After being hit twice by vehicles as he was walking, a Calgary engineer turned 16 years of police data he obtained through freedom of information into a map showing the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians.
Using a Google Fusion Table, Dustin Jones plotted the total pedestrian collisions from 1996 to 2012 at every single intersection in Calgary in anonline map because he wants to educate pedestrians.
“I’m just hoping that it helps to educate people about where they are potentially at risk when walking,” said Jones, who obtained the data from the Calgary Police Service through Freedom of Information request.
“I have a number of friends who have been hit or seriously injured in accidents. Each of these points on the map is somebody’s story about being in an accident.”
Some of his findings show, for example, that 45 pedestrians were hit by vehicles over the span of 16 years at intersection of 17th Avenue S.W. and 4th Street S.W., a trendy spot near shops and restaurants, the point where 17th Avenue meets Mission.
Eight of those pedestrians were seriously injured.
On Forest Lawn’s International Avenue, from 26th to 61st Street S.E., more than 150 pedestrian collisions, including 34 at the intersection of 17th Avenue S.E. and 36th Street S.E., took place between 1996 and 2012.
Near the 39th Avenue LRT Station, at 39th Avenue S.W. and Macleod Trail S, 20 pedestrians have been hit since 1996, including one who died, and three who suffered major injuries.
Two pedestrian deaths in marked crosswalks in a less than a week earlier this month has prompted calls for improved crosswalk safety in Calgary.
Statistics released by police reveal that an average of three pedestrians are hit by a vehicle in Calgary every two days.
In January, a Calgary senior, who was wearing a safety vest so he would be visible to motorists, was killed while walking near his Bowness home.
Jones’ map uses coloured markers to signify the number of collisions that have occurred on city streets, and clicking on each marker shows how many collisions resulted in death or major, minor, unknown or non-existent injuries.
The map shows no area of the city is exempt from pedestrian collisions.
Jones said he was surprised at just how many Calgarians are hit while walking.
“For every pedestrian fatality that you hear about in the media, there are a large number of major injuries that happen and an even larger number of minor injuries that happen,” Jones said. “We only see the tip of the iceberg in terms of the overall injury picture of what’s happening. The data really shows there’s a much broader amount of injuries happening.”
Coun. Druh Farrell referred to Jones’ collision map last week as she argued in favour of the proposed 1st Street S.E. bike lanes. The plan would protect pedestrians by keeping bicycles off sidewalks, she said.
On Sunday, Farrell said when she first saw Jones’ map, she was “saddened and not surprised.”
“My lack of surprise was what was so sad. (Pedestrian collisions) seem to be considered just a hazard of city life and that response will not help us improve the situation,” she said.
Historically, pedestrian safety hasn’t been a priority in Calgary, said Farrell, referencing the fact that new communities have only recently been required to build sidewalks on both sides of the street as one of many examples.
“It’s something that is an after-thought to many people, including our own transportation department. They’re getting better at it, but it’s slow progress,” she said.
Jones is hopeful Calgarians will use the map he created to advocate for change at the extra troublesome or dangerous intersections in their neighbourhoods.
“It is pretty sad that there are so many injuries happening,” he said.
The intersections with the highest number of total pedestrian collisions (1996-2012) in Calgary are:
* 17th Avenue S.W. and 4th Street S.W.: 45 total pedestrian collisions
* 6455 Macleod Trail S: 41 total pedestrian collisions
* 3625 Shaganappi Trail N.W.: 39 total pedestrian collisions
* 17th Avenue S.E. and 36th Street S.E.: 34 total pedestrian collisions
* 14th Street S.W. and 17th Avenue S.W.: 34 total pedestrian collisions
Here’s the map showing Dustin Jones’ efforts: