Improving pedestrian safety on Montreal streets
Following the death of 7-year-old Ukrainian refugee Mariia Legenkovska who was struck by a car in December, the City of Montreal is committing to making its streets safer. The plan is to expand a safety program known as the Programme de sécurisation aux abords des écoles (PSAÉ).
Forty two new safety projects will be implemented in 13 boroughs. Once completed later this year, the changes and additions will ensure that more than 15,000 students will be safer when travelling around their schools. The measures put in place will include speed bumps and bollards meant to slow vehicle traffic, upgraded signs and signalling, reduced lane widths, and enlarged sidewalks.
In 2023, approximately 50 establishments will benefit from improved measures, including elementary and secondary schools, CPEs, as well as two parks.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante explained that the city’s young people must be able to travel safely and without fear, whether they’re going to school, the park, or with their parents to daycare. Plante noted that improving safety around establishments frequented by toddlers and vulnerable pedestrians is a priority for her administration.
Financed by the City of Montreal, the participating boroughs are responsible for the plan of the project, design and completion of the work. Among the locations where improvements will be made are Willingdon Elementary School (Senior Campus in N.D.G.), Saint-Jean Bosco Daycare and Westmount Park Elementary School in Le Sud-Ouest, École Harfang-des-Neiges in Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Trafalgar School for Girls and Sacred Heart School of Montreal in Ville-Marie, and the streets around Parc La Fontaine in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal.
Calls for safety
Pedestrian safety group Piétons Quebec has been urging the government to prioritize city streets and those who travel them by foot. The group notes that in Quebec, 27,000 pedestrians were injured and there were 650 fatalities in the last 10 years. According to preliminary numbers from the Montreal police, there were 20 pedestrian fatalities in the city in 2022 — nearly twice as many as the previous year. In addition to these deaths, 70 people were seriously injured and another 850 suffered minor injuries.
The PSAÉ is part of the Vision Zero policy, a road safety strategy first developed in Sweden in 1997, to encourage active travel by young people aged 5 to 17 to school through safe routes. Through concrete, multilateral actions and with the support of its partners, the city aims to have zero deaths and zero serious injuries on its network of roads by 2040.
The City also plans to launch a second call for projects before the end of the year, this time to secure the surroundings of places frequented by seniors.