This was sent to City Council last week in regard to this news story and Regina’s glacial repair of dangerous street design:
Your Worship, and City Councillors,
I write in support of Councillor O’Donnell’s idea to improve pedestrian safety in school zones. I would hope though that this effort to save lives is not limited to only school zones, and will be extended across the city.
The main problem is not just that the 40km/h and 50km/h limits are too high in residential areas, the streets are designed in an unsafe way for pedestrians, and actually encourage speeding. This debate was recently seen in Calgary, regarding fire truck street design vs. pedestrian safety design. For times when a collision does happen, 30km/h is far better than 40km/h, as a limit. That’s why it’s the standard for progressive countries looking to reduce auto/pedestrian fatalities.
To get people to actually slow down takes more than another street sign, it takes road redesign. Look on Broad St. N., College Ave., and Douglas Ave. for examples; all go by schools and have three lanes for cars (one is parking). If we were concerned about slowing vehicles down in these zones, one of those lanes would be blocked off for bicycles only, and there would be no parking close to where children and other pedestrians cross the street. There would be bulb-outs to make the walkers’ trip short, and pose a visual threat to drivers going too quickly. Speed humps, that put pedestrians at grade, like the one seen in the parking lot of Victoria Square Mall in front of Jysk is a fine example to copy too. Make streets as narrow as possible for cars (and emergency vehicles and snow removal equipment). Do not place congestion concerns above human life. If people want to avoid congestion, they can walk, bike, or take buses given priority lanes.
Two people have died recently on Victoria Ave. E. because that street was designed only with vehicles in mind. Instead of walling it off to people, give it safe places to cross, and a sidewalk (and cycle track) to connect east Regina with Downtown. With the new bypass, Victoria Ave. should be reclaimed as a city street instead of a highway hostile to pedestrians with the body count rising.