News / Calgary

Calgary's pedestrian deaths dip 80 per cent in 2017: Report

2017 data show fatal collisions down to an all-time low

Pedestrians rush by over the lunch hour on Calgary's Stephen Avenue.

Jennifer Friesen / for Metro

Pedestrians rush by over the lunch hour on Calgary's Stephen Avenue.

Advocates say the latest data on fatal collisions is a step in the right direction, but warn the city that it's too early to let its guard down.

The city's pedestrian strategy was introduced a year-and-a-half ago, and on Thursday, administration will give councillors their first update on the plan during the Transportation and Transit committee meeting.

This year, the city recorded a significant year-over-year drop – 80 per cent – in fatal pedestrian collisions, with two deaths.

Police said this year had the lowest number of fatalities recorded since the city began keeping track in 1996. The only other year with a fatality rate that comes close is 2001, where four deaths were recorded. Since 2010, the highest number of deaths was 10 in 2012, 2013 and 2016.

"It really is wonderful that the number is that much lower, but it's one year in a 100-year process," said Greg Hart, a member of Vision Zero, which aims to eliminate all traffic-related deaths. "The question always has to be is there something that changed that would lead us to believe this is a sustainable change ... I would be hard pressed to see what that could be."

Hart warned that the city's problems aren't fixed, and both citizens and the city shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security.

Statistics provided to Metro by Calgary police showed a 42 per cent increase in pedestrian deaths, from seven in 2015 to 10 in 2016. Injury collisions were up 2 per cent between the same period.

"I look forward to getting administration's take as to whether this is just a statistical anomaly and very good luck," said Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra. "I'm glad we're looking at this and I'm glad there's emerging and broadening consensus that any deaths are unacceptable."

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