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Sep 22, 2015
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New advocacy group calls for lower speed limits on Edmonton's residential streets

A new advocacy group is calling for lower speed limits on residential areas and trying to demonstrate just how often people walking and biking are injured on Edmonton’s roads.

Three people are hit and either injured or killed every two days on Edmonton’s streets, more than 5,400 people in the last 10 years, said Conrad Nobert, one of the founders of a new safe streets advocacy group called Paths for People.

The group is calling for 30 km/h speed limits on residential side streets (not collector or arterial roads), and road design that considers all users for road renewal projects and in new neighbourhoods.

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
City Charter could help slow down drivers
The long-awaited city charters could let big cities make roads safer by giving them more control over local speed limits.

Gerry Shimko, executive director of Edmonton’s office of traffic safety, said the two big cities are looking at the possibility.

“We’re working with the City of Calgary on what would it look like if we reduced speeds in residential area to 40 km/h,” he said.

He said currently, the default on any unmarked road province-wide is 50 km/h. That includes residential neighborhoods. If negotiated with the province, the cities could have new jurisdiction over speed limits.

Shimko said giving the cities that power could be a huge cost savings. Right now there’s nothing stopping cities from making residential streets 40 or 30 km/h zones, but they have to post signs saying as much, which can come at a considerable cost.

“For those communities that want 40 kilometers an hour it’s just such an expense to do,” said Coun. Bev Esslinger.

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)
Edmonton doctor calls for plain language on pedestrian deaths
This past weekend, Dr. Darren Markland signed the death certificate for a 27-year-old man a driver hit in a marked crosswalk.

Markland said he told the family that the man, who was on life support, was unlikely to live a fulfilling life after suffering a severe brain injury, a common injury for pedestrians struck by motorists.

The family asked Markland and several other doctors to discontinue life support.

But while Markland said he's experienced many pedestrian deaths at the Royal Alexandra Hospital — he cared for the 39-year-old mother hit by a city driver in early 2015, who eventually died — the fact Edmonton recently committed itself to pedestrian safety now sees him speaking out.

In late 2015, the city announced it was the first Canadian municipality to adopt a 'Vision Zero' strategy, which would see it introduce measures to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero annually, something cities in Sweden have nearly achieved.

Markland said he was hopeful then, but today sees "nothing solid" behind Vision Zero.

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)
New campaign launched to push lower speed limits in residential areas
A new community group is picking up the torch to push for lower residential speed limits, but this time they’re aiming for a provincewide change.

“We need to reduce the speed. The impact is huge,” said Habib Fatmi, staff member at the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, which voted unanimously to launch a new 40-km/h campaign at its recent winter general meeting.

The Government of Alberta sets the default speed to 50 km/h on any “highway located within an urban area” through the Traffic Safety Act. Edmonton city council has debated lowering the speed on residential streets to 40 km/h as recently as 2012, but it cost $500,000 just to test the concept in six pilot neighbourhoods because of the number of speed limit signs needed.

Fatmi said the EFCL campaign will be aimed at provincial legislation to make the shift easier. Since only 45 out of 157 leagues were at the last meeting, he’ll work to build support among the rest of the leagues, before they launch a public campaign and reach out to counterparts in Calgary.

He hopes the success mirrors popular grassroots movements like 20’s Plenty in the United Kingdom, which launched in 2007 and has seen many neighbourhoods in Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool make the switch to 20 miles per hour. It increases safety and lets people safely walk and bike in their neighbourhood, Fatmi said, pointing to statistics from the World Health Organization that show pedestrians have a 90 per cent chance of surviving when struck by a vehicle travelling 30 km/h, compared to a less than 50 per cent chance after an impact at 45 km/h.

“It’s a significant difference,” he said. “Enforcement is another issue, but people will start following it.”

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
The way media and police report Edmonton's pedestrian collisions a problem, says advocate
The way in which pedestrian collisions are reported in the media negatively affects public perception, says a pedestrian safety advocate.

“The fact is, according to our data, every two days at least three people — that includes people walking or on bikes — are getting hit by vehicles,” said Conrad Nobert, co-founder of Paths for People, which creates maps showing pedestrian incidents in Edmonton based on data it requests from the city.

“But the carnage that’s going on in our streets is largely ignored and forgotten. The police and media in large only report when there’s a fatality, but there are injuries of all kinds happening.”

Edmonton Police Service spokesperson Anna Batchelor said the police alert media and the public about pedestrian injuries only when public safety is involved.

“It may be because there’s a traffic disruption, a road closure or we need witnesses to come forward in an investigation,” she said.

“We simply can’t report every collision — otherwise there would be hundreds of cases.”

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)
'Minimum connectivity' vision to be launched
Paths for People is set to release its vision of what it calls a 'minimum connectivity' grid in Edmonton that, if built, could see roughly 140,000 people live within two blocks of safe cycling and walking infrastructure.

On Friday, the group will publicly release the grid proposal it has developed through a crowdsourced map online, which has asked the more than 340 participant cyclists and walkers for their direct feedback.

The grid will be presented online and at a special event with international urbanist Gil Penalosa, who is coming to Edmonton to discuss how the group's vision can improve the city.

Penalosa coined the 'minimum connectivity' term as a way to discuss city infrastructure not aimed at motorists that can provide a bare minimum of functionality for cyclists and walkers.

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)
Paths for the People lays out Edmonton bike lane plans sought by riders
It’s a dramatically different map.

Edmonton’s old vision of a bike lane network relied on painted lines on the road, evenly distributed from the inner city to the suburbs. A new pitch from cyclists calls for a dense network of high-quality, separated bike lines in the core with a few extending to the city’s outlying areas.

They think it’s a network that will get used. It puts bike lanes within two blocks of 140,000 residents in central neighbourhoods.

“We aren’t saying it needs to be exactly these routes, but it’s the beginning of a conversation,” said Conrad Nobert, a member of Paths for People, who will officially unveil the map Friday evening to coincide with a public lecture from urban design expert Gil Penalosa.

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)


Check out the interactive map here


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Ignore the headline, Postmedia of course chose to head it with the least interesting and least important aspect of what's being discussed in the actual article:

David Staples: Edmonton should move to Bus Rapid Transit, expert says
Whether you hate traffic jams or crave city streets that are great for walking and cycling, Gil Penalosa is a person of interest. Penalosa wields influence in the world of transportation system design, including with Edmonton city councillors.

Penalosa, who leads the non-profit Toronto-based 8-80 Cities organization, earned my respect by being the first transportation expert to nail exactly why Edmonton’s wonky bike lane program went wrong, his argument being that most cyclists will never feel safe on lanes painted on roads, with no real separation from traffic.

Penalosa was in Edmonton again on the weekend to help push forward Edmonton’s transportation plan, brought in by the group “Paths for People” to lead a seminar with Mayor Don Iveson and a handful of city councillors.

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
Edmonton lagging behind on walkability: Expert
An American city planner says he does not feel safe as a pedestrian in Edmonton.

Jeff Speck, who was in town Wednesday and Thursday for a symposium on walkability, said Alberta’s capital has a long way to go to catch up to cities like Toronto and Vancouver.

“I don’t feel particularly safe as a pedestrian walking around Edmonton, because those streets are so wide, the lanes seem to be excessive, people are driving rather fast, and the parallel parking that often protects the edge of the sidewalk is often missing,” Speck said.

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)
Edmonton's Scona Road will get much-requested safety modifications, at cost of $637,000
Residents should finally get a fix to the crosswalks on Scona Road next year, but it will cost taxpayers an extra $637,000.

The road was built too wide and too fast for the residential neighbourhood when it was widened in 2011. That has created a speed trap for motorists stuck going 50 kilometres per hour on a road built for speed, and frustrated pedestrians trying to safely cross at the top of the hill.

The best solution, traffic officials told councillors Wednesday, is to tear out the new pavement in the free-flowing right turn lane and replace it with a much sharper turn, which would force vehicles to slow down.

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
Edmonton pedestrians finding their voice and standing up for walker rights
Advocates for a more walkable Edmonton say their voices are getting louder and more organized — and the city appears to be listening.

Just this week, council approved changes the city's transportation department has proposed for the intersection of Saskatchewan Drive and 99 Street, at a cost of $637,000.

The changes will re-align a southbound right-hand turn lane and install other measures meant to make the street safer for pedestrians.

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)
Edmonton's new jaywalking campaign blames the victims, say pedestrian advocates


Edmonton's new anti-jaywalking ad.

Pedestrian advocates say a new city campaign that targets jaywalkers on Whyte and Jasper blames the victim, while the city says it's part of a broader plan to reduce injuries.

Recently, the city erected signs along Jasper and Whyte Avenue that remind pedestrians to cross when the walk light is in place and not jaywalk.

Conrad Nobert, with the group Paths for People, said the signage sends the wrong message.

“Campaigns like this, they shift the blame for the results of the dangerous traffic system we have set up onto its victims,” he said.

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)
Could better neighbourhood design improve traffic safety in Edmonton?
Closer to the city’s core, in Westmount, some believe the hazards some streets pose ironically result in drivers being more careful.

“You’ll see most of the streets are very narrow with cars parked on both sides,” Bob Summers, an urban planning researcher with the University of Alberta, explained. “That slows everyone down. You get concerned about people being around because it’s a very narrow roadway and you don’t feel as confident and you go slower.”

Full Story (Global Edmonton)