Manitoba

Bike paths on Berry Street ripped up, residents question city plan

Residents along Berry Street say they don't understand why the City of Winnipeg would build bike paths only to damage them by subsequent work for another project.

Hydro work also tears up 5-year-old cycling paths

Bike paths on Berry Street ripped up, residents question city plan

8 years ago
Duration 2:29
Residents along Berry Street say they don't understand why the City of Winnipeg would build bike paths only to damage them by subsequent work for another project.

Residents along Berry Street say they don't understand why the City of Winnipeg would build bike paths only to damage them by subsequent work for another project.

The two bike paths along Berry were completed at the end of 2010 as part of an active transportation strategy funded by the province, the federal government and the city.

Some residents on Berry were angered by the original bike path project from the start. The paths run along each side of the curb and meander around trees and light posts.

"It's the only street in North America with two sidewalks on it … and they are all dirty," said Agostino "Gus" Fiorentino. 

Fiorentino has run his barber shop on Berry for the past eight years and watched as crews built the bike paths in 2010 and 2011, and then saw other workers damage them last year doing sewer work.

"It's just a waste of money," said Fiorentino, who didn't want the paths installed in the first place.

Two bike paths along Berry Street in Winnipeg were completed at the end of 2010 as part of an active transportation strategy funded by the province, the federal government and the city. They are now damaged by subsequent work for another project. (Sean Kavanagh/CBC)
He said the work crews seemed to disappear during the sewer repairs last fall. Fiorentino was told they left to work on roads around Polo Park.

"They stopped here, and then went to do on St. James. Because they had to — Target has a priority to be opened up first. The Target ended up closed."

The paths now have large sections cut out for replacement and there is debris everywhere on Berry from last fall's work.

Lindy Alderson has lived on Berry for 24 years. She saw the bike paths built, then damaged.

"I don't know what the hell they thought they repaired in the process of doing that. They screwed these up because they drove their equipment over it. They just screwed it up," Anderson said.

City admits delay, apologizes for inconvenience 

The city admits that some of the damage to the bike path was caused by combined sewer and basement flood relief work started in April 2014.

A city spokesperson also acknowledges the project was delayed and will seek compensation from the contractor in charge of the work.

"The project has been delayed for reasons beyond the control of the City including a period of time in July/August 2014 when the contractor reassigned some of its crews to projects in the Polo Park area. Because of these delays, the City will be requesting compensation from the contractor," the city stated in an email to CBC News.

Agostino 'Gus' Fiorentino has been running his barber shop on Berry Street for the past eight years and watched as crews built the bike paths in 2010 and 2011, and then see other workers damage them last year doing sewer work. (Sean Kavanagh/CBC)
The city also said Manitoba Hydro is responsible for much of the damage to the bike path. Hydro has been installing new street lighting on Berry Street and was required to cut out sections of the path for the street light cable replacement.

Public works and infrastructure committee chair Janice Lukes says she understands the residents' frustration.

"I don't think there was a big embracing of the active transportation path in the first place, and then two years later we have the sewer works that starts, and then the sewer work is delayed and then the sewer work starts up again, and then Hydro starts upgrading their hydro poles. It's been a long process," she said.

Lukes is steering a 20-year, $300-million cycling/pedestrian plan through city hall and promises that active transportation routes will be better planned and have more consultation before being implemented.

The city says the sewer work and repairs to the damaged bike paths will be completed by the end of this month.

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