International Womens Day – Together we can bring change!

Today is International Women’s Day. Its a day where we can look at the progress that we have had, but also a day to reflect on how we can continue bringing progress. I think that the message of International Women’s Day is that there is more work to do.  We all do this work together and as we step up and speak up we will continue to see change!

Together we can made Edmonton a better place for all women, today and in the future. 

Your Business and Vision Zero

On February 21, I had the pleasure of talking to over 40 industry executives and local business owners about traffic safety at the Vision Zero Corporate and Industry Symposium.

The long-term goal of Vision Zero Edmonton is to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. We want our friends, family members, and employees to arrive safely at their destination and return home at the end of the day. Tragically, many people have lost a friend or family member to a traffic collision. That is why it was so exciting to see a room full of business leaders learning what Vision Zero is and how they can be part of making our streets safer.

Business owners have a vested interest in traffic safety because they want their friends, family members and employees arriving home safe at the end of the day. Losing an employee to a traffic crash means they lose a friend as well as a trusted and skilled employee. Collisions also put work vehicles out of commision, raise insurance rates, and increase the risk of liability.

A Vision Zero principle recognizes that eliminating fatalities and serious injuries is a shared responsibility between road users and those who design and maintain our roadways. To reach our Vision Zero goal will take all of us. The City is working towards Vision Zero using a data-based approach, to systematically upgrade intersections, improve safety measures around schools, upgrade crosswalks, and lower speeds where vulnerable road users interact with vehicles.

Symposium participants listened to traffic safety experts from Germany and Sweden, heard about what Vision Zero is accomplishing in Edmonton, asked questions, and discussed traffic safety. They agreed that industry and government should work together to end road deaths and serious injuries. Eight representatives from the group agreed to meet together again to determine possible next steps and then to share their suggestions with all the attendees.

I am thankful for those who showed their commitment to safer roads, and I am excited to see what happens next.

Civic Precinct Renewal – City Hall Wading Pool

 The civic precinct is at the end of its life and needing to be redone, in the process the City has to bring everything up to the new Alberta Health standards. There have been various conversations around Council about whether we should rebuild the pool maintaining its current depth, or if we should change …

Crosswalk Safety

Today the City Auditor presented the results of the crosswalk audit to City Council, and I am pleased to see that the report recognizes the crosswalk program is effectively managed.

The Traffic Safety Office, under Parks and Roads, is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of an effective pedestrian crosswalk program. The objective for this audit was to ensure that the pedestrian crosswalk program is managed effectively, and the City Auditor concluded that the pedestrian crosswalk program is being effectively managed and improving pedestrian safety.

While the City Auditor confirmed the program is well-managed and improving pedestrian safety, it offered four recommendations to improve the program’s overall effectiveness.

The City has already made steps to implement the auditors’ suggestions and recommendations including:

  • As of May 26, the City started increasing the width of all parallel (standard) pedestrian crosswalk lines to 20 cm in width from the previous standard of 10 cm.  The wider line will be used at:
    • new crosswalk installations
    • regular scheduled maintenance of existing crosswalks
    • and replacement of existing crosswalks after repaving and rehabilitation
  • 20 cm white lines have already been painted along decorative brick crosswalks at three intersections on 118 Ave ( 81 St., 88 St., and 95A St.) and more are in the works.

In addition, based on data, the City created a pedestrian-crossing signals priority list for 2017 and 2018 based on evaluating hundreds of pedestrian crossings.

These crosswalk upgrades are about making crossings safer for pedestrians. However, it is also important to note that crosswalks do not protect pedestrians from careless drivers, so it is important for drivers to watch for pedestrians and pedestrians to watch for careless drivers.

More information on pedestrian crossings can be found here.

Ultimately, it is going to take all of us. Engineering improvements, pedestrian awareness, and driver behavior… each element is important. Our goal is Vision Zero, but it is going to everybody.

Northwest LRT Expansion – The Time Is Now!

This past week Councillor Dave Loken and I brought forward a notice of motion. This motion should come forward this next week and I am passionate about seeing our communities served well, with access to fast and efficient public transportation.

Here’s what our notice of motion is:

That Administration:

1) amend the scope of the NW LRT design study to include developing a

scenario where a precursor express bus service could run north

from Blatchford on a bridge over the Yellowhead and CN Calder Rail

Yard, with the bridge future-proofed for upgrade to rail for LRT;

2) take this scenario into account as part of the continuing Transit

Strategy and report back on the opportunity to align the Strategy to

this precursor express bus scenario; and,

3) include this precursor scenario in the continuing public

engagement on NW LRT planning.

So what are we trying to accomplish? City Administration is currently preparing a Transit Strategy, so the time is right to include this concept for consideration. We would like to gather all of the information possible to consider building a bridge across the CN Rail Yards to provide Express Bus Service from the north side of Edmonton to the downtown.

This may seem like a secondary level of service or a downgrade, you might even be wondering if this would short circuit the NW LRT Expansion. This is not settling for secondary service, but proactively accelerating access to LRT service, and potentially creating infrastructure to aid in the development of the NW LRT Expansion.

With the Yellowhead Trail Upgrade just around the corner, this is about being fiscally responsible, by aligning with this work and looking at the possibility of infrastructure that can be incorporated into the NW LRT Expansion plan that will open up the north first with Express buses connecting to existing LRT, and finally, by opening up the north with the LRT through the NW Expansion. The time is right to address the needs of our communities with meaningful engagement around thoughtful pieces of important infrastructure.

As always, you can connect with me at City Hall by phone: 780-496-8136 or by email: