Media Release - Complete Streets Needed as Part of Mayor's Hays 2.0 Plan

Dear Editor,

Vehicle-pedestrian crashes and near misses happen too often on the streets of Prince Rupert.  Most recently, a pedestrian was struck on October 3rd.  Many people talk about feeling uneasy walking, cycling and driving here, especially in the dark, but also in broad daylight.  Everyone has a scary story to share and some of those stories end tragically.  We can change this situation.

People sometimes argue that crashes would not happen if everyone would just obey the law, use common sense, wear reflective clothing, etc.  However, according to the American Journal of Public Health, with the exception of campaigns directed at children, road safety education campaigns are ineffective.  On the other hand, changing the way we design our streets is HIGHLY effective in reducing pedestrian-related crashes.  Changes such as intersection bulb-outs, pedestrian-controlled intersections and protected bicycle lanes reduce pedestrian-related crashes faster, more effectively and for less money than campaigns aimed at changing people’s fashion choices.  Simple street modifications bring immediate benefits for relatively little money.

‘Complete’ streets are streets designed for all, ages, abilities and modes of travel.  On complete streets, speeding has come down by up to 75%, pedestrian-related crashes have been reduced by up to 80% and crashes that do happen are less severe for everyone.  Parents feel comfortable letting their children bike to school and into town; elders and people with mobility impairments can access sidewalks and cross streets easily; taking the bus is pleasant and convenient, and drivers get to their destination safely.

Mayor Lee Brain will be unveiling more plans for Hays 2.0 on November 22nd and he is inviting Rupertites to get involved.  Let's let the mayor know we need safer, more accessible and more enjoyable streets for everyone.

Chris Lightfoot