November 18, 2019

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City to zero in on crosswalk where girl killed, others in traffic safety audit

A grieving member of the community cries into a shawl at a vigil Friday evening, March 22, 2019 at the crosswalk on Isabel and Alexander where four-year-old Galila Rezene Habtegergishand her mother Genet were struck. Galila died later in hospital.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

A grieving member of the community cries into a shawl at a vigil Friday evening, March 22, 2019 at the crosswalk on Isabel and Alexander where four-year-old Galila Rezene Habtegergishand her mother Genet were struck. Galila died later in hospital.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/4/2019 (229 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/4/2019 (229 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The inner-city intersection where a four-year-old girl was struck and killed by a vehicle last month is one of several areas in the city that will be studied as a prelude to the introduction of traffic safety-enhancement measures.

Public works officials were directed Tuesday to conduct a pedestrian-traffic study at the intersections of Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue — where the girl was struck as she crossed with her mother — and also two blocks to the south, at Isabel and Ross Avenue.

"We have more pedestrians, we have more traffic in that area for sure and I definitely would like to see some improvement," said Coun. Vivian Santos, who proposed the studies at the public works committee meeting.

The moves had been promised by Santos, the ward councillor, following the child’s death.

The committee also agreed to conduct a study in six months at an intersection near Ecole Sage Creek School, at Prairie Smoke Drive and Wild Iris Walk.

Parents in the neighbourhood expressed concern about the potential threat to their children at the intersection, where there are no sidewalks or a crosswalk.

Councillors on the Riel community committee had agreed with the parents’ concerns and asked the public works committee to direct the department to investigate traffic-calming measures, including making the intersection a three-way stop or installing a pedestrian crosswalk.

Discussion on road safety dominated the committee meeting, during which councillors learned that the public works department had yet to begin developing a citywide road-safety strategy despite being directed to by the same committee in January 2017.

There have been five pedestrian deaths thus far this year, the most recent Monday in a Garden City Shopping Centre parking lot. In 2018, three cyclists and a pedestrian were killed in separate collisions with vehicles. In 2017, six pedestrians were killed and in 2016, four cyclists and three pedestrians were killed in separate collisions with vehicles.

The Isabel-Ross intersection has a marked pedestrian crosswalk but residents in the area requested an upgrade in 2016.

The nearby Freight House community centre, located on the west side of the intersection, is a popular destination for area children, Santos said, and vehicles were frequently ignoring the crosswalk signals.

Santos said she’d like to see a pedestrian-activated signal installed at Isabel and Ross, where the light would remain green for north-south traffic until a pedestrian activates the signal to cross the busy street when it changes to red.

Santos said the intersection to the north, Isabel and Alexander, needs a formal crosswalk — recommending something similar to the eye-level, flashing LED installation that was installed in St. Vital a year ago following the death of an eight-year-old boy; that type is becoming common in many other Canadian cities.

"I’m very, very happy that my council colleagues supported me," Santos said, adding she had briefed the other committee members before the meeting and advised them of her proposals.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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