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October 22, 2017
June 8, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Thursday, June 8, 2017

Slowing things down

Written by Jeff Samsonow

The speeds they are a changin.’

Edmonton could be on the way to slowing down people driving on a lot of our streets. Councillors are discussing if we should reduce the speed limit on residential streets to at least 40 km/h. Sure, 30 km/h would likely mean nobody dies if they’re hit by a driver, but let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good. We need this since the current rules to allow neighbours to ask for the reduction are… well, they don’t really seem to be rules.

A final report might not be back to council until early next year. In the meantime, City staff will start getting out there to gauge more public interest in the reductions. Changes from the provincial government may also soon allow cities to set their own municipal speed limits, which could mean Edmonton could make all non-arterial roads 40 km/h instead of 50 km/h. A change like that might make more sense, because it wouldn’t mean traveling through different neighbourhoods at different speeds, as everywhere would be the same.

I also like that City staff are looking at whether busy streets like Whyte and Jasper Avenues should be classified differently from actual arterial roadways like Calgary Trail and Gateway Boulevard or 137 Avenue. Slowing people down on streets that are usually packed with people walking is such an overdue idea to prevent injuries, damage and encourage people to enjoy their communities.

The City is also looking into raising the speed limits on arterial roads. While there are some where it could work, a lot of them still end up cutting through or beside a lot of neighbourhoods, so I’m a little wary of how that might negate other efforts to prevent injuries and deaths.

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All this traffic talk is a good time for a reminder to people working in Edmonton newsrooms, and covering speeding and other road-related infractions, injuries and deaths, that unless the truck in question looks like this:


a person is responsible for hitting that other person walking. Language around traffic and transportation is so important to humanize everyone driving, walking or cycling. Placing blame on the vehicle or calling a crash an “accident” just allows people hearing the news to ignore the personal responsibility of driving.

It’s the very least journalists can do to try and get people to remember they are driving dangerous weapons and, until the City drops speed limits and redesigns roads to account for human error, every reminder to pay attention on the streets helps. And relegating someone’s life to a traffic update doesn’t help.

And, I don’t mean to single out CTV with that link above. So, same request goes to Corus Edmonton (“collision between a truck and pedestrian“), Postmedia Edmonton (“Pedestrian hit by truck“), CBC Edmonton (“flat-deck trailer left the road“) and Metro Edmonton (“police officer was struck by a vehicle“. So, everyone, I guess…

That all said, Edmonton does want to set itself up as a test-city for autonomous vehicles. The potential for self-driving vehicles to disrupt just about all facets of transportation has City staff coming back in the fall with ways to include the potential effects on more decisions and across departments.


Around the city

As work of the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) continues, new statistics show Alberta is the deadliest province for Indigenous women. This is probably not all that surprising since we often have very high rates of domestic violence and we did have serial predators, if not a serial killer(s) murdering women for more than a decade.

It sounds too simple to say that to solve homelessness we have to house people, but it’s really the best solution. Yes, many people coming off the street might need any number of additional services or programming but the success for those who get a place to live first is proof it’s the most important step.

stupid, dildo, elitist, con artist, liar, greedy politician…” Wow, people in St. Alberta really don’t want a new library.

MacEwan University is officially opening its archives.

I can’t even remember to write a Yelp review of places I go anymore, let alone write 1,000 reviews!

100 years ago the headlines were about the provincial election, and our province’s first-ever women elected to office. A century later we have something closer to parity in the party currently forming provincial government, but only one woman on Edmonton city council. Let’s change that in October!


Public engagement

The Community and Public Services Committee meets today, beginning at 9:30 a.m. You can see the agenda online. The meeting will also stream live from the River Valley Room.

The City is also beginning to look at updating bylaws for signs, including those blindingly bright digital signs. There’s an open house at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre, 4-8 p.m.

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