What are neighbourhood greenways?
Neighbourhood greenways are on-street routes designated to serve cyclists and pedestrians safely alongside motor vehicles. They typically include a range of treatments to achieve lower vehicle speeds and volumes ranging from signage, bike signals, and pavement markings to varying degrees of traffic calming. Best practice is to reduce speeds on greenways to 30 km/h to help reduce motor vehicle traffic and improve safety for cyclists, but all of Winnipeg’s greenways currently operate as 50 km/h zones.
What is the Reduced-Speed Neighbourhood Greenway Pilot Program?
Winnipeg currently has 11 neighbourhood greenways, all of which allow motor vehicle traffic to operate at 50 km/hr. The pilot program is part of a larger study to look at the impacts of reduced speeds on the safety of Winnipeg roads for all road users. As part of the pilot program, we selected four existing neighbourhood greenways to pilot 30 km/h speed limits:
These segments of roadway all have some existing traffic calming treatments and crossings, but – as part of the pilot program – we have enhanced them with a variety of additional traffic calming measures, such as speed humps and improved intersection crossings. The goal is to increase the perception (and reality) of safety on the greenways, making them more desirable routes for cyclists.
Why are you doing this now?
In 2020, the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works directed the City to pilot reduced speeds on five existing neighbourhood greenways. SPC-IRPW also directed us to liaise with the areas’ Councillors to determine where to pilot the reduced speed and engage with potentially impacted residents to determine their thoughts prior to the pilot program.
Aren’t our greenways already designed to improve safety? Why do you need to reduce the speeds?
Yes and no. While our existing greenways do feature some traffic calming measures, their speed limits remain at 50 km/h. Best practices set out by the Transportation Association of Canada and National Association of City Transportation Officials suggest 30 km/h is a safer speed limit. Other cities have implemented reduced-speed greenways with much success and increased the safety and vitality of these important route types.
How will the reduced speeds impact vehicle traffic?
We anticipate the change may impact traffic in two ways, though we expect these impacts to be minimal. First, the slower speed may increase travel time slightly for drivers on the greenway; however, this will be negligible. Second, those who do not wish to travel at the slower speed may instead choose to move their route to neighbouring streets. While this may increase volumes on surrounding streets, we expect the increase to be minor and an acceptable trade-off for increasing safety on the greenways.
How long will the pilot be in place?
The pilot will be in place until Summer 2022 to allow us to gather a full year of traffic data along the routes. Following the pilot, we will conduct another round of engagement and make further recommendations on the future of reduced speed greenways.
How can I provide feedback on the pilot?
At this time, we are not collecting feedback. We want residents and road users of all modes to experience the “new normal” along these routes for a year prior to telling us what you think. We will be doing another round of public engagement in Summer 2022 to learn how the pilot worked for Winnipeggers, including residents, and will then make recommendations on the future of reduced speed greenways.