September 16, 2019

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City strives to cut number of traffic fatalities to zero

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>City administration has been tasked with developing a road-safety strategy designed to eliminate traffic fatalities.</p>

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

City administration has been tasked with developing a road-safety strategy designed to eliminate traffic fatalities.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/1/2017 (979 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A civic committee instructed the administration Tuesday to develop a road safety strategy designed to eliminate all traffic fatalities.

“No deaths are acceptable,” said Coun. Marty Morantz, chairman of council’s public works committee. “We need to be striving towards zero (fatalities).”

Prompted by a proposal from St. Norbert Coun. Janice Lukes, the committee instructed the public works department to develop a strategy designed to eliminate all traffic fatalities on Winnipeg streets.

Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert) said she was pleased the committee endorsed her suggestion, adding she expects it will involve a public consultation process and a greater emphasis by the city to improve existing roadways identified as problematic.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/1/2017 (979 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A civic committee instructed the administration Tuesday to develop a road safety strategy designed to eliminate all traffic fatalities.

"No deaths are acceptable," said Coun. Marty Morantz, chairman of council’s public works committee. "We need to be striving towards zero (fatalities)."

Prompted by a proposal from St. Norbert Coun. Janice Lukes, the committee instructed the public works department to develop a strategy designed to eliminate all traffic fatalities on Winnipeg streets.

Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert) said she was pleased the committee endorsed her suggestion, adding she expects it will involve a public consultation process and a greater emphasis by the city to improve existing roadways identified as problematic.

Lukes had been pushing city hall to adopt a Swedish strategy, known as Vision Zero, which has been embraced by many countries and other Canadian municipalities.

However, at the suggestion of Morantz, the committee wants city staff to develop a strategy based on a federal government initiative, known as Towards Zero, which is also based on the Swedish initiative.

Lukes dismissed the significance of the name change, adding the objective is the same – to eliminate traffic fatalities.

"Road safety is extremely serious," Lukes said

Officials in the public works department said it will take at least a year to develop the strategy, which Morantz said he hoped will be eventually adopted and approved by city council.

City staff said Winnipeg already follows international best practices when it comes to designing roadways and the proof is the number of traffic fatalities on city streets compared to the rest of the province.

Luis Escobar, the city’s manager of transportation, said while the majority of the provincial population resides in Winnipeg, the city has only a small portion of traffic deaths.

Manitoba Public Insurance said there were 112 traffic fatalities across the province in 2016, with 20 of those occurring in Winnipeg; for 2015, there were 79 traffic fatalities province wide, with 13 deaths in Winnipeg. Data provided by Manitoba Public Insurance shows that while the province averaged 79 traffic deaths annually in the years 2010-2014, Winnipeg averaged 15 traffic deaths annually during the same time period.

"We are doing a lot of things to improve road safety and that’s reflected in the level of injury and level of fatality compared to other cities across Canada," Escobar told the public works committee. He said the city and city staff are members of national and international road safety committees

Escobar noted measures designed to minimize accidents and fatalities, such as: traffic signal poles with break-away bases, which minimize the severity of injury during collision; the installation of pedestrian count-down signals at high-priority intersections; road safety audits.

Lukes is holding a public seminar on traffic safety at the end of the month at the Millennium Library. She’s bringing in experts to talk about the Swedish plan and what steps cities need to take in roadway design and other initiatives to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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