Lachine mayor promises action, changes to busy intersection after fatal collision

Lachine Mayor Claude Dauphin says in the wake of a collision that killed an 80-year-old woman Monday, action will be taken to ensure pedestrian safety at the intersection where she died.

After an 80-year-old woman was struck and killed, borough says it will make changes

The intersection where an 80-year-old woman was fatally hit by a truck Monday has become busier in recent months due to the construction of the new Turcot Interchange. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

Lachine Mayor Claude Dauphin is promising to improve pedestrian safety in his borough after an 80-year-old woman was killed there Monday as she was crossing a street. 

The woman, who has not been identified, was walking along Notre-Dame toward a nearby Tim Hortons, where she was a regular, when she was fatally hit by a truck while crossing St-Pierre Avenue, police said.

Dauphin acknowledged that traffic in the area has increased in recent months, ever since construction of the new Turcot Interchange forced the closure of different access points to Highway 20.

"Unfortunately [after] what happened yesterday, we will look at it more carefully, the people in charge will look at it more carefully," he said Tuesday. "We're all working together … to make sure our citizens will be safe." 

The borough will look at increasing the length of time allotted for pedestrians to cross the street and possibly enlist more police officers to direct traffic, especially at peak hours, Dauphin said.

Police are looking into the possibility that the elderly woman was crossing the street but only made it to the median, which is relatively small, before the walk light changed.
The median that divides northbound and southbound traffic on St-Pierre Avenue, where the woman may have stopped before continuing. (Google Maps)

Drivers and pedestrians frustrated

KPH Turcot, the consortium building the new interchange, the Transport Ministry, City of Montreal and the boroughs of Lachine and LaSalle all have some say in how traffic flows in the area.

Projet Montréal councilor Maja Vodanovic, who represents the area where the collision occurred, said she has been asking for things to change in the neighbourhood, but nothing has happened.

"People feel in Saint-Pierre that they have been abandoned and that cars have become what [are] most important for Montreal, not them," she said.

​She has requested that a garbage bag placed over a walk light at the intersection of St-Jacques Street and St-Pierre be removed, but it's still there. It's unclear who — the city, the province, the consortium — put it there, Vodanovic said. 

She added that she has fielded calls from pedestrians and motorists alike complaining about the area. Because St-Jacques and Notre-Dame have become detour routes in light of the Turcot construction, heavy trucks are now travelling through small neighbourhoods and clogging up roads for locals.

And, she said, the intersection is poorly designed. The lights are old and keep having to be synchronized. The walk buttons also often don't work — when they're pushed, nothing happens so people have to "risk their lives" to cross.

"People are afraid. Every week, people have been telling me, 'something's going to happen, something's going to happen, you have to do something about it,'" Vodanovic said.

With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak