Grant Avenue at Thurso Street: a speeding ticket magnet for bus drivers

Records released by the City of Winnipeg show city bus drivers were ticketed 76 times since 2015 and the majority of citations occurred in school zones.

More than half of Winnipeg Transit speeding tickets in school zones

This stretch of road on Grant Avenue, near Thurso Street is where Winnipeg Transit bus drivers get the most speeding tickets. (CBC News)

Winnipeg's fleet of 585 buses collectively cover more than 29 million kilometres on city streets each year, but for some reason drivers keep getting dinged with speeding tickets at one location in particular. 

Documents released by the City of Winnipeg contained copies of the 76 speeding tickets received by Transit bus drivers since the beginning of 2015. CBC News analyzed the records and found that just over a quarter (20) of the citations were from a mobile photo-radar unit on Grant Avenue and Thurso Street, and just over half (39) were for speeding in schools zones.
Mobile photo-enforcement vehicle often set up near the bus stop at Thurso Street on Grant Avenue. (CBC News)

Local photo-enforcement activist with Wise Up Winnipeg, says the fact that professional drivers are getting consistently ticketed in certain areas is suggests the real problem is a lack of proper signage.

"If the city was serious about the drivers knowing there is a reduced zone, whether it be [on Grant Avenue] or whether it be a school zone, they would take proper engineering measures, including, like other cities use, flashing yellow lights entering the school zone to indicate the activity, that it's in enforcement during those hours," said Dube.

Owner of Wise-Up Winnipeg Todd Dube says the speeding tickets received by Transit drivers suggests a lack of proper signage on roads. (CBC News)

Dube says he's not surprised to learn bus drivers most frequently get tickets on Grant Avenue, as that exact stretch of road has historically been among the most lucrative locations for mobile and intersection cameras, according to police photo enforcement statistics.

Over half of tickets from school zones

The records showed that the average speed that triggered a ticket in school zones — which between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. during the school year is reduced to 30 kilometres per hour — was 46 kilometres per hour.

The worst offender is an unknown driver who was clocked going 24 km/h over the limit near École Van Belleghem in Southdale last May. The total fine was $365.
One of the 76 speeding tickets released by city of Winnipeg officials following a freedom of information request. (City of Winnipeg)

A city spokesperson said its drivers are trained to professional standards and safe operation of buses always takes priority over maintaining strict schedule times. Drivers also have to pay for their own tickets, which is done through an automatic payroll deduction.

In total, bus drivers have paid over $18,560 in speeding fines over nearly a two-year window.

Grant Avenue speed limit 'artificially low': Dube

Todd Dube says the sheer number of tickets along Grant Avenue — a four-lane artery with a median — should cause city officials to re-evaluate the posted speed.

Historical city records show that in 1989, the province approved a decrease in speed from 60 to 50 on Grant Avenue as part of an 18-month trial period to conduct a study designed to determine the appropriate speed limits for roads in the area. The study's author concluded that the section of Grant in question should have its speed limit increased to 60 kilometres per hour.
An engineer's report by the City administration following an 18-month study of Grant Avenue in 1989 recommended the speed be increased to 60 kilometres per hour. (Todd Dube, City of Winnipeg)

Another report prepared in 2003 came to the same conclusion, however a motion rejecting the administration's recommendation by then-councillor for River Heights-Fort Garry Garth Steek was carried at standing policy committee meeting on public works.

Current ward Coun. John Orlikow said engineers only take traffic into consideration when making recommendations for higher speeds. He said pedestrian traffic has to be considered as well, especially considering the large number of schools along Grant Avenue and the cross-traffic in the vicinity of Grant Park shopping centre.

"I think out of caution, 50 is appropriate," he said in a telephone interview.

While it was impossible to identify whether or not the ticketed bus drivers were repeat offenders, city officials said if that were the case, it could result in result in re-instruction, remedial training, or disciplinary action for the driver.