Far From Random

After investigating data related to collisions with pedestrians in 2015 staff from the City of Greater Sudbury’s Roads Department concluded, “Due to the random nature of collisions, there is no one measure that could be implemented which would eliminate all pedestrian collisions.” How terrifying would it be if this was true?

From 2009 to 2016 the Greater Sudbury Police Service responded to 626 motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians. That’s an average of 78.25 per year. The 2016 census tells us there are approximately 161,531 people living in The City of Greater Sudbury.

Imagine if every individual in Sudbury had an equally random chance of being involved in a collision, either as a pedestrian or a driver, at any given time.

The odds of hitting someone or getting hit would be about 1 in 1,000. For comparison, the best odds for winning the top prize on a slot machine at Sudbury Downs is 1 in 4,000.

Thankfully, in a way, motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians are not random at all. They are actually predictable and therefore preventable.

I’ve written about this before, and SudburyMoves.ca has published a guest blog on the subject as well,but until now we’ve only been working with data from 2009-2014, or with data from the city that included 2015 as well.

Using the map and figures discussed yesterday we know the top intersections for collisions with pedestrians over the past 8 years have been:

Elm and Notre Dame – 16

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.54.42 AM

  • June 1, 2009 – 10:43am
  • December 29, 2010 – 9:34pm (2 struck)
  • August 12, 2011 – 10:13pm
  • October 13, 2011 – 8:14pm
  • March 7, 2012 – 6:42pm
  • October 31, 2012 – 7:26am (fatal)
  • February 5, 2013 – 1:54pm
  • August 13, 2013 – 2:45pm
  • March 18, 2013 – 1:44pm
  • May 1, 2014 – 4:00pm
  • November 26, 2015 – 8:39pm (2 struck)
  • December 9, 2015 – 7:48am
  • December 27, 2015 – 12:28pm
  • October 12, 2016 – 10:00am
  • November 6, 2016 – 10:16am
  • November 6, 2016 – 1:20pm

Regent and Paris – 13

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.56.09 AM

  • November 30, 2010 – 5:00pm
  • November 11, 2011 – 9:40pm
  • August 28, 2012 – 3:00pm
  • November 30, 2012 – 5:33pm
  • December 11, 2012 – 6:49am
  • November 26, 2013 – 6:30pm
  • May 8, 2014 – 5:36pm
  • May 27, 2014 – 1:23pm
  • November 8, 2014 – 8:25pm
  • October 17, 2015 – 8:42am
  • November 19, 2015 – 6:50am
  • December 28, 2015 – 11:06am
  • February 13, 2016 – 10:45am (2 people struck)

Notre Dame and King – 11

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.57.09 AM

  • October 6, 2009 – 6:28am
  • September 28, 2010 – 8:15pm
  • September 17, 2011 – 5:05pm
  • February 28, 2011 – 3:43pm
  • November 7, 2011 – 3:00pm
  • January 9, 2012 – 11:45am
  • May 9, 2013 – 7:21am
  • October 9, 2013 – 2:49pm
  • September 15, 2014 – 11:15am
  • April 9, 2015 – 9:50am
  • October 3, 2016 – 2:10pm (fatal)

Lasalle and Barry Downe – 10

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.57.57 AM

  • February 5, 2009 – 8:30am
  • December 3, 2010 – 7:12am
  • September 28, 2012 – 4:10pm
  • November 12, 2012 – 3:12am
  • September 5, 2013 – 6:20pm
  • March 8, 2014 – 7:30pm
  • July 2, 2014 – 1:58pm
  • October 8, 2016 – 1:38pm
  • November 16, 2016 – 11:44am
  • November 20, 2016 – 8:45pm

Notre Dame and Kathleen – 10

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.58.48 AM

  • August 3, 2009 – 10:35pm
  • August 11, 2010 – 2:45pm
  • September 15, 2012 – 3:10pm
  • November 10, 2012 – 6:51pm
  • September 9, 2011 – 2:30pm
  • October 26, 2011 – 6:31pm
  • June 27, 2013 – 3:55pm
  • July 26, 2014 – 3:55pm
  • October 8, 2015 – 8:15pm
  • October 29, 2016 – 11:20am

Barry Downe and Westmount – 9

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.59.25 AM

  • October 19, 2009 – 3:12pm
  • September 23, 2010 – 8:05pm
  • October 14, 2010 – 6:12pm
  • March 1, 2011 – 2:40pm
  • July 13, 2011 – 8:15am
  • May 5, 2012 – 6:01pm
  • October 1, 2013 – 9:30pm
  • November 28, 2015 – 7:43pm
  • March 21, 2016 – 5:59pm

Notre Dame and Wilma – 8

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.59.55 AM

  • December 1, 2010 – 1:30pm
  • February 18, 2011 – 6:34pm
  • March 28, 2012 – 4:44pm
  • May 2, 2012 – 5:07pm
  • December 17, 2012 – 5:35pm
  • September 12, 2013 – 8:10pm (fatal)
  • October 7, 2013 – 9:39am
  • September 16, 2016 – 2:50pm

If the nature of collisions with pedestrians was random then collisions would be more or less equally distributed across the city, but these are intersections where a collision is more likely to occur.

The combination of a high volume of pedestrians + high volume of vehicles + wide roadways + high speeds means we can predict with fair certainty that at least one person will hit a pedestrian at each of these intersections each year.

The Dangerous By Design project from Smart Growth America attempts to bring attention to the poor road design choices that make being a pedestrian more dangerous. It promotes a “complete streets” approach that gives pedestrians, cyclists and motorists an equitable share of road space and employs designs that reduce the risk of collisions.

The City of Greater Sudbury’s new Transportation Master Plan says that it is taking a complete streets approach, however it also proposes to further widen Notre Dame Avenue and Barry Downe, and it does not acknowledge or address the high number of collisions with pedestrians that have occurred along these roads.

Proposals to add separated bike lanes are a move in the right direction, but this needs to be done in a strategic manner with a goal of improving safety, not just adding symbols to existing paved boulevards.

Through my freedom of information request we now know the locations, dates and times of collisions with pedestrians, but we don’t know the exact circumstances of the collisions. We don’t know if they were the result of distracted driving, or running a red light, or even a deliberate act.

And we don’t know that city staff have considered how they could modify the design of these intersections to improve pedestrian safety.

Thankfully there’s still an opportunity to provide comments on new roads projects proposed through the Transportation Master Plan, and the City is in the midst of reviewing its Official Plan which guides new development in the City.

Make your voice heard. Reference the data I’ve put together and help make Sudbury’s streets safer for pedestrians.

 

One thought on “Far From Random

  1. There is one thing that could be done to reduce motor vehicle-pedestrian collisions… that is enforce existing laws and in particular: texting and driving; excessively tinted windows (not only does this prevent enforcement of distracted driving laws it prevents eye contact between the driver and pedestrian); excessive speed especially at intersections; lane changes too close to an intersection. Another effective solution that is used in other cities is red lights in all directions with walk signals all around.

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