Manitoba

Councillor pushes for enhanced crosswalk where child was hit

When Point Douglas Coun. Vivian Santos learned a girl was hit crossing Isabel Street near Dufferin School her heart sank — she has long tried to improve pedestrian safety in the area.

Point Douglas Coun. Vivian Santos also wants traffic lights installed south of fatal collision

A memorial sits at a crosswalk at the intersection of Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue in Winnipeg on Wednesday. A four-year-old girl and her mother were hit by a car in the crosswalk on Monday. The girl later died from her injuries. (Warren Kay/CBC)

When Point Douglas Coun. Vivian Santos learned a girl was hit crossing Isabel Street near Dufferin School her heart sank — she has long tried to improve pedestrian safety in the area.

"This is a very sensitive topic for me. I've been working on this location for a good three years," Santos said Thursday.

A four-year-old girl and her mother, who lived at a nearby apartment building run by the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba [IRCOM], were hit by a vehicle on Isabel Street near Alexander Avenue on Monday around lunchtime.

They were headed to Dufferin School on the west side of the street, IRCOM said. 

The girl died from her injuries Wednesday, while her mother continues to be treated for serious injuries to her lower body.

Point Douglas Coun. Vivian Santos says she will introduce a motion at the next public works committee meeting to examine an enhanced crosswalk at Alexander Avenue and Isabel Street and adding traffic lights to Ross Avenue and Isabel Street. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

As a staffer working for the previous Point Douglas councillor, Mike Pagtakhan, Santos worked with residents and the local Tim Hortons to request the city's public works department consider adding traffic lights at Ross Avenue and Isabel.

The intersection is two blocks south of the fatal collision.

A crosswalk that triggers traffic lights would give residents at the IRCOM building a safer way to cross Isabel to the west side of the street, where there's the Tim Hortons and a daycare at Freight House Recreation Centre, Santos said. 

The proposal was rejected by the city in 2017, she said. 

"There wasn't enough vehicular traffic to actually convert it," Santos said.

"I know they have their criteria they need to meet and we're respecting that, but it's very sad, what has occured."

Dorota Blumczynska, the executive director of IRCOM, tweeted Thursday night about the failed campaign to install lights at the intersection of Isabel and Ross. 

In an interview with CBC News, Blumczynska said there are about 200 in IRCOM's building, and hundreds of other families on the surrounding streets. Countless children cross every day to go to places like Dufferin School, Freight House and Rossbrook House, she said.

"It was our greatest fear when we came to be part of the Centennial community a couple years ago, it wasn't in many ways a question of if it will happen, it was, so sadly, a question of when," she said.

The collision on Monday prompted renewed efforts by Santos. She now wants LED lights to be added to the existing crosswalk at Alexander Avenue in addition to traffic lights at Ross. 

"It's not going to stop traffic from going in all directions, but if someone's ready to cross the street from IRCOM, all they do is just hit the button, they would wait, then traffic would literally have to stop at the red light," Santos said.

Santos will present a motion at the next public works committee meeting, on April 2, to study adding an enhanced crosswalk at Alexander and Isabel and traffic lights at Ross and Isabel.

About the Author

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Winnipeg. Before moving to Manitoba in 2015, she worked as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at laura.glowacki@cbc.ca.

With files from Marina Von Stackelberg

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