News / Winnipeg

Bike Winnipeg seeks input on bike bridge pitch

The group says a new Scotia Street to Kildonan Drive AT Bridge would provide an a vital walking and cycling connection across the Red River.

Pedestrians and a cyclist make their way across the Disraeli brigde in Winnipeg Manitoba, September 22, 2016.

Lyle Stafford/For Metro

Pedestrians and a cyclist make their way across the Disraeli brigde in Winnipeg Manitoba, September 22, 2016.

Winnipeg, the River City, already has dozens of waterway spanning bridges—but bike advocates feel it could use another.

Where the Red River dissects the bustling Seven Oaks and Kildonan Drive neighbourhoods, Bike Winnipeg director Mark Cohoe notes there’s a nearly 5km gap “where there isn’t any crossing.”

It’s fine for motorists to get up to the Settlers bridge, but for cyclists, “it creates quite the detour.”

“It’s quite the discouragement to people,” Cohoe said. “We want to make sure we’re not forcing people too far out of the way to cross (the river).

“We need to be taking care of all users, not just drivers.”

The City of Winnipeg’s own Pedestrian and Cycling Strategy calls for a denser, more connected bicycle network and direct routes between destinations.

It also calls for a river crossing between the two neighbourhoods Cohoe agrees need one so desperately.

Bike Winnipeg will go to bat for the plan in city hall, but not before holding public forums to gather feedback and ensure the intended users agree it could work.

“We’re hoping to hear what kind of use people would get out of this, what other destinations it would open up to them,” Cohoe said, noting it could benefit people travelling between Munroe West and Scotia Heights communities as well.

“It is something that might encourage (people who don’t bike) to bike downtown to work, to the Forks, maybe to get out onto the greenway… even the connection to Birds Hill Park.”

If done right, it could also provide safer passage between areas already somewhat connected by less “bike friendly” bridges, such as the Harry Lazeranko Bridge.

Based on an estimate from a similar project planned for the University of Manitoba and St. Vital neighbourhoods in October 2013, Cohoe thinks the cost of the bridge he’s pondering could cost roughly $15 million.

People will be able to have their say at drop-in public consultations on Sept. 24 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 720 Henderson Highway, and Sept. 27 from 4-8 p.m. at 160 Smithfield Ave.