails Manitoba
- Invited to Chair Provincial task force & provide recommendations to Province of Manitoba
City Wide focus: Chair Winnipeg Trails Association
- Invited to sit on City of Winnipeg advisory committees on active transportation, transit
Neighbourhood focus: Traffic Calming a neighbourhood
- Funded local experts to study active transportation & traffic calming in Europe to bring ideas back to Winnipeg
- Fundraised to bring local experts to Wpg to share knowledge & supported many conferences (Gil Penelosa, Mikael Colville-Andersen, Blanka Bracic, Janette Sadik-Khan, etc.)
2014 – Current:
Highlights of key initiatives to traffic calm and improve safety on City of Winnipeg streets, sidewalks and pathways
- 2014 Championed City of Winnipeg’s first Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies guiding improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists
- 2014 Piloting Traffic Calming – speed tables (needs updating as I’ve piloted more)
- 2016 Develop Comprehensive City of Winnipeg Road Safety Strategy
- 2016 Improve snow and ice removal on sidewalks and pathways
- Current: Countless traffic calming studies are underway – check out the ‘Your Neighbourhood’ page on my website and scroll
- Manitoba Public Insurance: working with MPI clean up some ‘grey areas’ for licensing
For work in the fields of active transportation & improving safety