CS4PR Response to Federal Survey on Vulnerable Road Users

On March 16, 2018, the Government of Canada launched a survey titled, Let’s Talk Vulnerable Road Users and Heavy Vehicles Safety Measures.  The survey is "an online public consultation to gather comments and input on strategies and preventive measures to better protect cyclists and pedestrians around heavy vehicles."  Our responses are copied below.

Q1 – What information or safety measures do you feel are missing from the report?

There was no information about priority hierarchy of road users. In terms of public health promotion and safety for vulnerable road users around heavy vehicles, priority should be thus: firstly walkers, runners, cyclists, taxis & public transit, delivery vehicles, car sharing and lastly private automobiles. Where there is a conflict between safety for vulnerable road users and economic impact of limiting movement of trucks, safety for VRUs first. This hierarchy should help guide decisions.

The Moving Beyond Zero (Sweden) initiative was not addressed. "The public health and quality of life benefits of active mobility need to be given a more prominent role in the traffic safety discourse and in the socioeconomic models used for assessing infrastructure initiatives."

Q2 – What published evidence (e.g. studies, reports) would help improve this report?

Smart Growth America's report on 37 different Complete Streets project outcomes from across USA - Safer Streets, Stronger Economies 

Q3 – Please provide general comments on the report and its contents

Why are there no public health representatives on the Steering Committee? It seems that only bodies that represent the interests of motor vehicles are on the Steering Committee while pedestrian and cycling advocates are relegated to the Advisory panel.

The Steering Committee, co-chaired by the Government of Alberta and Transport Canada, is comprised of individuals with decision-making authority and assembled with representatives from Transport Canada, provincial/territorial governments and jurisdictions including the Transportation Association of Canada(TAC) and Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) has also agreed to lend their assistance.

Federal Government Seeks Public Feedback On Pedestrian & Cyclist Safety

It seems Transport Canada is focusing on the safety of vulnerable road users around 'heavy' vehicles (i.e., trucks and buses) and they want to hear from YOU!  

While we are happy that the Federal government announced it is committed to improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists and we are pleased that the government is considering Complete Streets as part of its plan, it would have been nice if the government had acknowledged that vulnerable road users need increased protection from automobiles in general, not just trucks and buses.

Follow this link to give your feedback on their draft report or read about it in The Northern View.

Blog Post: 'A Wheelchair In Prince Rupert' by: Emma Kivisild

A Wheelchair in Prince Rupert

by: Emma Kivisild

People thought I was crazy for moving to Prince Rupert  in a wheelchair. But here I happily am.

I haven't lived in Prince Rupert for that long – I came in the spring of 2016. We came because our daughter lives here, we could buy a house, we like the weather (!), my partner lived here as a child. And we have lots of family.

Prince Rupert is beautiful, and a delight as a place to live. So much nature! Ravens clucking, deer in the streets. Oh my, the candied salmon. Fresh fish to deep fry at home. Long summer days, like, really long summer days.

Try explaining to someone from Vancouver that you can always find parking. That it only takes five minutes to drive anywhere. That people greet you. Try telling them that the parking at the hospital is free. That when you are on a flight out, you zip downtown in five minutes, get on a bus (wheelchair accessible) and your driving is done and you will be on time.

But, that said, it could be better. Specifically, living here in a wheelchair is sometimes a chore.

Obstructions in paths leave sidewalks such as this almost impassable in a wheelchair  

Obstructions in paths leave sidewalks such as this almost impassable in a wheelchair  

First, the sidewalks. Outside of downtown they are in dismal repair, with hardly a smooth rolling surface among them. In my neighborhood, up near Pigott Place, there are actually telephone poles in the middle of the sidewalk.

Then, the hills! The stairs!  Brainiacs that we are, we bought a house at the top of a hill that is too steep for a wheelchair. In town, able-bodied people take stairs from one street to another. (Don’t wear high heels!) . Houses often tower above or sit well below street level. Climb up, climb down, climb up, climb down.

It's just so hilly and the corollary is that everyone has stairs to get into their house. We were able to solve this by building a ramp at our house, but I do not expect everyone to do that. So far, I have managed parties by using a light manual chair and arriving late enough for a critical mass of party guests to be there already. Then they carry me and the chair up to the house. At the end of the party, same thing in reverse. I cannot leave too late because that critical mass must still be there. So far, I can be carried. I have an appreciation for strong people with good backs.

You would think that places like restaurants, offices, and stores would have already solved this problem for me. Well not quite. I have to thank the many people who have made accessibility something that some people think of, but…  Since I have been here, my doctor's office has installed a ramp. (Hooray!) But you should weep with me for that great restaurant (or so I've heard) on the second floor. Or the magical store where I can get in at the back, but then can’t move anywhere inside. Or the dentist that I can't get to at all (There are others, thank God, including mine, where they treat you in your chair!).

I get around, though.  The movie theatre has a side door. There are  accessible restaurants and coffee shops. Yay for the community centre and the people who come to my house and the technology that saves me.

CS4PR Curb Extensions Proposal Discussed at Council

On February 13, 2018, City Council heard about CS4PR's intersection improvement project - a temporary demonstration of curb extensions.  This was not a time for council members to vote either for or against this proposal, rather council had the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback on the concept.  The next step is for CS4PR to consult with the engineering department on the proposal.

For more information on this project, please visit our site or read about it in The Northern View.

CS4PR Presenting Intersection Improvement Project to City Council

On Tuesday, February 13th at 7:00 PM , Complete Streets for Prince Rupert will be giving a presentation to City Council about our Intersection Improvement Project.  We will be requesting permission from the City of Prince Rupert to trial a short-term modification to one intersection with the aim of improving safety and comfort for all road users. 

All Regular Council meetings are open to the public and take place in Council Chambers on the second floor at City Hall, 424 3rd Avenue West.

For more information on this project,  come to City Hall and hear our presentation or click here

CBC Covers Complete Streets as 7 Pedestrians Hit at Prince Rupert Crosswalks in 2017

We're happy that the CBC has decided to cover the situation of the streets in Prince Rupert.

While, this article briefly describes  the 'complete streets' approach to making roads safer for all users, there is one point that could use clarification. 

It's written, "Lightfoot said his three key priorities for the city would be adding curb extensions, reducing speed limits through the downtown and adding separated bike or alternative transport lanes."

Lowering vehicle speeds is important for reducing the frequency and severity of crashes.  However, rather than reducing vehicle speeds by setting and enforcing lower speed limits, the most effective way to slow vehicles is to change the design of our streets.   "According to our review of available studies, emphasizing those with adequate methodological designs, modification of the built environment can substantially reduce the risk of pedestrian–vehicle crashes [my emphasis]."  

On complete streets, planning for safe and comfortable access for people who walk, roll, cycle, and ride transit is a priority, not an afterthought.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/prince-rupert-complete-streets-1.4465821

Prince Rupert Media Highlights Need for Safer Crossings - Features Complete Streets

On November 29, 2017, Prince Rupert's local newspaper, The Northern View called for safer streets for Prince Rupert, where 10 pedestrians, including one fatality, were involved in vehicle-pedestrian crashes in 2017.   

The newspaper featured an editorial demanding curb extensions on 2nd Avenue West where 6 of the 10 crashes occurred. 

A nearly full-page article with video and interactive map of crash locations went into some detail about the crashes and mentioned the work of Complete Streets for Prince Rupert to make the city's streets safer.  “What we’re advocating for are their [sic] tried and tested ways to reduce pedestrian-related collisions. Those aren’t campaigns to influence behaviour through education but the best way to reduce these crashes is actually changing the ways our streets are designed. Changing the built environment in ways that slow vehicles, improve visibility and separate modes of travel, for example, sidewalks and separated bike paths.”

84.15% of people do not feel safe at crosswalks in Prince Rupert, according to The Northern View's Web Poll.

Tell Us Which Prince Rupert Streets are 'Dangerous by Design'

CS4PR is attempting an experiment. Call it crowd sourcing of information about points around Prince Rupert are particularly dangerous for people who walk, use wheelchairs, ride bicycles or drive.  We want to know which points around Prince Rupert are dangerous by design.

Please describe a location around Prince Rupert that you find hard/scary to navigate safely, whether on foot, rolling, scooting, cycling or driving. We'll try to compile this information, perhaps on a Google Map, and present it to City Council in the future to advocate for safer infrastructure. Here's an example:

"Anytime of day - the crosswalk from the Scotia Bank to Bargain store - when there are cars parked in front of Scotia Bank and you are driving west, it is almost impossible to see potential pedestrians ready to step off the curb. In the early evening with the sun in your eyes, it is even worse."

Please post your 'hot spots' on our Facebook page.

Thank you!