March 15, 2019 3:20 pm
Updated: March 15, 2019 8:20 pm

Vision Zero report shows fewest traffic fatalities and injuries since Edmonton program began

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton Vision Zero 2018 report found in the last three years, traffic fatalities have gone down by 41 per cent. But Gerry Shimko, head of the program, isn't satisfied yet: "Our objective is zero."

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The 2018 Vision Zero report was released Friday and the number of traffic deaths and serious injuries is the lowest it’s been since the program began in 2016.

In 2018, there were 19 fatalities and 319 serious injury collisions in Edmonton. Both those numbers are down from 2017, when there were 27 fatalities and 341 serious injury collisions. In 2015, the year before the Vision Zero program started, there were 32 fatalities and 383 serious injuries.

Of the 14 types of collisions tracked in the report, nine were at their lowest numbers in 13 years.

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Despite the downward trend, the head of the city’s office of traffic safety isn’t calling it a success, referencing the recent death of a motorcyclist.

“For me, we lost a person to fatality, we have another family grieving and I don’t want to see that,” Gerry Shimko said.

“So that’s a good start but collectively, for me, those numbers may be small but they are people’s families and that’s where my thoughts are… We still have work to do.”

The office of traffic safety said public education, enforcement and signage have helped reduce collision numbers.

Vision Zero has changed the way Edmonton’s roads and crossings look and operate. Changes include the addition of 20 pedestrian signals and/or amber flashing lights, improving 15 left-turn signal phases, converting 60 school zones to playground zones, and adding five pedestrians scrambles.

READ MORE: Edmonton city council asked to set slower neighbourhood speed limits

The Vision Zero update Friday did not include a recommendation to implement a blanket speed limit in residential areas of 30 or 40 km/h. Shimko said more work needs to be done on that front before the proposal is presented to council next week.

WATCH BELOW (March 14): The family of an Edmonton teen is speaking out after she and another teen were hit by a school bus last week. As Vinesh Pratap reports, they are calling for something to be done to make neighbourhood roads safer.

He was also asked about Hemingway Road, where two girls were hit last week while trying to cross the street.

Due to the severity of that crash, and the public concern, that intersection will likely be bumped up the list of problem intersections that need attention.

READ MORE: Charges pending against driver of school bus that hit 2 teens in west Edmonton

“Every year we go back and revisit all the crosswalks that are on a list that need upgrading,” Shimko said. “We’ll collect some additional data, like use from pedestrians, cyclists and so on, look at any other risk factors that may be there. We have a criteria. It’s public. We’ve shared how we would calculate those priorities.

“Typically, when you start to see collision activity, it’s going to quickly move it up for sooner countermeasures,” he said. “Where it will fall precisely, I can’t tell you, but it will definitely move up quite quickly.

“Any time we have a serious injury, it adds a lot more weight to what we’re going to do there.”

He said the list of priority intersections will likely be released in the fall or by the end of the year.

Shimko added that an investigation into that location by the office of traffic safety won’t start until the police’s criminal investigation is concluded.

READ MORE: Mother of Edmonton girl struck by school bus calls on city to lower speed limit on Hemingway Road

WATCH BELOW: Kent Morrison reports on the 2018 Vision Zero report.

Since 2015, the year before Vision Zero was launched, collisions involving pedestrians have declined 21 per cent, collisions involving cyclists have gone down by 27 per cent and crashes involving motorcycles have declined by 31 per cent.

Over three years, serious injuries from collisions dropped 17 per cent and traffic fatalities declined 41 per cent.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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