Vancouver Police Department records show more pedestrians die on city streets than any other road user, and city hall is looking to do something about it.
The records show in each of the past five years, more pedestrians have been killed in Vancouver than drivers, passengers, cyclists, and motorcyclists combined.
The same is true so far in 2012. Out of 19 traffic fatalities in Vancouver since January, 11 have been pedestrians, including a fatal hit and run in East Vancouver on Sunday.
In another incident last week, a 19-year-old woman was killed and a 21-year-old man was seriously injured when they were struck by an SUV while crossing the street in East Vancouver.
ICBC says the number of accidents involving pedestrians jumps 80 per cent in November and December compared to July and August.
Corporation road safety director John Dickinson says drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop for pedestrians, while those on foot should use designated crosswalks, make eye contact with drivers and wear reflective clothing whenever possible.
Upgrades in the budget
Meanwhile pedestrian crossings in Vancouver could be getting upgrades if city councillors approve a two per cent property tax increase proposed last night.
The city's 2013 budget was presented at city hall on Tuesday night. Coun. Heather Deal says the new budget allocates about $1 million for new pedestrian or bicycle signals and slightly less for new sidewalk construction.
"How will that apply to the count-down clocks, which are so popular, curb cuts for accessibility as well as safety for pedestrians and others and crosswalk design … is a very top of mind issue for many of us right now."
The city's general manger of engineering Peter Judd says staff will review crossing times and look to improve lighting at intersections.
"There are certain intersections where we need to do some work to see if there's lighting that would have a benefit."
Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu says the force is also looking to crack down on dangerous drivers.
"There are some drivers who are reckless in what they are doing and having a strong enforcement level out there will help decrease the probability of that kind of driving."
Chu may get some help with that; the city also wants to spend $2 million to hire 40 new community safety officers.
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