Ending the war on drivers

One question I am often asked when my team and I are door knocking is: what do you mean by “ending the war on drivers”? I’m happy to take the opportunity here to flesh that out for you.

First of all, we need to ensure that we are properly maintaining our roads. This means fixing potholes, ensuring appropriate snow clearing, and making sure that our roads are appropriate for the traffic. Take, for example, 66 Street and 50 Street (north of 153 Avenue), and 167 Avenue. Despite increased development and growing communities, these roads are still only built for single-lane traffic. As we continue to add hundreds of homes and dozens of small businesses, we have not been widening those roads to handle the increased traffic. Additionally, southbound traffic at 50 Street and 153 Avenue does not have a right turning lane, which every other direction does have at that intersection. Our roads need to keep up with our growing communities.

Second, we need to address photo radar. When I ran for office four years ago, I found out via an access to information request that the locations that had the highest number of collisions did not match the locations that were most often targeted for photo radar. Photo radar revenue should not be something that the city relies on: if the city is building that into our projected revenue, then it cannot be viewed as anything other than a cash cow. There are more effective ways of changing driver behaviour, such as the electronic speed signs or laser radar. While there are still more immediate and effective ways to catch speeders, I do think that there are two legitimate uses for photo radar and those are in the middle of school/playground zones and in active construction zones. But that’s not where photo radar is deployed. 

Third, we need to stop expanding the bike lane network, especially at the expense of driving lanes. In a winter city, where for a good half of the year there are very few people using those lanes, it is not reasonable to continue to expand the network. Bike lanes are a downtown solution for a downtown populace. You can learn more about my stance on bike lanes from an earlier post.

Another item we need to look at is snow clearing, an issue that comes up every winter. I think that we should look at making some changes when it comes to the way we clear our streets in the winter. For example, looking at immediately removing windrows not just downtown, but on bus routes and around school and playground zones, and near places of worship and community/recreation centres. All of these locations see increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and ensuring better visibility will be safer for everyone. We will also need to address windrows in newer communities that don’t have the benefit of a boulevard because they narrow the roads even before you add parked vehicles. With the new waste and compost bins, there will be additional items on these roads that take up space.

Please feel free to share your opinion with me. 

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  • Tricia Velthuizen
    published this page in News 2021-09-16 13:27:02 -0600

Tricia Velthuizen for Edmonton City Council