Valley Line Southeast LRT has been work and play for the Safety Street Team

The Safety Street Team for Edmonton’s Valley Line Southeast LRT has been hard at work all summer, educating Edmontonians about how to stay safe around this new style of low-floor LRT. It’s all about connecting communities, and that’s why the team meets Edmontonians where they live, work and play. In the heat of summer, the team attended the Heritage Festival, Taste of Edmonton, Folk Festival, and more, making sure citizens are up to date on how to stay safe around testing trains.

Leen, David, Mikaela, Kennedy, Nayan and Jayvee make up the Safety Street Team. They’ve come face-to-face with more than 3,000 Edmontonians in the past three months. “People have been really excited about modernizing the city,” said Leen, a fourth-year computer science student.

The Game

Father and son (Theo) duo had some quality time together while learning about how to stay safe around the new LRT

As part of public outreach, the Safety Street Team developed a board game called: There’s A New Train In Town. The goal is to be the first to get from the Mill Woods Stop to the 102 Street Stop. The teams have giant inflatable dice you toss into the air and move the accompanying spaces on the board. If you’re lucky, you will land on a trivia spot. These spots are golden as they give you a chance to roll again – if you get the right answer. If not, well…no harm done, you just stay put and wait for your next turn. Team member Nayan said the biggest challenge, at several events, has been high demand from players, with parents and children waiting for their turn to play. The street team has had to adapt and find ways to get two games going at once.

There’s A New Train In Town board game is a giant puzzle, where players learn about the Valley Line LRT and how to stay safe around this new style of LRT

The team’s catch phrase of the summer was “If you see tracks, expect a train—from either direction,” in hopes it sticks in the back of people’s minds.

The Safety Street Team set up its tent at the LRT construction information session in Glenora on September 17, 2022

The game is not only for kids. Adults have been playing it too – because who doesn’t want to throw gigantic poofy dice into the air? “We had a lot of adults who loved playing the game with their kids,” said environmentally-focused civil engineering student David.

The concept of a low-floor LRT system is new to our city, but is in use globally in cities like San Francisco, Lisbon, Hong Kong, Minneapolis, Rotterdam, Manchester, the Gold Coast and throughout Asia.

“We get to teach the kids all about the train,” said Leen. “We teach them little things like: ‘What’s the name of the train? What colour is it going to be?” From there, we build up their knowledge quickly throughout the game, so that it makes sense. It’s critical.”

The Safety Street Team is hard at work educating Edmontonians

For marketing student Mikaela, a major highlight has been meeting with the public and seeing everyone’s cultures celebrated at the festivals. “Engaging with the kids is really fun, like rolling the dice and asking them trivia questions.” Her favourite question is one of the simplest, “Do you stand on the yellow bump line or behind it? Because it’s an obvious answer, but the kids get really excited when they get it right, which I really like.”

So that there’s no confusion, Mikaela confirmed we stand behind the yellow bump.

Avonmore Stop – the bumpy yellow line lets passengers know the boundary between the tracks and the platform. Always stay behind the yellow line

The street team also has adult safety booklets available in six languages, as well as in braille and large print. If you prefer a cartoon children’s version, that’s also available and has proven to be a hit with all ages.

Budding entrepreneur and business student Kennedy says, “It’s interesting how often with the kids, the adults will sometimes learn more through the kids’ books than the (adult) pamphlets.” Perhaps it’s the fun cartoons that make the safety information easily digestible for kids and adults alike.

What is Valley Line LRT all about?

Valley Line Southeast will be the first low-floor, urban-style LRT in Edmonton. Now, you may be asking yourself how it differs from the Capital Line and Metro Line? Well, for starters, it’s designed to integrate seamlessly into our neighbourhoods. For instance, its tracks are in the roads we already drive on, making stepping on and off easier as the low floor replaces any need for steps. The low-floor system also doesn’t have any crossing arms, gates or bells – this is common in many other cities. Trains will follow posted community speed limits, and motorists need to obey the signs and signals, since right turns are not allowed on red lights at some intersections.

Teaching Edmontonians about safety with each roll of dice

Safety Street Team 2022 – Kennedy, Mikaela, Jayvee, Nayan and David

Jayvee – was an engineer in his home country of the Philippines, and is hoping to work with Water Distribution for the City of Edmonton after completing his Engineering Design Technology education.

Nayan – is in his third year of Computer Science with the hopes of working in cyber security and has thoroughly enjoyed when people have shown a keen interest in educating themselves on the safety aspects of the new low-floor system.

Mikaela – will be graduating from a two-year marketing diploma this January with aspirations in event and creative writing marketing.

Leen – is in her fourth year of Computer Science with her sights set on pursuing a masters degree with a possible focus on Artificial Intelligence.

David – is an environmental and eco sustainability focused Civil Engineering student, and his favourite aspect of the summer was interacting with people from all cultures and walks of life.

Kennedy – is an aspiring business owner in her third year of her Commerce degree.

Valley Line Southeast LRT train at the 102 Street Stop on September 12, 2022

Time to test your knowledge

1. Valley Line trains will obey the posted community speed limits. (True or False)

2. Valley Line is the only LRT system in the world that does not use crossing arms, gates or bells at intersections. (True or False)

3. Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists share the road with Valley Line trains. (True or False)

4. Meeting a Valley Line train at an intersection – who makes the first move?
a) Valley Line train
b) Pedestrians
c) Vehicles
d) Stay calm and obey the traffic signs and signals as usual

5. In a vehicle, how do you know you’ve stopped a safe distance from the tracks?
a) There is a sign indicating where to stop (Stop Line)
b) There is a line painted on the road (Stop Line)
c) You can clearly see the crosswalk ahead of your vehicle
d) All of the above

Answers:  Question 1: True Question 2: False Question 3: True Question 4: D Question 5: D