Crosswalk Safety

Today the City Auditor presented the results of the crosswalk audit to City Council, and I am pleased to see that the report recognizes the crosswalk program is effectively managed.

The Traffic Safety Office, under Parks and Roads, is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of an effective pedestrian crosswalk program. The objective for this audit was to ensure that the pedestrian crosswalk program is managed effectively, and the City Auditor concluded that the pedestrian crosswalk program is being effectively managed and improving pedestrian safety.

While the City Auditor confirmed the program is well-managed and improving pedestrian safety, it offered four recommendations to improve the program’s overall effectiveness.

The City has already made steps to implement the auditors’ suggestions and recommendations including:

  • As of May 26, the City started increasing the width of all parallel (standard) pedestrian crosswalk lines to 20 cm in width from the previous standard of 10 cm.  The wider line will be used at:
    • new crosswalk installations
    • regular scheduled maintenance of existing crosswalks
    • and replacement of existing crosswalks after repaving and rehabilitation
  • 20 cm white lines have already been painted along decorative brick crosswalks at three intersections on 118 Ave ( 81 St., 88 St., and 95A St.) and more are in the works.

In addition, based on data, the City created a pedestrian-crossing signals priority list for 2017 and 2018 based on evaluating hundreds of pedestrian crossings.

These crosswalk upgrades are about making crossings safer for pedestrians. However, it is also important to note that crosswalks do not protect pedestrians from careless drivers, so it is important for drivers to watch for pedestrians and pedestrians to watch for careless drivers.

More information on pedestrian crossings can be found here.

Ultimately, it is going to take all of us. Engineering improvements, pedestrian awareness, and driver behavior… each element is important. Our goal is Vision Zero, but it is going to everybody.

Northwest LRT Expansion – The Time Is Now!

This past week Councillor Dave Loken and I brought forward a notice of motion. This motion should come forward this next week and I am passionate about seeing our communities served well, with access to fast and efficient public transportation.

Here’s what our notice of motion is:

That Administration:

1) amend the scope of the NW LRT design study to include developing a

scenario where a precursor express bus service could run north

from Blatchford on a bridge over the Yellowhead and CN Calder Rail

Yard, with the bridge future-proofed for upgrade to rail for LRT;

2) take this scenario into account as part of the continuing Transit

Strategy and report back on the opportunity to align the Strategy to

this precursor express bus scenario; and,

3) include this precursor scenario in the continuing public

engagement on NW LRT planning.

So what are we trying to accomplish? City Administration is currently preparing a Transit Strategy, so the time is right to include this concept for consideration. We would like to gather all of the information possible to consider building a bridge across the CN Rail Yards to provide Express Bus Service from the north side of Edmonton to the downtown.

This may seem like a secondary level of service or a downgrade, you might even be wondering if this would short circuit the NW LRT Expansion. This is not settling for secondary service, but proactively accelerating access to LRT service, and potentially creating infrastructure to aid in the development of the NW LRT Expansion.

With the Yellowhead Trail Upgrade just around the corner, this is about being fiscally responsible, by aligning with this work and looking at the possibility of infrastructure that can be incorporated into the NW LRT Expansion plan that will open up the north first with Express buses connecting to existing LRT, and finally, by opening up the north with the LRT through the NW Expansion. The time is right to address the needs of our communities with meaningful engagement around thoughtful pieces of important infrastructure.

As always, you can connect with me at City Hall by phone: 780-496-8136 or by email:

Upcoming Construction in Lauderdale

ATCO will be replacing steel mains and services in the Lauderdale neighborhood as part of the Steel Mains Replacement Program – a program to replace aged steel infrastructure with new generation plastic pipe. On May 23rd, weather permitting, ATCO’s contractor, Robert B. Sommerville Co Limited (RBS) will be starting the project

Click Here for more information

Installation will be primarily by directional drill. The estimated completion date is June 30, 2017, weather permitting.

View the Lauderdale Notification Map 

 

Construction at Blatchford

The start of the construction season at Blatchford means the City of Edmonton is one step closer towards the realization of this exciting community. Crews were on site in early May to begin installing the underground utilities that will service the first stage of residential units.  

The work planned this year includes installing storm, sanitary and water servicing as well as piping for the district energy sharing system. The district energy sharing system will provide heating, cooling and hot water to the buildings in Blatchford, and is one of the most innovative environmental initiatives planned in the community.

Once the deep utilities have been installed, crews will start constructing the roads to service the first set of buildings. Later this year, crews are planning to begin drilling the boreholes under the first stormwater pond for the geo-exchange, which is one of the renewable energy sources for the district energy sharing system.

In addition to the construction work, the City is also continuing the commitment to reducing Blatchford’s environmental footprint by recycling the former runways at the site. The runway materials (concrete, asphalt and gravel) will be used to construct future roads in the community.  

The builder selection process will begin this summer, with presale of the first townhome and condominium units expected in 2018.

I am confident the first residents in Blatchford will see that the concept of building for people has always been at the centre of our vision for Blatchford. It will be a neighbourhood where great urban design will allow people to live a more sustainable, active and community-based lifestyle. And as the neighbourhood develops, it will also be an exciting time for the residents and businesses who surround Blatchford, as new amenities and park spaces become available for everyone to use.

Find out more about the plans for this community and keep up to date on the latest construction news at BlatchfordEdmonton.ca.

Vision Zero 2016: Creating Safer School Neighbourhoods

When our City Council approved Vision Zero, with the long-term goal of having zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries, we knew it would require a multidimensional approach from the City and Edmontonians and I am happy to report we are making progress, particularly when it comes to school safety.

2016 results

Keeping students and their families safe as they travel to and from school is so important and in 2016 the City undertook a number of improvements at Edmonton schools:

  • Traffic safety assessments were conducted at 13 elementary schools to observe road user behavior and new countermeasures were installed in September 2016. Countermeasures included new zebra crosswalks, new stop signs with retro-reflective poles, reflective strips on pedestrian signs, and upgrading from yield signs to stop signs.
  • Starting in 2016, a pickup/drop-off zone will be implemented at one school every year. In 2016, St. Justin School received a pickup/drop-off zone.
  • Prohibiting left turns from school parking lots was implemented at two schools.
  • In October, City Council approved the expansion of 30 km/hr school zones to include Edmonton’s 43 junior high schools. This new speed limit will be in place for all junior high schools by September 2017, when students return to class.

Evaluation of the effectiveness of school zones

In 2014, 30 km/hr school zones were implemented for Edmonton’s elementary schools. Our evaluation of these 30 km/hr school zones showed significant safety improvements, including:

  • 43 percent reduction in injury collisions
  • 71 percent reduction in injury collisions involving vulnerable road users
  • 12 km/hr reduction in vehicle speeds

Many great improvements have been made and we will continue this work throughout 2017 to make Edmonton’s streets safe for all road users, especially close to schools. For more information on Vision Zero, visit edmonton.ca/visionzero and follow @VisionZeroYEG on Twitter.

Yellowhead Improvements

On December 16, 2016, the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta joined the City of Edmonton to announce joint funding for improving the Yellowhead Trail to better accommodate current and future traffic. The federal and provincial governments are each contributing up to $241.6 million, with the City of Edmonton providing remaining funding for a total of over $1 billion.

The Yellowhead Freeway project is anticipated to achieve free flowing traffic along the full length of Yellowhead Trail. This work will be scheduled to occur over the next 10 years. The project focuses on the removal of at-grade intersections between 156 Street and the North Saskatchewan River in the east/west directions while still maintaining north/south connectivity where technical feasible. Concept planning, design, and construction will be staged in a manner of optimizing efficiency and to minimize traffic impacts.

The current status of the various segments along the corridor is at different stages.

Concept planning has not been completed for the section between St Albert Trail and 97 Street, which will identify the configuration of interchanges at 127 Street and 121 Street. A large component of executing on the concept planning work will be engaging with communities and businesses to identify how the proposed changes will impact the area and identify potential mitigating strategies to address the impacts. This concept planning is scheduled to occur over the next two years.

Concept planning has been completed for the section between 156 Street and St. Albert Trail, and between 97 Street and the North Saskatchewan River. The next project phase of design for these sections will be staged to meet construction timelines. Public engagement will include connecting with affected property owners as work in these sections progresses.

The project website (www.edmonton.ca/yellowheadtrail) will be updated regularly with project information and public engagement opportunities. I want to encourage you to attend and participate in the public engagement sessions and conversations, and to be an active part of the planning process.

As always, you can contact with me at City Hall by phone, 780-496-8136, or by email,