What’s with the attitude?

So the Free Press published a really complimentary story on downtown the other day, that I was very happy to see. It talked about surveys that had been done showing people think downtown is getting cleaner and safer. It focused mostly on the intercept survey the BIZ did on Portage Avenue asking people if they felt safe on the street and whether they thought Portage looked clean that day.

The results were pretty nice to see:

Do you feel safe on Portage Avenue today?
Yes    89.36%
No     10.64%

Do you feel the Portage Avenue sidewalk is clean today?
Yes    86.6%
No      13.4%

Do you feel comfortable on Portage Avenue today?
Yes     90.4%
No      9.6%

But I can’t believe the venom with which people have bitten back on this story. I really should stop reading comments on news sites, because it’s just depressing, but why are people so angry? Yes of course the BIZ interviewed people ON Portage Avenue–it was an intercept survey, that’s what an intercept survey is. The Omnibus survey was done city-wide and the results weren’t that different, therefore, I don’t see why the results from the Portage Avenue survey are so hard to believe.

On the question of it not being conducted at night–well, we know it’s not as safe at night. No one is disputing that. Wouldn’t you say the same about any neighbourhood you’re in? I’m sure River Heights isn’t as safe at 3am as it is at 3pm either. And that’s why there are programs addressing that very fact. If you feel unsafe walking to your car, call for a SafeWalk. The Downtown Watch will come and escort you to the parkade and they’ll even wait at the bus stop with you if want. Just call 958-SAFE (it’s easy to remember).

Until the ultimate problem of poverty and crime is solved (which I’m sure will be any day now), there are things being done to address the concerns people have. If you choose not to notice or use them, then that’s your choice.

And I can’t believe people don’t think downtown is clean. Go and walk outside and tell me, truthfully, how much litter or graffiti you actually see. Of course you’re going to see litter sometimes (you or someone you know probably helped put it there if you’re honest with yourself–those coffee cups just lying on the sidewalk didn’t get on their own two legs), but the point is that it IS being cleaned up and not left to lie in the street. Downtown may have problems, but cleanliness just isn’t one of them.

OK, breathe Peggy… I think I need a coffee…

12 thoughts on “What’s with the attitude?

  1. I don’t currently live in Winnipeg (although that will change in the next few months), but I was really encouraged to see this survey. People need to keep in mind that there are areas in all cities that are better than others. I know in my many trips to Winnipeg I have felt safe there. Embrace your city ‘Peggers! It’s a beautiful one!

  2. Great post.

    The BIZ should shut down for a month. All hell would break loose. Then the public would really appreciate all that you guys do.

  3. Anyone who thinks Winnipeg is not clean, should go to Ontario and take a walk around Toronto and then they can come back here and really appreciate everything the BIZ does.

  4. I have travelled to more cities than I can count and Winnipeg is BY FAR the cleanest. It is actually shocking how little graffiti there is here. Also, I have worked downtown for years and have never experienced an overly aggressive panhandler. If you say, “No, sorry”, they generally leave you alone.
    Stop the hating people!

  5. Winnipeg has a quite good downtown, and people who don’t appreciate it are missing out on what it means to live in a real city.

    That said, in many places it doesn’t feel very clean. Two reasons come to mind:

    1) The sidewalks themselves — I’m talking about the actual concrete — are not clean. They are stained in places and are noticeably dirtier than in other cities. Also, in winter, the sidewalk snow removal is spotty. If you wait days or weeks to remove the snow after a lighter snowfall, dirty slush accumulates.

    2) In many parts of downtown, the streetscape needs to be upgraded. Better, livelier storefronts and signage will leave a cleaner impression.

    These are things that can be corrected. Downtown remains the most interesting part of the city, with lots of activity, beautiful architecture, and a terrific arts scene. All it needs is more people to love it.

  6. I have to completely agree that Winnipeg streets are actually pretty clean in comparison to a lot of other major cities I’ve been to – Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton just to name a few. I think we do a great job keeping the trash where they should be – in one of the many trash bins around the city. When in Montreal, I had to hold on to my chocolate bar wrapper for blocks before I found a place to throw it.

    Comfort? Yes.

    Safe? During the day although nights aren’t as bad as they were a few years ago.

    As for the venomous remarks on the site, You should check CBC’s comment section. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, turns into a racial or political debate there.

  7. Anonymous posting allows for people to say anything they want without responsibility.

    As far a graffiti goes, the entire city has a problem. It is all over including the the suburbs. Downtown is not much different. There is one on the skywalk bridge at the Bay across Portage that I’d love see to removed but has been there for a year.

    The Downtown Biz does an excellent job with its cleaning but there are still areas that graffiti within its jurisdiction. The survey on cleanliness and safety on Portage seemed too calculated to offer a true assessment of what people think.

    The scorn showed by anonymous posters can’t be taken seriously. I’d love the media to drop such commentary altogether and hold accountability to the same level as a letter to the editors does. Name and confirmation that you sent the post.

    As far as papers blowing around, I don’t know that I see that a lot. But I do see shopping carts quite a bit. They are everywhere though. Walk around Osborne for a while and a Safeway cart will find its way down any number of streets.

    In terms of safety, I have not a problem recently attending events at MTS, the theatre or on business. However, I have been assaulted twice for simply attending university in the past. I hate to say it but it colours your trust in people.

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