City Coun. Laura Cabott says the city should be looking at measures to make Second Avenue safer.
Cabott told her colleagues on council at Monday’s meeting she did not want to sensationalize the tragic death of a pedestrian who was struck Nov. 21 on Second Avenue when he was in the crosswalk at Elliott Street.
But there are realities that need to be faced, the councillor suggested.
“Second Avenue has been identified as more than a problematic street in our city,” she said. “It has been characterized by many people as even dangerous and one that requires some action.
“I know the city has taken some steps throughout the years to make this street safer, but the fact of the matter is it is not a safe street.”
Cabott said Second Avenue is the city’s busiest thoroughfare, with vehicles travelling very fast along four lanes that cut through the heart of the city’s business district where people bank, shop, eat and gather.
The councillor asked administration what the city was planning to do in the long term and short term to address the problems.
Acting city manager Valerie Braga told council the Second Avenue corridor study is 95 per cent complete and is expected to be finalized before the end of the year.
It will provide a framework to address any identified problems, she said.
The city received the first draft of the corridor study last January.
Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, said the study will provide a number of capital budget items for consideration in future years or sooner.
There will be recommendations that administration will look at to see what can be done next year, he said.
Gau said the city-wide master transportation plan will provide a longer, 20-year plan for transportation infrastructure in the city.
Planning, said Cabott, is important, but action is also important.
“Immediate action, I think, is something the public is looking for, and has been looking for for quite a while.”
The councillor noted the reduction in speed limits that council authorized earlier this year for streets in Porter Creek out of concern for pedestrian safety.
It’s well documented that when a person is struck by a vehicle travelling 50 kilometres per hour, they will die 85 per cent of the time, Cabott said.
She said at 40 kilometres per hour, the likelihood drops to 30 per cent, and at 30 kilometres an hour – school zone speed – it’s knocked right town to 10 per cent.
Cabott said she was wondering why the city doesn’t look at some interim safety measures for Second Avenue while waiting for the corridor study and master plan.
There is, for instance, the possibility of reducing the speed limit, she suggested.
Gau said he’s not sure if the corridor study will speak to the speed limit on Second. If it does not, the city’s street and signage committee can be asked to have a look at it, he said.
Coun. Steve Roddick said he’s had a few discussions about the tragic accident and what might be done to improve pedestrian safety.
Lowering the speed limit is an option but just lowering the speed limit might not do it because Second Avenue is still four lanes of traffic that can be wide open at times, he said.
Roddick suggested addressing the safety concerns may mean looking at the design of the roadway.
But in the short term, a reduction in the speed limit might be worth a try, he said.