Steeves will ban boulevard begging
Intersection panhandling is dangerous to public safety
Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves today pledged to put an end to panhandling at intersections. As mayor, Steeves will introduce a bylaw to ban panhandling on medians, boulevards and intersections because it is an issue of public safety.
“In San Francisco, 33 percent of the people who give money to panhandlers do so because they are afraid,” Steeves said. “Research also shows money raised through panhandling does not go towards a positive outcome, but into feeding addictions.”
Intersection panhandling also creates dangerous situations where people wander into streets and increase the likelihood of injuries as well as vehicle-pedestrian collisions.
Steeves added numerous people tell me they lock their doors and raise their car windows when a man comes up to their car to ask for money.
“People should not at any time feel they are afraid when driving in this city,” Steeves said. “You should have a right to feel safe in your neighbourhood.”
Steeves noted many of the people panhandling at intersections are in all likelihood able to work but choose to panhandle at intersections for economic reasons. Intersection panhandling causes dangerous conditions for both drivers and panhandlers, and does not promote a positive image for the city. It needs to be stopped.
Steeves comments on recent polls
Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves offered the following comment regarding opinion polls released today.
“Right from the beginning of this campaign, we have had three right-of-centre candidates running to be mayor. To prevent the NDP from taking over City Hall, it is necessary to consolidate the support of right-of-centre voters. It is clear from the Probe poll that Judy Wasylycia-Leis can only be defeated with one right-of-centre candidate in the mayoral race.”
Steeves endorses use of UAVs for police work
Unmanned aerial vehicles offer cost-effective option and improve public safety
Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves today said he will enact a plan for the Winnipeg Police Service to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to assist with current flight operations.
“This is a cost-effective way to augment the services provided by the Winnipeg Police Service helicopter,” Steeves said. “By using UAVs, we can improve safety for everyone.”
At approximately $33,000 per unit, UAVs are being used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia to investigate crimes in progress, infrared searches, tracking and surveillance of suspect vehicles, lost person searches, photography at crime scenes, illuminating crime scenes, or to allow for aerial surveillance of fires and grow ops. The RCMP say they are also using UAVs in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the Northwest Territories.
The WPS helicopter was dispatched to 3,445 incidents and actually attended 2,688 incidents in 2012. Aerial support for the Winnipeg Police Service’s work helps make Winnipeg a safer place and reduces crime.
Steeves said he would work with the Winnipeg Police Service and the Winnipeg Police Board to set out a clear operations process and budget which enables for one UAV would be operational at all times. The WPS helicopter would remain the primary option, and the UAVs will provide support when the helicopter is not available.
The UAVs typically used are quad-propeller helicopters and are regulated by Transport Canada. A trained police officer with a special flight operations certificate may operate the UAV by remote control. Technology allows the UAV to be in the air for an hour or several hours. They can be operated from 25 kilometres away. UAVs can fly in weather as cold as -25 C.
• The flight operations unit of the WPS is budgeted to use 1,000 hours, and employs a chief pilot, two line pilots and four tactical flight officers.
• Currently, the WPS helicopter costs $500 per hour to operate.
• The helicopter can only fly for 2.5 hours per day. In 2012, the helicopter was not in the air for 25 days because of weather, 61 days because of unscheduled maintenance, and 28 days because of staffing shortages.
• To add an additional helicopter will cost $4 million in capital costs. The provincial government pays for $1.3 million and $1.5 million of the operations of the existing helicopter. Similar additional provincial funding would be required to put a second WPS helicopter into service.
• Unmanned Aerial Vehicles used by the RCMP in Nova Scotia cost approximately $33,000 per unit and its operations are subject similar Transport Canada safety regulations as the helicopter.
• UAV operators require Transport Canada training and certification.
Fielding endorses Steeves for Mayor
Fielding endorses Steeves for Mayor
Fielding says Steeves has the infrastructure renewal plan Winnipeg needs
Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves was endorsed today by St. James-Brooklands Coun. Scott Fielding as the best candidate to be Mayor of Winnipeg.
“I am very pleased to have Scott come on board with his endorsement of my campaign,” Steeves said. “His support for my campaign and my commitment to Rebuilding Winnipeg’s infrastructure means a great deal to me.”
Fielding said he was very impressed with the Steeves Plan to renew Winnipeg’s crumbling infrastructure and wanted to help make that plan a reality.
“There can be no debate Winnipeg’s infrastructure must to be repaired now,” Fielding said. “Of all the mayoral candidates, Gord has the best plan to address this critical need. His plan makes sense and will provide real solutions for all Winnipeggers. I am proud to offer him my full support in his campaign.”
Making the announcement near the north gate of Assiniboine Park, Fielding noted Steeves played a significant role in helping develop the governance model for one of Winnipeg’s crown jewels. With Steeves’s help, the Assiniboine Park Conservancy became a very successful non-profit organization.
“Gord’s hard work at the City Council table helped make the Assiniboine Park Conservancy a reality,” Fielding said. “He has proven time and time again he has the experience to tackle the many issues Winnipeg faces, and provides successful solutions to those challenges. That’s why he will be the most effective voice for Winnipeggers in the Mayor’s chair.”
No to Rapid Transit Phase 2
Steeves will shelve Phase 2 of Bus Rapid Transit
Parker Lands plan adds $ 100 million to cost, but will not produce results for taxpayers
Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves said he will stop Phase 2 of the Parker Lands Bus Rapid Transit plan if elected mayor.
“My vision for the city is to ensure a rapid transit plan which not only offers the most direct route, but also enhances the developments already on Pembina Highway,” Steeves said. “A BRT route through the Parker Lands does not accomplish either of these goals. This BRT line is Winnipeg’s BiPole 3.”
Steeves said there is no reason to have a referendum on cancelling Phase 2 of the BRT plan. With Steeves the only candidate committed to cancelling Phase 2 through the Parker Lands, the Oct. 22 municipal election will serve as that referendum.
“Using the Parker Lands for rapid transit causes more harm than good,” Steeves said. “Not only does it cost $100 million more, but it also means people along Pembina Highway from Jubilee Boulevard to Bishop Grandin Boulevard would be better off taking a regular bus to connect to the Phase 1 of BRT.”
Spending $600 million to save only a few minutes in transit time is not an effective use of taxpayer dollars and does not improve transit service. The city’s share of the BRT costs will result in at least $221 million in debt. That works out to $600 per person in addition to the city’s current debt responsibilities.
In addition to those costs, another $20 million per year will need to be spent, starting in 2020, on the public-private partnership portion of the BRT project. This could result in property tax increases for Winnipeggers, transit fee increases or both. How that $20 million gets paid for will need to be addressed in the 2015 city budget. To cover those costs, a five percent property tax increase is required.
That’s why Gord Steeves believes it is a major mistake to proceed with Phase 2 of BRT and will not support this plan. He will call for council to stop this plan at the very first meeting of the new city council.
Photo radar must focus on safety and fairness
Photo radar must focus on safety and fairness
Photo radar enforcement should be about safety, not a cash grab
Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves said today the way photo radar enforcement is conducted needs to be changed to promote both safety and fairness.
“Winnipeg’s photo radar enforcement program can only be about worker safety,” Steeves said. “It fails the moment it becomes about revenue for the city. I support a photo radar enforcement policy which is reasonable and fair for all citizens.”
Steeves will implement a policy where signage is present that clearly indicates photo radar is present at construction sites, and enforcement will take place. Signage will also be required to clearly indicate where the lowered speed limit for that construction zone ends. Reader boards will also be present at construction sites indicating what your speed is and what the speed limit is in that zone. Posted signs showing photo radar will be used for enforcement 24 hours per day, seven days per week will also encourage safety.
“We don’t want anyone speeding through a construction zone,” Steeves said. “A completely successful implementation of this policy will result in zero photo radar tickets.”
An additional measure Steeves would implement is a two-tiered fine structure for those speeding in construction zones. When workers are not present, fines will be lower.
“A ticket of $200 to $300 can be enough of a deterrent,” Steeves said. “A $750 ticket for going 14 km/h over the limit can be both devastating and unfair to people when the construction zone was poorly marked.”
Other improvements Steeves advocates include adjusting the length of time yellow lights are used at traffic intersections controlled by lights based on the speed limit of that road.
If tickets need to be issued, they should be sent without delay so drivers can learn of their offense and correct their driving habits. By making changes to promote safety and fairness, Winnipeggers can regain their trust and confidence in a photo radar system that restores a focus on safety over revenue.
24/7 Road Work
Here was my announcement about 24/7 Road Repair as covered by Metro News Winnipeg:
Mayor candidate Gord Steeves says road construction crews should be out all night long.
The former councillor made the announcement Friday morning, saying he was “proposing a solid plan of specific actions that will address the many infrastructure issues plaguing our city.”
The chief promise was to make sure 75 per cent of road construction happened 24-hours a day, seven days a week in order to minimize traffic restrictions and the impact on motorists.
Other promises included:
- Start a committee to monitor projects over $1 million for things like cost overages and scheduling. That committee would be responsible for providing Executive Policy Committee with a monthly update. The funding for the committee would come from the existing administrative budget, said Steeves.
- ‘Blitz’ potholes with a commitment to fixing every pothole on every street in the spring within a 1-2 week period. Fund this with 0.5 per cent of the regional street budget annually – about $421,000.
- Using previous studies done by the city, incorporate life-cycle costing for all significant infrastructure projects.
- A five-year freeze on building new infrastructure except for new projects that are funded by outside sources.
Steeves said his initiatives would not cost any additional money. “This plan will not require additional funding as it will reallocate existing resources and focus on the priorities of Winnipeggers.”
A Safer Downtown for Winnipeg Families
Last week I was the first candidate to layout a comprehensive downtown safety strategy of this campaign. As part of my plan to rebuild Winnipeg, I emphasized the importance of safety downtown by targeting chronic issues including individuals are frequently in violation of the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act.
The vast, vast majority of the people who live, work and patronize downtown make it a neighbourhood we’d all like to see flourish. Regrettably a very small minority of these folks cause issues that make downtown feel unsafe. When elected mayor we’ll enforce an ‘intervene early’ strategy intended to make downtown safe and help folks in need get the help they need.
Specifics of my strategy include:
• Creating a high-priority area map and direct the Winnipeg Police Service to saturate downtown P1 areas
• Establishing a downtown Winnipeg Police Service office on Portage Avenue
• Dispatching more WPS officers and cadets on during peak IPDA (Intoxicated Persons Detention Act) violations
• Directing WPS to report establishments to MB Liquor and Lotteries who aresuspected of over-serving
• Reporting all individuals charged under IPDA to the Province of Manitoba
This plan is similar to the Community Mobilization model currently implemented by the Prince Albert Saskatchewan Police Service.
Making downtown safe for everyone is a key pillar of my plan to rebuild Winnipeg. I believe we can do this making the neighbourhood an exciting place to live and visit and by giving folks the help they need to lead healthier lives.