Last night at our regular meeting of council I asked administration for an update on my proposed sidewalk and crossing improvements at McDiarmid and Victoria Ave. In the 2018 election I campaigned on this being a major priority, and I’m happy to share that in Spring/Summer 2021, work will be completed to improve pedestrian and vehicle safety, while drastically improving the intersection for people with mobility concerns. Proud to see this project move to the next phase and a huge kudos goes out to city planner Sam van Huisen who has been patient and diligent in seeing this through.
Councillor Shaun Cameron (enquiry): In November 2018, I brought forward an enquiry for further study on the intersection of McDiarmid Drive and Victoria Avenue to see if perhaps pedestrian safety measures could be put in place to calm traffic and allow for safe passage for pedestrians through this busy corridor. Having responded to a number of resident requests, I felt it prudent to bring it forward at that time. In the passage of the 2020budget, funds were allocated as part of that budget to complete the work, but 2020 passed without completion of the pedestrian corridor. I was wondering if perhaps city officials could provide an update on when the proposed and approved project would move forward, and whether any further funds would need to be allocated(over and above the approved 2020 budgeted amount) for the 2021 budget. As we are close to deliberation on this budget, I would like further follow-up on my promise to the residents of University ward and be ready and in a position to propose the funds needed for the work should we require further funding.
RESPONSE (provided by Sam van Huisen, Traffic & Transportation Planner)The existing crosswalk on Victoria Avenue at McDiarmid Drive was evaluated to explore if additional improvements were necessary to accommodate pedestrian and motorist safety. It was determined that Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) would be an appropriate and cost effective improvement as recommended by the Transportation Association of Canada’s Guidelines for Pedestrian Crosswalks. The city has approached Manitoba Infrastructure with our analysis to garner a cost share for the enhanced treatment. Given that it was very late in the year in 2019 when we approached MI, the City included a portion of funds in the 2020 Budget to help fund the project. Unfortunately, the project was delayed due to the effects of COVID-19 and the Province’s insistence on having a full pedestrian corridor with overhead lights on davits. The Engineering department has received assurances that the project will move forward in 2021 and has requested the funds be included in the 2021 Budget for consideration by City Council. Engineering has also identified some sidewalk approach improvements to improve access for all pedestrian and assistive mobility devices. These improvements are also being planned for the 2021 sidewalk improvement program this summer.