Manitoba

Winnipeg mayor defends nixing active transportation study

Some Winnipeggers are angry that the city has scrapped a study aimed at pedestrian and cycling strategies, but Mayor Sam Katz is defending the move.

Study was supposed to plan, develop cycling and walking paths

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz defends move to cut $400,000 from the city's active transportation planning program, while local cyclists weigh in. 2:03

Some Winnipeggers are angry that the city has scrapped a study aimed at pedestrian and cycling strategies, but Mayor Sam Katz is defending the move.

Earlier this year, the city had dedicated $400,000 for the study, which was supposed to plan and develop future cycling and walking paths through Winnipeg.

But Katz said the money would be better spent on actually building the paths, not just talking about them.   "I think you know that the citizens probably believe we already spend too much money on consultants," he said Wednesday.

"I will say that there are times they provide a very valuable service. In this scenario, we have lots of work to do on active transportation."

However, critics ask how active transit routes would be chosen and built without plans.

Mark Cohoe, the head of Bike Winnipeg, said he was shocked and disappointed to hear of the city's plan.

Cohoe said the city could have had input from leading consultants in North America, so now he worries officials won't be able to move ahead in a logical way.

"It means we're not going to be moving forward," Cohoe said.

"It also means that we're not going to have that prioritization of events, so it will sort of be a haphazard methodology that will be used to figure out where our next steps will go."

Cohoe said he has been told by officials that a lack of resources forced them to cut the study.