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Project dreams of zero serious accidents on Richmond's roads

Vision Zero project has been surveying Richmond residents and will present its findings to the city
Vision Zero aims for zero amount of serious accidents on Richmond's roads

A pedestrian safety project has received feedback from Richmond residents and aims to persuade the city to become “Vision Zero.”

Vision Zero is a worldwide initiative highlighting the importance of proper road safety measures, emphasizing zero serious injuries, disabilities, and deaths on the road.

The project, collaborating with Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC), is gathering data to present to the City of Richmond in strategizing a safe road solution for all.

The RPRC is involved because it believes that people in poverty are more likely to be a victim of on the roads, given the fact they’re walking the streets more than others.

While the city is working on infrastructure and pushing policies that improve road safety, Athena Estremadura, project coordinator of Vision Zero for Richmond, believes more can be done.

“Vancouver And Burnaby are Vision Zero cities; they are committed to that movement, but Richmond is not,” Estremadura said, “When you have the Vision Zero commitment, you are recognizing that causes of all car accidents should be preventable.”

Vision Zero’s pedestrian safety survey will share the perspectives from organizations such as the food bank, Richmond Women’s Resource Centre, and Richmond Centre for Disability, as their members are all less likely to drive and be more vulnerable on the street.

The survey also includes questions that reflect Richmond residents’ knowledge of road safety. For instance, in the question: “which side of the street are pedestrians supposed to walk on when there are no sidewalks?” 44 per cent either gave the wrong answer or didn’t know. 

Susan Huang, who has been living in Richmond since 2011, said she had encountered several close calls on the city’s streets.

Huang commutes primarily by public transit or walking. However, due to her disability, she sometimes has to rely on a mobility scooter.

“I usually take the bus to Walmart, and there are parts around it that don’t have sidewalks,” Huang said, “if I am on foot, it might be fine, but on the scooter is a different story.”

Huang said that using the mobility scooter, she has to go around a long distance to get to places safely, but others might not have the same idea.

Parts along Alderbridge Way and Garden City Road, or a block of Cedarbridge Way (In front of the Richmond Food Bank) with no accessible sidewalks, are some of the areas of concerns for Vision Zero.

“It is important to realize that it is not drivers versus pedestrians, we just need to collaborate,” Estremadura said, “That’s why we are trying to approach the city to start the consultation, so the city road works for everybody.”