A new report on transit safety and security recommends the City of Edmonton consider spending $21.42 million over the next five years to improve the safety of drivers and the public.
The report recommends accelerating the installation of safety shields on buses, hiring more staff, 24/7 security staffing at certain transit and LRT stations and more training for drivers.
City council will discuss the report, released early Tuesday, later today.
While there have been 2,072 transit-related incidents reported to Edmonton police this year with 230 resulting in criminal investigations, two serious incidents last month spawned the report.
On Sept. 18, a student was stabbed while waiting for a train at the South Campus LRT station. On Sept. 26, a bus driver was stabbed at the Mill Woods Transit Centre.
Following the incidents, city administration met with various agencies, including police and the transit drivers’ union, to prioritize recommendations, the report says.
Installing retractable bus shields will cost $10.27 million, the most expensive of the recommendations.
The report recommends the shields be installed first in the 159 buses with air conditioning, since the 630 older buses will need to have their heating and ventilation systems upgraded first.
The report also suggests providing 24/7 “highly visible” security, at a cost of $6.87 million, at 26 transit stations that have had a significant number of incidents in the last five years.
It also recommends hiring 24 more full-time ETS inspectors and support staff. Most cities have one on-street inspector for every 100 to 125 buses while ETS has one for every 262 buses.
“Improving the ratio and coverage will improve response times and operator support in case of service disruptions and emergency situations,” the report says.
The document also recommends the ETS accelerate the hiring of transit peace officers for the new Valley Line LRT, which opens in 2020.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.