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More urgency needed on pedestrian safety: Calgary city councillor

Last Updated Feb 9, 2016 at 10:43 am MDT

(Stock photo: Thinkstock)

There’s renewed debate about the city’s pedestrian strategy, following the death of a senior in the city’s northwest.

The 66-year-old woman was struck and killed in a marked crosswalk at Centre Street and 18 Avenue Monday night.

The Step Forward strategy, which would include lowering speed limits in residential areas, adding more rapid flashing beacons at crosswalks, and an extensive awareness campaign, was tabled last month at City Hall.

But, at least one councillor is wondering if we shouldn’t be acting sooner.

Ward 7’s Druh Farrell says Centre Street North, where the woman was struck, has long been an area of concern.

“The speeds are very high, it’s not built for pedestrians, it’s not comfortable for them, and the crossing movements feel very unsafe,” she said.

She says this incident highlights the urgency of passing the strategy.

“Pedestrians are the most vulnerable user in the city. We’ve created unsafe conditions,” Farrell said. “Other cities have implemented stronger documents, but it certainly is a ‘step forward’.”

Ward 10’s Andre Chabot says the extra time was needed, as there were areas of the document that needed to be updated.

“I think that’s part of the reason that we sent it back,” he said. “We wanted to have a chance to talk a little bit more about those high priority areas,” he said.

Chabot supports lowering the residential speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, but says they have to take a serious look at the costs.

“It would be a lot better if the provincial government initiated it province-wide. If the City of Calgary were to do it as a standalone city, the costs would be more than double because of the amount of additional signage that we’d have to put on,” he said.

The pedestrian strategy will return for debate at a city committee in April.