Take Action: Make Cornwall Safe for Kids, Seniors and Families

(Richard Campbell/@wrychrd)

On April 26, 2023, Vancouver City Council will consider lowering the speed limit on Cornwall Avenue to 30 km/h and directing City staff to identify more changes that would make Cornwall safer (copy of the motion).

Why Is It Important?
27 people per year are killed or injured in car crashes on Cornwall,1 including last summer’s horrific crash that critically injured a five-year-old girl. Our own government says “Speed is a leading cause of death on B.C. roads.” We know that if a pedestrian is hit by a driver going 50km/h, the pedestrian will almost certainly be killed, but they have a 90% survival rate at 30km/h.

Our Action Request: Urge Vancouver City Council to vote “yes” on the Protecting People on Cornwall Avenue motion.

How Do I Contact Members of City Council?

  1. Sign up to speak to Council on April 26:
    https://vancouver.ca/your-government/request-to-speak-at-meeting-form-1.aspx and select “B3. Protecting People on Cornwall Avenue”. If you want to speak, there is more information on the next page. Note the Council meeting is April 25, but speaking and the vote will be at the Standing Committee meeting the following day (April 26). You must sign up by 5 pm on April 24.

  2. Email the Mayor and Council before April 24 at 5 pm if possible:
    Ken.Sim@vancouver.ca; CLRbligh@vancouver.ca; CLRboyle@vancouver.ca;
    CLRcarr@vancouver.ca; CLRdominato@vancouver.ca; CLRfry@vancouver.ca;
    CLRkirby-yung@vancouver.ca; CLRklassen@vancouver.ca; CLRmeiszner@vancouver.ca; CLRmontague@vancouver.ca; CLRzhou@vancouver.ca

What Should I Tell Them?
Whether you are speaking to Council or sending an email:

  1. Tell Your Story – Stand out by being you. If you live nearby or your child attends Henry Hudson, tell them. If you are scared to walk down Cornwall or cross the street, tell them.

  2. Say What You Want – Start by telling them to pass the “Protecting People on Cornwall Avenue” motion and drop the speed on Cornwall to 30 km/h. If there are other safety measures you support, tell them. If you are emailing, state it clearly in the subject line and first sentence.

  3. Done is Better than Perfect – Don’t agonize over the perfect message. The power is in speaking or in sending an email.

  4. Be Polite – Be firm but be kind. Many politicians care as much as you do and your enthusiasm will motivate them and help them motivate others. Jerks are easy to ignore.

More Details About Speaking Before Council
Here is a more detailed guide on how to speak before Council.
How to Prepare

  1. Prepare Your Message – Tell your story about why this is important to you. If you are comfortable speaking with notes, write out your notes. If a script is better, write a script and read it to them. It is best to start with a strong opener that says what you want such as “My son goes to Henry Hudson and we do not feel safe walking to school when cars are speeding by. We need Council to make Cornwall safer.” Restate your request at the end of your speech.

  2. Practice – If you have time, practice in the mirror or before a friend or family member. Reciting your message will build your confidence and make it easier to speak.

  3. Questions – Council members can ask you questions. Resist the natural urge to respond immediately. Pause and think. Say what you really want to say or decline to answer. You may also simply state at the end of your speech that you do not wish to answer questions.

Technical Details
While you can attend in person, most speakers call in. Below is information on how to call in.

  1. Register to speak. Go here: https://vancouver.ca/your-government/request-to-speak-at-meeting-form-1.aspx. Check the agenda and make sure you are registering to speak on B3. Protecting People on Cornwall Avenue in Support!

  2. You should receive an email confirmation with more information. This might include your speaker number, instructions for calling in, how many minutes you will have to speak, or etiquette to follow.

  3. Follow along during the meeting to watch for the relevant agenda item. Watch the meeting and keep track of when the motion comes up. If the motion is further down on the list, you may want to check in every so often to track progress and wait to call in. Sometimes councils can take a few hours up to a whole meeting just to discuss an agenda item.

  4. When the motion is up, call in to speak. When the motion comes up, be prepared to call in. You’ll probably want to call in at least 3-5 speakers ahead of you. Once you’reconnected, you’ll usually be able to hear the live meeting discussion on your phone, so remember to mute your computer audio if you have been watching along. Your phone line will remain muted until it is your turn, so listen carefully. Usually someone will say your name or say your speaker number, and then they’ll unmute you and it’s your turn!

  5. Speak on the motion, and then answer any questions if you wish – It’s good practice to state your name. Councilors may have questions for you – and if they do – you’re not required to answer them. Once you’ve completed your turn, simply hang up.

  6. Follow the City of Vancouver – Follow the city clerk on twitter, and then turn on notifications for when they post. It’s a great way to keep up with what speaker number / issue they’re on. After the meeting is over, you can just turn off the notifications again.

  1. These are based on ICBC statistics: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/icbc/viz/LowerMainlandCrashes/LMDashboard. “27 people” includes people in cars and on motorcycles, as well as pedestrians and cyclists. On Cornwall, a driver hits a pedestrian in a crash bad enough to report to ICBC nearly three times a year, and it is likely that less severe crashes are not reported. ICBC receives nearly 100 reports of car crashes on Cornwall each year.

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