Pedestrian road deaths rising rapidly
A soaring number of pedestrian fatalities in Edmonton is the result of a booming population driving up the statistics, says a University of Alberta traffic-engineering professor.
The city has recorded 19 traffic fatalities so far this year — eight including pedestrians — and David Checkel says population growth is the single biggest contributing factor to the rise in fatal accidents.
“We’re seeing more traffic fatalities and more traffic congestion simply because of population growth,” says Checkel.
Checkel says traffic congestion usually spreads much faster than the rate of people moving into Edmonton because of daily out-of-town commuters who need to work in the downtown core.
Mayor Stephen Mandel said he finds the high number of pedestrian fatalities troublesome and said that more needs to be done to educate people to practise better safety habits.
“There’s nothing more important than trying to make sure that you are cautious with your kids and showing them to look both ways when crossing the street,” said Mandel.
“People have said we should add more pedestrian bridges, but we found out that no one uses them. It’s all about education.”
Meanwhile, an autopsy on Friday identified Edmonton resident Darlene Jimmy as the 53-year-old who died after she was struck by a utility van late Wednesday night on 124 St. near 113 Ave.
Police have ruled out speed and alcohol as factors in the collision, but are still continuing to investigate the cause of the fatality.