News / Edmonton

Iveson calls for Vision Zero re-launch; focus on people first

The mayor’s push comes as the city looks to up density in inner-city neighbourhoods

Mayor Don Iveson says it’s time the city re-thinks its approach to building a more pedestrian-friendly city.

Mayor Don Iveson called for a re-launch of the city’s contentious Vision Zero traffic safety project Wednesday.

Speaking at a conference in Sherwood Park, Iveson said now’s the time to “build the kind of streets that serve people, particularly the most vulnerable road users." 

Vision Zero is the city's long-term plan to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero. Some have said Edmonton has focused too much on drivers, a criticism Iveson acknowledged Wednesday. 

He said he wants the city's plans to address pedestrian safety more closely going forward. 

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The push comes as Edmonton encourages higher density development in inner-city neighbourhoods — areas ripe for getting people out of their cars and outside. 

Most of Edmonton’s focus to date has been on reducing vehicle-to-vehicle collisions by upping photo radar enforcement and removing difficult right-turn lanes. 

Advocates have long argued the city isn’t going far enough to create more visible crosswalks, narrower lanes, protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks. 

Iveson said balancing the needs of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians hasn’t always worked.  

“We need to start by recognizing that some users are more vulnerable than others,” he said, “and the more we draw people out into our streets and public spaces, the more we need to do to ensure they have a safe and inviting experience.”

That means doing what advocates are asking for, and lowering speeds where people cluster, he said. 

A pedestrian signal light.

Metro File

A pedestrian signal light.

However, Iveson added the shift in thinking won’t stop investments in roads, noting the $55 million spent to fix potholes and committing to a $1 billion upgrade of Yellowhead Trail. 

“If our goal is people-centred planning, a smoother, safer commute not only means we get home in one piece, it means we get home happier,” he said.  

“At the same time, if your elected leaders make the right kinds of investments in transit infrastructure, you might choose a faster, more predictable ride on a train or a bus.”

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