April 21, 2017 6:57 pm
Updated: April 21, 2017 9:29 pm

Edmonton traffic safety improving, but a long road ahead: city

WATCH ABOVE: Drivers will soon be able to zone in on photo radar locations in Edmonton. As Kendra Slugoski reports, a map will be posted by the city in an effort to bring awareness to its Vision Zero strategy.

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The goal of zero traffic deaths and injuries is ambitious, but on Friday the City of Edmonton said it is making inroads.

Vision Zero is a strategy adopted by city council in 2015 and launched in 2016.

The Vision Zero program first began in Sweden in 1997 and the city said that country now has the lowest rate of traffic fatalities in the world.

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“We’re reducing collisions, we’re reducing injures, and we’re also reducing speeds in general,” said Gord Cybryk, branch manager of Parks and Roads Services with the City.

“We have to keep in mind this is a long-term process.”

So far in 2017, six traffic-related deaths have been recorded. In 2016, 22 people died on Edmonton streets, compared to 32 the year before.

READ MORE: Motorcycle driver dies after crashing into back of Edmonton transit bus

Along with an education campaign, a number of engineering improvements have been made. They include installing a left-turn only green flashing arrow on traffic lights, which the city said reduced left-turn collisions by 99 per cent.

One hundred driver feedback signs were permanently installed in 2016, nearly a quarter of those were in proximity to 13 schools where speeding was a problem.

Statistics showed the average speed reduction ranged from six to 11 kilometres per hour.

City of Edmonton Vision Zero update.April 21, 2017

Supplied by City of Edmonton

The latest data also showed the number of photo radar tickets issued in Edmonton, the majority in 2016, were for those driving 11 to 15 kilometres over the speed limit.

Photo radar data

Supplied by City of Edmonton

With so many people already posting photo radar locations on social media, the city confirmed it too will post a map of all its photo radar locations in the future. That map won’t be live. It will show the areas where radar will be set up for a particular week.

“We’re not trying to hide anything, what we’re trying to do is raise awareness,” Cebryk said.

That was a worry to Coun. Ben Henderson; that companies that provide GPS updates can use some kind of “bot” to rapidly download fresh info. However, deputy city manager Doug Jones told the city’s Community and Public Services Committee his experience in other cities tells him a different story.

“I have that in my own car and I still got a photo radar ticket,” he said.

City councillors praised the latest data on the Vision Zero strategy, but Ward 1 Coun. Andrew Knack called on the department to set a definite goal.

“I actually think if we really want to embrace that Vision Zero piece, we should set ourselves a hard target,” Knack said.

What that target should be he didn’t know, but the mayor said now that the city has data on death and injury reductions, the city can move forward.

“Our goal remains zero,” said Don Iveson.

“We’ll need to look at the evidence in order to set a specific goal.”

With files from Scott Johnston, 630 CHED.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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