Pedestrian injuries in NDG: a ten-year study
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 15 novembre 2012
A Montreal Public Health study of the number of pedestrians and cyclists hit by cars between 1999 and 2008 identifies the most dangerous intersections in NDG.
Dr. Patrick Morency, of Montreal Public Health’s urban environment and health section, commented on the statistics at a public meeting of the NDG Community Council and the NDG: Green, Active and Healthy committee recently.
Dr. Morency tracked the number of pedestrians and cyclists who were hit by cars during the 1999-2008 timeframe, and who needed the services of an ambulance. On the island of Montreal, ambulances were called for 1100 injured pedestrians. In the borough of NDG, there were 313 pedestrian injuries during the same period, an average of about 31 a year.
To put that in perspective, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) reports that 10 pedestrians a day are hit by cars in the province, the majority over 55 or under 15 years old. In NDG, 20 cyclists a year are hit by cars and require ambulance services, according to the study.
Most injuries happen on major arteries where many services, stores and schools are located. The big factors are traffic volume and high speed. In NDG, the public health study reveals that the most dangerous intersections stretch along Sherbrooke between West Broadway and Vendome, with Cavendish, Girouard and Decarie being the prime hotspots.
Dr. Morency’s study concludes that a 30% reduction in traffic volume would reduce the total number of injured pedestrians by 35% and would reduce the risk of injury by 50% at major intersections. But, like the NDG Community Council, he also supports more feasible measures that can be put in place immediately to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
“There is almost nothing to protect pedestrians crossing at corners and we need to do better than that,” says Dr. Morency. “We need to construct medians in the middle of crosswalks as a safe refuge for people who cross slowly, and they need to extend over the crosswalk,” he proposes. Traffic calming measures have already been implemented, such as flexible barrier posts that reduce the flow of traffic to one lane on a number of residential streets, as well as curved extended sidewalks at intersections like Girouard and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce avenues, making it safer for pedestrians as well as motorists turning the corner.
Residents at the NDG Community Council meeting expressed concern over increased traffic volumes that would likely happen with the proposed Turcot Interchange redevelopment, and wanted to give priority to public transit. One resident proposed exclusive bus lanes in the area surrounding the MUHC mega-hospital project. Dr. Morency said that the idea had already been suggested to the STM; it replied that traffic congestion around the project site at Decarie and de Maisonneuve would worsen if bus lanes were put in place.
Another resident noted that while the elimination of parking spots may help foster a greener environment, it deters the elderly and handicapped from getting around, as they often have to be driven by car and need parking close to their destinations.
There’s still much to be done to comply with the NDG’s Green Neighbourhood goal of creating safer and more enjoyable urban environments. The priorities for 2013-2014 include enhanced intersection safety around daycares, community centres and parks, as well as improvements to the pedestrian and cyclist corridors at the Melrose tunnel.
The improvement of NDG’s quality of life is the subject of a two-day conference that will take place at Loyola High School Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. For more information about the conference, visit www.ndg.ca.
[ Gerri Barrer ]