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February 25, 2018
December 19, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cars don't kill people.

Written by Jeff Samsonow

A selection of headlines where the vehicle killed someone.

We’ve had a particularly violent couple of weeks on Edmonton streets, so it’s worth talking again about the language we use when people are killed or hurt. Since last Tuesday, one woman was killed, and another two people were run over by a hit-and-run driver

For local media, the reminder continues to be that Edmonton is not overrun with autonomous vehicles hellbent on killing humans. Cars don’t hit people, nor do they kill people. People driving the vehicles do.

That being said, our street design and speed limits are the most likely culprit in most of the carnage. Yes, people not paying attention when they’re behind the wheel, or certain weather conditions or unpredictable behaviour of others can lead to collisions. But if we designed our roads to protect the most vulnerable users – people walking, especially children and people with mobility challenges – the distraction of a driver wouldn’t kill as many people. They’d still bear responsibility, but they might be less dangerous.

This list from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways remains relevant. image source

As we head into a new year, I hope to see all newsrooms in Edmonton adopt person-centred language when it comes to road injuries and deaths. If we start shifting the responsibility from non-sentient vehicles to actual humans, we can start to shift the conversation and make it easier for all people to see they play a role, and need some help, in staying safe on the roads.

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As I wrote back in February, there are a few ways to you can get involved in these issues. You can support groups like Paths for People and the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society in their efforts to make Edmonton streets safer for people walking, biking and driving. You can also get active in your neighbourhood’s community league, and any other smaller groups which may be taking on local issues that need addressing. We saw some successes in the Queen Alexandra neighbourhood this year on just these kinds of problems. Let’s put people first and see how much we can change our streets.


More than reading and writing

There have been a few stories in the last week or so about the expanding role of Indigenous knowledge, history and culture in local schools. MacEwan has an Indigenous knowledge keeper, and at NorQuest College they “…opened the new Indigenous student centre, launched an Indigenization Strategy, introduced a new Legacy Room to support the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund and became the first post-secondary institution in Edmonton to sign the College and Institutes Canada (CICan) Indigenous Education Protocol.”

Some Edmonton schools are really trying to take up the fight to protect and preserve Indigenous languages. And the story about the potential new school being built for Ben Calf Robe-St. Clare means that school could provide even more Indigenous programming than it already does.

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Spruce Grove is about to get an after-school gay-straight alliance (GSA) for all students and their families and friends, building on successes GSAs are providing in schools. 

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The success of sexual harassment and assault counselling in one school shows how this could most definitely be something we expand. This kind of counselling is obviously much-needed, and the more we can normalize talk therapy, the better for a lot of people. 


Longreads

It’s probably going to be one of those weeks at work where not a lot gets done, as people start drifting away for the holidays. So, spend some time checking out these feature stories. 

We talk a lot about the safety of Edmonton’s streets, and the design changes needed to keep people from getting hurt or killed. And St. Albert is looking at bringing in “complete streets” to try and increase the safety of that city’s roads.

In the newest issue of Avenue Edmonton, they took a look at mayor Don Iveson’s use of social media and how that fits into our current political scene.

Over at Taproot Edmonton, they’ve got a new story about food waste, including how we’re doing in Edmonton and how much more we need to do to keep more out of the landfill and on the plates of people who need to eat. 

And we’ve got a new story on police carding. It looks at a recent example caught on video, what’s going on with the two reviews of the practice and offers a comprehensive (but brief) history of the last couple of years on this issue here in Edmonton and Alberta.


Year-in-review

The annual tradition of talking to major politicians, newsmakers and decision-makers has begun. There will be plenty more of this to come over the next two weeks, but here’s what’s already been published in Edmonton news to looking back at 2017 and ahead to 2018. 

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services chief Ken Block sat down for a few interviews, with CBC focusing on preparations for a major emergency, dealing with opioid overdoses and new resources coming in 2018.  Corus Edmonton (Global/CHED/iNews) focused their story on a new fire station being behind schedule.

Corus also has their interview with the mayor, which looks at the pending legalization of marijuana. And Iveson’s year-ender with Metro Edmonton is also out, taking a Q+A approach to cover topics including the Metro Line LRT, Accidental Beach and Northlands.


Public engagement

Not much to report here, with city council on winter break and the City skipping open houses and public sessions until the new year.

We do have the last Edmonton Public School Board meeting of the year on Tuesday, though. You can see the agenda online. Items include a look at how students are doing in school. The meeting is at 2 p.m. and will stream live.

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