Headlines: May 18, 2022

· The Pulse
  • Since Edmonton adopted Vision Zero in 2015, crash-caused fatalities have dropped 50%, serious injuries by 23%, and pedestrian fatalities and injuries by 27%, the city announced in its 2021 Vision Zero Annual Report. The document highlights safety improvements resulting from last year's decision to reduce residential and downtown speed limits and the launch of three programs intended to engage the public in street safety initiatives: Vision Zero Street Labs, the Safe Speeds Toolkit, and the Vision Zero School Kit. "The support and interest in these new programs show how much Edmontonians truly care about safe streets," said Jessica Lamarre, the city's director of safe mobility. A decline in photo radar revenues has put the program's funding at risk.
  • The Edmonton Elks reported a net operating loss of $1.1 million for 2021, after a season that saw them post a 3-11 record, with no wins at home and no playoffs. The loss "could have been much worse" given the circumstances, said board chair Ian Murray. On the bright side, the team has signed a partnership with MacEwan University to collaborate on offering student internships, co-ops, recruitment opportunities, support for MacEwan's sports teams, and more. MacEwan president Dr. Annette Trimbee applauded the Elks as "an amazing entrepreneurial and vibrant institution in this city."
  • University of Alberta president Bill Flanagan says the influx of $48.3 million into the school, which was announced as part of a wider provincial investment into "high-demand" programs, will help grow the student body from 42,000 to 44,000 over the next three years with the goal of reaching 50,000 in five years. The investment will expand the U of A's engineering, science, and nursing programs and pay the salaries of around 80 new professors.
  • A group of current and former U of A English professors published an opinion piece in the Edmonton Journal calling on Albertans to protest the "dreadful demolition" of the Humanities Centre after the university expressed its intention to remove the building from its inventory last month. The authors argue that the recent "assault" on the building, including budget cuts, is emblematic of a devaluation of the humanities. They point out that next year the English department will have only 30 professors responsible for lecturing nearly all U of A undergrads, who are required to take English courses. "We ask citizens who care about humanities to write to the university president and board of governors, urging that the humanities be suitably supported," the professors conclude.
  • Edmonton has 29 parks and open spaces projects underway, with another 36 in the planning and design phases, as the city prepares for continued growth in park, trail, and open space use. Glengarry District Park, Confederation District Park, and the Ramsay Ravine are among the many sites scheduled for renewal this season, while Rundle Heights and several parks in the Griesbach neighbourhood will see new or upgraded playgrounds. The city also plans to plant 3,000 trees through the Urban Tree Canopy Expansion project. This is happening in tandem with the city's ambitious 2022 construction schedule.
  • The Edmonton Police Service's traffic safety unit and the Alberta Motor Association are launching a pilot project to deter motorists from speeding past tow trucks. The initiative will see EPS officers monitoring areas where AMA tow trucks are offering roadside assistance along Anthony Henday Drive, the Queen Elizabeth II Highway, Whitemud Drive, and Yellowhead Trail. Alberta's Traffic Safety Act says motorists passing tow trucks or emergency vehicles must decelerate to either 60 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower.
  • Downtown Spark, a festival featuring large whimsical installations from international and local artists plus music and cultural events, is returning to downtown Edmonton from May 26 to June 5. Edmontonians can expect to find inflatable sculptures by UK-based Designs in Air and Edmonton's own Vignettes at Rice Howard Way, Alex Decoteau Park, and the Yellowhead Brewery. Downtown Spark is presented by the Edmonton Downtown Business Association and partners.
  • As of May 16, Albertans with a driver's licence or ID card can renew it online at anytime through the MyAlberta eServices portal. The new system circumvents in-person service and also allows users to download a temporary licence.
  • Premier Jason Kenney took a selfie outside the Canadian Embassy in the U.S. with a man from Virginia also named Jason Kenney, whose Twitter account has been the subject of misdirected ire toward the Canadian politician since the early 2000s.