Comment 110606

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 26, 2015 at 17:55:14 in reply to Comment 110604

For a better, far more detailed, analysis of Vancouver's pedestrian issues and how to make streets safer in general, please read:

There are definitely safer ways to engineer streets and they can make a difference.

Some illustrative quotes:

Careless drivers and walkers help explain the number, but there are other reasons. More people walk in balmy Vancouver—in fact, city planners urge us to do so. The city, famous for its refusal to allow a freeway through it, has promoted itself as a walking city, creating pedestrian routes and changing traffic signals to favour pedestrians—all of which creates the conditions for billions of pedestrian/car interactions a year as 1.4 million vehicles and 2.1 million residents cross paths.

Studies don’t give all the answers, but they make one thing clear: pedestrian deaths don’t happen randomly. In Europe, Spain is the most deadly country, nearing Vancouver rates with 1.5 deaths per 100,000, attributable in part to the lack of crosswalks and penalties for drivers. The Netherlands is the safest, at .46 deaths per 100,000.

But his group will soon be installing something that ICBC has concluded does work: countdown lights. San Francisco recently found that not only did they cause walkers to stop racing into intersections at the last second, but the number of traffic collisions caused by drivers running a red light dropped from 45 percent to 34 percent.

And Sweden, with its "vision zero" campaign has dramatically reduced road deaths over the past twenty years. There is absolutely no reason to be fatalistic about deaths and injuries on our streets.

and note this headline from the Vancouver Sun in 2014:

"Vancouver pedestrian deaths at lowest level in 80 years: police data"

For even more background see which points out that Vancouver has the second highest pedestrian modal share in North America (70% higher than Toronto), and the risk (fatalities per million walk to work trips) is 30% lower than Toronto. The graph on pedestrian collisions also shows a big decrease from 800 to 500 from 1996 to 2004, before it levels out.

Finally, this Vancouver police report shows pedestrian injuries are down slightly from 2010 to 2014 (about 350 to 325) and seem to be on a downward trend (although it is bit early to know). In those same years pedestrian deaths were 5, 9, 11, 8, 4.

It is far too simplistic to claim that street design doesn't make a difference, focus on just a few years ... and to ignore the vastly higher rates of walking in Vancouver.

And the Globe and Mail article is simply wrong to claim that the changes have had no effect ... the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities since 1934 is pretty significant (as is a risk rate 30% lower than Toronto)!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-03-26 18:05:57

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