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August 20, 2017
March 2, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Thursday, March 2, 2017

Vision Zero goes back to square one

Written by Jeff Samsonow

The mayor says Edmonton has to change the way we’ve approached safety on our roads.

Speaking at a traffic safety conference, Don Iveson admits the City of Edmonton’s attempts to reach “Vision Zero” haven’t included enough changes for people walking and biking, or the most vulnerable road users like seniors and children. Vision Zero is an international plan the City signed onto which calls for reducing traffic deaths and serious injuries to zero (by the year 2020, here).

So far, the changes to actual road design and programming have focused on people driving. People walking, well… they’re being told to wear reflective tape and carry flashlights.

Yeah, I was serious.

It sounds like the mayor is taking the right approach to improving safety of everyone using Edmonton’s roads, especially in our busiest and most active neighbourhoods. He’s going to have to get traffic engineers and city planners to change their approach though, which is the real challenge ahead.

Although, we did hear yesterday that some city staff members are open to considering people walking.

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Related… parents of one victim of Edmonton’s roads have started a website dedicated to the stories of family and friends who have lost someone. The stories are worth reading because too often we hear about such deaths as little more than traffic updates. Better road design and traffic planning could save lives.


Education, education, education

A few weeks back, the (now former) chair of the Edmonton Public School Board floated the idea of offering Catholic programming in public schools to prevent building two schools every time a new one is needed. Now one of the Edmonton Catholic School District trustees is talking about a similar idea.

It’s excellent to see trustees talking about ways to best serve students, and stretch limited education dollars the provincial government gives Edmonton school boards.

Meanwhile… some Catholic trustees are trying to find ways to spend those same limited education dollars on less than student-focused results.

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It’s been a busy month for education stories. Following the idea of Catholic programming in public schools to save on duplicated costs, calls were renewed to consider if we even need public and Catholic school boards anymore.

And there are now calls to take money that goes to private schools and put that into public education (there’s even a petition you can sign if this is an important issue for you). Check out this map to see how much public education money goes to private schools in Edmonton.

We’re still half-a-year away from municipal elections but it’s starting to look like the school board races (and subsequent pressure on the provincial government) could be as exciting as the city council races.

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MacEwan University’s new president is a Metis neuroscientist. MacEwan is really positioning itself as a forward-thinking school this week, after a move to allow students to be identified by preferred names and gender identity.

Dr. Deborah Saucier, new MacEwan president

Ever get lost on the University of Alberta campus? Some new maps and wayfinding are being planned to help with that.


Crime beat

Following up on yesterday’s news that 15 criminal cases were stayed because there aren’t enough resources in the Crown Attorney office to prosecute, the Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association is going public with a request for more money and more hires in the next provincial budget (coming down March 16).

Edmontonians could have lost $10-million last year to scams and fraud. So, trust no one, I guess.


Political stuff

St. Albert’s mayor is running to be leader of the Alberta Liberal Party.

The centre of Alberta’s political spectrum could be interesting if Jason Kenney wins the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives and moves to form a new (far)right party with Wildrose members. The Liberals, the Alberta Party and, possibly, the leftovers of the PC Party could all be trying to occupy the centre and centre-right votes in 2019.

(I’d also suggest the NDP occupies some of the centre. No matter how many times angry uncles on Facebook use the term “communist”.)

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Meanwhile… as mayor of St. Albert, Crouse and the mayor of Sturgeon County signed a new agreement to work on annexation of some county land and make a bigger St. Albert. It would provide expansion for the Edmonton suburb city of almost half its current size.


In other news…

Interesting points here about how automation will limit how many oil and gas jobs will be around as things bounce back (with a higher oil price). Automation is probably the largest threat to existing industries – any industry – no matter how many politicians promise you they can bring you jobs in coal, oil, or delivering blocks of ice to people’s homes to help keep food cold.