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City to develop program to improve pedestrian, cyclist safety

Focus for project will be on schools, joint public steering committee to be formed

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 06:00 am

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Council gave the green light to the initial stages of a project meant to ultimately improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists travelling to school in St. Albert.

“The whole point of this exercise is to look at what we can do better,” said David Hales, general manager of planning and engineering.

Thanks to the motions passed unanimously by council on Monday night, the Safe Journeys to School project will see a joint public steering committee formed and a terms of reference created and brought back by the end of January for council to review.

The report given to council said the project, which is supposed to include extensive community engagement, aims to produce a report that looks at improving safety and reducing collisions that relate to pedestrian and bicycle journeys to and from schools.

The project is estimated to cost $200,000 and administration suggested that be funded from the “speed on green” reserves. That reserve fund gets 50 per cent of the proceeds from intersection safety camera tickets and is to be used for traffic safety initiatives.

The guiding principles were included in the report but the terms of reference of the joint public steering committee will come back to council for approval.

Councillors wanted to know if the report, which they were told would likely come back in eight months, could come back sooner and if some elements of the project, like an awareness campaign or any known fixes required, could happen immediately.

Hales said city staff are not aware of any intersections that need immediate attention, and that starting an education campaign would presuppose the outcome of the report.

The focus of the project is schools and safe travel by pedestrians or cyclists.

“I think all of us around this bench will agree we want a safe community for all our residents,” said Coun. Gilles Prefontaine. Council asked if the report could come back in July, and heard because of all the possible open houses and other activities, that might not be possible.

“This is not a small quick project,” said city manager Patrick Draper, who said they could report back – though maybe not totally complete – by Aug. 31.


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