Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces

By vancouverpublicspace

November 18, 2010 at 8:00 AM

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City looks to take strides on pedestrian safety

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Canadian Pedestrians Hover

Pedestrian sign near Granville Bridge – Photo by mrjoro

A well-designed pedestrian environment improves public health, and public safety, increases the animation of public space, and improves the overall sustainability of the city. For these and other reasons, we were pleased to see Mayor Gregor Robertson introduce a motion at last Tuesday’s Council Meeting calling for improved safety for pedestrians.

In particular, the motion called for City staff, the VPD and School Board to identify locations and priority measures for improving pedestrian safety and accessibility in Vancouver. The motion also directed staff to report back in the spring of 2011 with recommendations on how to better improve pedestrian input into the City’s Transportation Plan.

The motion will now be debated at today’s Planning and Environment Committee meeting (in Council Chambers at 2:30 for those that want to attend). In anticipation of this, the VPSN submitted a brief letter on the subject, excerpted below. We’re offering support for the motion – and the substantive work involved with improving ped safety and the pedestrian component of the next Transportation Plan. We also want to make sure that some key work that has already taken place in this respect isn’t lost in the process.

(And on that note – a quick plug. If you’re interested in pedestrian matters, please consider getting involved with our Pedestrian Issues Working Group. We are looking for volunteers to lend a hand with our walkability projects.)

Here’s the letter:

We are writing to you to express our support of the motion before Council (Planning and Environment Committee) to increase pedestrian safety and accessibility. Although pedestrians are acknowledged as the top priority in the City’s Transportation Plan, many of the pedestrian centred initiatives of the Plan have yet to be fully implemented.

To this end, we are prepared to assist the City in meeting the objectives of this motion. The VPSN’s Pedestrian Issues Working Group has expertise in public engagement and urban design issues and would be happy to support efforts to strengthen pedestrian safety and pedestrian involvement in the next Transportation Plan.

We also wish to take this opportunity to note that there have been some important pedestrian safety projects undertaken in recent years. For example, in 2009/10 the City has provided support to VANDU for their DTES Pedestrian Safety Project – though key recommendations coming from this report require follow-up and/or adoption by the City. We would encourage Council to modify the present motion in order to direct staff to (a) incorporate other relevant Vancouver-based pedestrian and walkability-related research into their staff report; and, (b) where relevant, follow-through on actionable recommendations that can improve the pedestrian environment in advance of the next Transportation Plan…

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