Vancouver takes major steps to improve pedestrian safety

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LED street lighting

The long fall and winter nights in Vancouver make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians. To make matters worse, the rain doesn’t help, neither do the dim yellow, sodium street lights. 

The City of Vancouver began the implementation of brighter street lights earlier this year, most notably at the intersections of Burrard and Smithe as well as Hastings and Main Street.

This is a welcome change for what is arguably one of the most poorly lit major cities in the world. It will improve public safety and perhaps encourage more nightlife.

Here’s a news release sent out by the City:

Today the City of Vancouver stood together with our partners in pedestrian safety to highlight the progress made over the past year, and remind residents that with the days getting longer and more people out walking, everyone needs to be mindful of safe behaviour whether you’re walking, biking or driving.

Engineering improvements made by the City have included pedestrian safety measures such as countdown timers, LED lighting, left turn changes and slower walk speeds.

Through the City’s partnerships with the VPD, ICBC and Vancouver Coastal Health, pedestrian safety continues to improve in Vancouver, with the number of pedestrian crashes and fatalities trending downwards in the past 10 years.

“The City of Vancouver works closely with our partners to identify appropriate steps to improve pedestrian safety and make our streets safer for everyone through engineering, enforcement and education,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The City’s focus is on engineering improvements, and to date 30 out of the 44 priority locations throughout Vancouver have received safety upgrades.

“Vancouver was named the most walkable city in Canada by Walkscore, but we can do better. Our goal is to have zero pedestrian fatalities, and we’re going to continue to invest in making our streets and sidewalks safer for pedestrians of all ages.”

The 2012 Pedestrian Safety Study provided an in-depth analysis of all reported crashes involving pedestrians in Vancouver between 2005 and 2010, and reviewed the where, when, who and how of crashes involving pedestrians.

“I would ask that we learn to see eye-to-eye on this issue and I mean that literally,” said Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu. “We can save lives if drivers and cyclists make eye contact with pedestrians and pedestrians look into the eyes of the driver or cyclist who is about to cross their path.”

“We’re proud to work in partnership with municipalities and the provincial government on road improvements to help make roads safer,” said JohnDickinson, ICBC’s Director of Road Safety. “Everyone benefits from road improvements – from drivers to pedestrians – because safer roads mean fewer crashes, which also translates into lower claim costs.”

“Vancouver is a great walking city. Walking is the best preventive medicine we can take, and we are very happy to see all these improvements the City has made to make walking in Vancouver even safer,” said Dr. John Carsley, Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health.

The City will complete pedestrian safety improvements at the remaining priority intersections by the end of 2014.

Perhaps the City can also look into the visibility of the road lines. When raining, it’s almost impossible to see the white and yellow lanes.

Featured Image: Aqualite

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