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Pedestrian safety in the Downtown Eastside (DTES)

Pedestrian Safety in the Downtown Eastside

A Dangerous Strip

A 2009 study by researchers at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia found that a small strip in the DTES was the most dangerous place for pedestrians in Vancouver and that 10% of all pedestrian injuries happen in this neighbourhood. 

Partnership for Pedestrians

To tackle this safety threat, the Great Beginnings Program team engaged with DTES residents to

  • Create awareness about pedestrian safety in the community.
  • Increase knowledge about factors contributing to DTES pedestrian injury.
  • Recommend solutions to make the DTES safer for pedestrians.

The DTES Pedestrian Safety project aimed to provide good health and safety across all sectors of the DTES population. A partnership between the City and the non-profit Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) set out common goals and integrated responses to pedestrian safety along Hastings Street.

Safer DTES Streets

As a result of this project, the City of Vancouver:

  • Increased walk times at targeted crosswalks.
  • Put in place crosswalk clearance times.
  • Installed a countdown pedestrian timer at the intersection of Hastings and Main Streets.
  • Installed speed reader boards.
  • Reduced speed limit to 30km per hour to create a pedestrian safety zone.
  • Increased road safety awareness.

International Exposure

VANDU and the City of Vancouver presented the Pedestrian Safety report at an international forum on Urban Health in New York City on 25 October 2010, highlighting the success of participatory research projects between government funders and citizens.

Vancouver Area Network of Drugs Users

Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

The Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) is a group of users and former users who work to improve the lives of people who use illicit drugs through user-based peer support and education.