The federal government is looking for public feedback on a problem Rupertites are all too familiar with.
On March 16, an online public survey was launched by the Ministry of Transportation to gather comments and strategy ideas to better protect cyclists and pedestrians around heavy vehicles — such as trucks and buses — on the roads.
“Protecting vulnerable road users, especially in large urban centres, is an important goal for Transport Canada and all levels of government,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau in a press release on March 16. “That’s why we all need to talk and work together to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists around heavy vehicles.”
Garneau created an intergovernmental task force in 2016 to look for solutions to the issue of vulnerable road users. The task force released a report in January which outlines interaction between pedestrians, cyclists and heavy road vehicles.
It highlights some of the major issues and discusses potential fixes such as crosswalk redesign, adjusting traffic control laws and improving visibility on the road.
The survey asks participants what they feel is missing from the report as well as what information they feel would help to improve it. It also asks for general comments on the report and its contents.
In Prince Rupert, it is becoming increasingly common for there to be incidents between vehicles and pedestrians, particularly at crosswalks.
Fourteen pedestrians have been struck be vehicles in the last 15 months in the city, including a 55-year-old man who was struck in the 400 block of Third Avenue West on March 16. Since the Northern View reported 11 pedestrians were hit by vehicles in 2017, seven in crosswalk, the city has been meeting with the Ministry of Transport to find solutions.
Chris Lightfoot, founder of Complete Streets for Prince Rupert, has made presentations around the city about making the streets safer for all road users.
While he is happy that the federal government is showing commitment to improving the safety of pedestrian and cyclists, Lightfoot said he thought the government could have been more broad about what road users need protection from.
“It would have been nice if the government had acknowledged that vulnerable road users need increased protection from automobiles in general, not just trucks and buses,” he said.
To complete read the report and online survey visit the federal government’s Let’s Talk website at https://letstalktransportation.ca/VRU. The survey will remain online until April 8.