Manitoba

Safety upgrade recommended for Isabel Street crosswalk where girl, 4, died

Winnipeg's public service is recommending safety upgrades on Isabel Street close to where a child was killed and her mother injured in March.

Public service endorses additional flashing lights at 1 Isabel Street crosswalk, traffic lights at another

A memorial sits at a crosswalk at the intersection of Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue in Winnipeg on March 20, 2019. A four-year-old girl and her mother were hit by a car in the crosswalk on March 18. The girl later died from her injuries. (Warren Kay/CBC)

The crosswalk where a four-year-old girl was killed earlier this year is one step closer to getting safety improvements, after Winnipeg's public service recommended upgrades to the stretch of Isabel Street where the child was hit in March.

Engineer David Patman, author of the city's review, is recommending lower flashing amber lights be installed at the crosswalk near Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue, where four-year-old Galila Habtegergish was struck by a vehicle in March.

Patman's review also recommends installing regular traffic lights at the crosswalk across Isabel at Ross, just a couple of blocks south. The lights would replace the current lighted crosswalk at that intersection.

"I'm very happy," said Coun. Vivian Santos (Point Douglas), who put forward the motion asking the city to conduct a traffic review at both intersections. 

Santos hopes the safety upgrades can be installed "sooner rather than later" and says she will ask members of the public service about a start date at the public works committee meeting Tuesday. 

Patman's recommendations for both intersections are subject to the approval of additional gas tax funding from Ottawa, which will cover the cost of the improvements.

The city estimates the upgrades will cost $255,000.

Santos had requested a traffic safety review of Ross and Isabel two years ago, while working for previous Point Douglas councillor Mike Pagtakhan, but that did not lead to changes at the intersection.

She said the Ross and Isabel intersection is often busy with customers headed to a nearby coffee shop and people heading to the Freight House, which has a pool, daycare and community centre. She has long had safety concerns about the area. 

Santos spurred the public service to look at the intersection again, as well as Alexander and Isabel, after the death of the four-year-old girl.

Galila lived with her family in an apartment run by the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba on Isabel. Originally from Eritrea, they had moved to Winnipeg the month before Galila's death.

On March 18, she and her mother were crossing Isabel at Alexander, heading toward Dufferin School around noon, when they were both hit by a vehicle at the intersection.

The girl's mother survived but suffered serious injuries to her lower body.

The new traffic lights at Isabel and Ross would require approval by the public works committee. The flashing lights at Isabel and Alexander, however, can be installed by city crews without special approval.

About the Author

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Ottawa and Winnipeg. Previously, 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.

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