Dallas reporters walk Edmonton for street safety tips

Dallas reporters walk Edmonton for street safety tips

Reporters from Dallas, Texas, recently visited Edmonton to learn about the city's Vision Zero efforts and feature them as an example their city can learn from.

Dallas has the highest traffic death rate in the United States.

Taproot's city hall watchers discussed the Dallas coverage on Episode 242 of Speaking Municipally, pointing out that although Edmonton may not be where it aspires to be with Vision Zero, our progress may be better than we think.

"I think there's a fair amount of Dallas doing something wrong here, but there's also a fair amount of Edmonton doing something right," said co-host Troy Pavlek.

In 2022, Dallas reported 228 traffic-related deaths, while Edmonton reported 14. Both cities have comparable populations of just more than one million people.

"It's just a good reminder that there are big cities not that far away, like Dallas, that are far behind where Edmonton is," said co-host Mack Male. "For all the — maybe justified — criticism we levy at things that happen in our own city, it's not all that bad."

Edmonton adopted the Vision Zero program in 2015. Its goal is to decrease traffic fatalities in the city to zero. In 2021, traffic-related deaths had declined by 50% and severe injuries decreased by 32%, according to the 2021 Annual Report.

The city's traffic safety could see further changes on Dec. 1, when the province's four-year freeze on new photo-radar equipment and locations expires. The policy has been extended before, but the Alberta government has not yet announced what will happen this year.

In an article by CBC, Coun. Jo-Anne Wright of Ward Sspomitapi expressed concerns about enforcement not being allowed in zones with speed limits under 50km/h if the freeze is to lift, which Pavlek echoed.

"It is absurd that we can't enforce in exactly where we want to enforce in: where our children are playing, where kids are walking to school, where people are trying to live their lives in a calm, relaxing manner," Pavlek said.

Hear more about Edmonton's traffic safety stardom, snow removal expectations, and the potential consequences of an unsuccessful budget adjustment on the Nov. 17 episode of Speaking Municipally.

Photo: Pedestrians use one of Edmonton's many scramble crosswalks, a diagonal passage that a Dallas reporter said resembles something "from the Land of Oz." (Mack Male/Flickr)