UPDATE – Advance Warning Flashers on Kenaston Blvd

I’ve received many calls over the past three years from residents concerned about pedestrian and cycling safety when crossing Kenaston to access Bridgwater Town Center. Specifically crossing Kenaston at North and South Town Roads and at Bison Rd. This is a very difficult challenge for a number of reasons. Here is a brief summary, with actions initiated and more in the works:

In 2018 I asked the traffic engineers to explore options for reducing speed along Kenaston Boulevard between North Town Road and South Town Road, and to install flashing warning lights before the intersections at North Town and South Town Roads. The engineers completed the study in February 2020: Kenaston Study.

I have recently been notified by Public Works that the following intersections are on the priority list for installing Advance Warning Flashers, and pending budget approval the estimated installations will occur:

  • Kenaston Blvd & Waverley St: Northbound/Southbound (slated for 2023)
  • Kenaston Blvd Southbound & North Town Rd: Southbound (slated for 2023)
  • Kenaston Blvd Northbound  & Southtown Rd: Northbound (slated for 2023)

Background:

Kenaston Blvd is designated a ‘trade corridor’ or also known as an ‘expressway’. From the Perimeter Highway through to the interchange (where Kenaston turns into Bishop Grandin Blvd) the entire route is part of Winnipeg’s strategic goods movement route. Kenaston is a designated full time truck route, it will eventually link into a cloverleaf and into the St Norbert By- Pass (75 PTHWY), Kenaston is part of the Mid Continent Trade Corridor Network, it is used by thousands of vehicles to access Brady Resource Management Center (landfill) and it is a key link in the Manitoba Capital Region’s transportation network. Kenaston also is the main connection into the neighbourhoods of Waverley West. I really encourage you to read this detailed overview to get a better understanding of the significance of this section Kenaston Blvd in our neighbourhoods:  Waverley West Arterial Roads

 Location of commercial hub in center of residential neighbourhoods:

The neighbourhoods of Bridgwater have more sidewalks and pathways than any other neighbourhood in the City of Winnipeg. Located in the middle of the neighbourhoods is the commercial center – Bridgwater Town Center. Designing the commercial hub in the center of neighbourhoods, with all sidewalks and paths linking to the hub, has the potential to work very well.  The challenge I have is  – the entire commercial hub is surrounded by Kenaston, the trade corridor. I’m not city planner, or land use planner, but – to be frank, I think this layout, this design is not ideal and supportive of a walkable community.  Walking, cycling and driving through a trade corridor to reach the commercial center presents all kinds of safety concerns.

Safety concerns crossing Kenaston:

  • Crossing an 80 km/hr  trade corridor requires a high level of awareness and concentration, regardless if you are in a vehicle, walking or on a bike.
  • Tractor trailers are travelling at 80 km along Kenaston, vehicles for the most part, are travelling the speed limit, and some travelling faster.
  • The amber warning light is on for 4 seconds before it turns from green to red. Four seconds is the standard transition time from green to red in Winnipeg & Manitoba. Four seconds to transition from travelling 80 km/hr to stopping at a red light, when you are driving a loaded tractor trailer is a challenge.
  • Kenaston splits to go around Town Center, and for whatever reason, some people get confused when entering Kenaston and end up travelling in the wrong direction – on the trade corridor.

Action to improve safety:

These are initiatives I have had implemented, and am working on with the traffic engineers:

  • Pedestrian Count Down Signals: Two years ago I had countdown signals installed at all the crossings. These signals display the amount of time a pedestrian / cyclists has to safely cross a street.
  • Installation of large directional arrows indicating the ‘direction traffic is flowing’ for vehicles turning onto Kenaston at North / South Town Rd and Bison Road.
  • Installation of large ‘Wrong Way’ signs for vehicles who may enter onto Kenaston, the wrong way (one was hit and is being replaced)
  • Speed Study:  As mentioned, in 2018 I asked the traffic engineers to explore options for reducing speed along Kenaston Boulevard between North Town Road and South Town Road, and to install flashing warning lights before the intersections at North Town and South Town Roads.
  • To summarize, because Kenaston is a trade corridor, the engineers do not want to reduce speed in and around the town center area. The four above Advance Warning Flashers will be installed based on priorities. There are other higher priority areas – see report:  Yellow Advanced Flashing Lights

In summary:

  • I will continue to work with the traffic engineers to look at ways to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists crossing Kenaston – but . . . the bottom line, in my opinion, is pedestrians and cyclists and vehicles – must always use EXTREME caution when crossing a trade corridor. I am open to any comments and suggestions.