Through my first three years as your City Councillor, I have heard from hundreds of you regarding traffic safety issues in our neighbourhoods. Whether it be the need for crosswalks and traffic control upgrades, issues with poor sight lines, speeding or shortcutting, residents have been diligent in communicating their concerns to my office and to the Office of Traffic Safety. I want to thank those of you who reached out for being my eyes and ears in the community every day.
I want to let you know that we have had some substantial wins: since 2018 we have advanced 15 crosswalk upgrades in Ward 5, along with nine traffic control changes and six school safety improvements, with many more slated for 2021. We have also made some progress on several of the more chronic traffic issues that have been raised with my office.
Though these improvements are important, I know that many of you are still waiting for attention to your traffic issues from the City. In 2015 Edmonton became the first city in Canada to adopt Vision Zero, and since then there has been a renewed focus at the City to introduce new programs that will make our streets safer. Limited resources and cumbersome processes have made for a slower rate of change than I know many of you want as we shift towards building a safer city, but one thing is clear: residents want to have more control over traffic safety measures in their neighbourhoods.
In the spirit of collaboration and responsiveness the City has recently introduced the Safe Mobility Strategy. This is Edmonton’s newest approach to achieving Vision Zero through safe and livable streets.
The Safe Mobility Strategy will use a combination of location-based and system-wide actions to support safe and livable streets, no matter how people get around. It is designed to be flexible and evolving, and will be adjusted over time by its outcomes. This will help the City tackle widespread issues that contribute to crashes, such as street design and deep-rooted cultural norms around traffic and mobility. And like the previous City of Edmonton traffic safety strategy, the Safe Mobility Strategy will be funded by the Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve.
One of the most exciting elements of this strategy is the work around Traffic Safety Community Activation. This will enable the City “to collaboratively identify and implement customized, creative and flexible solutions that address traffic safety concerns outside of Neighbourhood Renewal.” There’s plenty more to learn about, and if you’re interested I would encourage you to visit edmonton.ca/safestreets.