Edmonton’s work on traffic safety is being praised by city councillors, even though it might take us another three decades to reach the goal of zero deaths on our streets. Definitely a glass half-full look down at city hall.
To be fair, a reduction in the number of deaths on Edmonton streets is a good thing. As is the reduced speed of people driving around elementary schools (that should extend to junior highs through the next year). Edmonton, however, is signed on to the “Vision Zero” plan which means we need to do a lot more to save lives. It’s nice to see city staff and councillors finally considering putting a real target year on that.
Of course, education only goes so far. Telling people to share the road is nice and all, but changing how the roads actually work is how people will stop killing one another. Humans will make mistakes, so if we slow them down through street design, we prevent deaths and serious injuries that occur when someone isn’t looking.
One place the infrastructure changes could be sped along (pun intended) is through the City’s Neighbourhood Renewal program. A handful of neighbourhoods get new roads and sidewalks through this each year, and there’s no reason safety improvements like reduced driving lane width, wider sidewalks, separated (and on-street) bike lanes, curb extensions, raised crosswalks and raised intersections couldn’t be part of the regular package. This could a time-saving effort on top of the regular plans to fix up the worst intersections and crosswalks, build a bike network and reduce speeds around schools and in neighbourhoods. The faster we can improve how our roads move people around, the more people survive.
Another idea… this one caught all the reporters’ attention from the meeting on traffic safety. Lafarge is offering up their large trucks as a sort of “pace car” on the streets, as well as a mobile photo radar.
Around the city
A youth committee is calling out Edmonton’s white police commission. That’s actually embarrassing.
The group was doing more than pointing out Edmonton’s white privilege though, it was bringing forward recommendations on how to improve police-interaction outcomes for more people (who aren’t white), reduce the over-representation of Indigenous people involved in the criminal justice system and provide more self-care for officers because of the nature of their work.
Still with police… As cases get tossed out of court because of a lack of resources, and new rules around how quickly someone deserves a trial, Edmonton Police investigators are getting frustrated their work could be wasted.
You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and you can’t build a new train line without shaking a few homes. As we learned from the last major LRT construction, this is going to be an extra hassle for some people living near the work, and an extra cost for the City to settle damage claims.
Not cool, City of Edmonton. Electronic parking machines will take your money even when you can’t legally park in the spot. It’s bad enough all the new parking rules require someone to know when there’s an event at the new arena.
At the Legislature
Our province is going to be the second to offer free access to the “abortion pill”. That’s a win for women’s health.
We should definitely consider expanding healthcare coverage to services provided by physiotherapists, chiropractors and psychologists. This would be an excellent way to prevent as much prescription drug use as we currently have, and improve health outcomes for a lot of people with injuries and chronic health conditions. And, those kinds of shifts to earlier intervention without drugs or surgery could also lead to bigger health spending savings down the line.
Catholic school funding is on the verge of becoming a national issue, after a ruling in Saskatchewan said the government shouldn’t fund non-Catholic students going to Catholic schools. Here in Alberta, it’s becoming an issue already, as people look for ways to stretch education dollars further, and push for amalgamating our public and Catholic school systems.
Edmontonians joined in the protest for free science, science funding, and decisions based on evidence. Certainly, we know a little about this in Canada, after federal scientists were gagged under our last government and the census was reduced.
City Council begins their meeting this afternoon, at 1:30 p.m. You can see the agenda online. (The big item will be the zoning for land at the top of the river valley to make way for an 80-storey tower.) The meeting will stream live.
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