Pedestrian safety a priority after 2 women struck by vehicles hours apart, city councillor says
Éric Alan Caldwell vows Montreal will make streets safer
After two women in their 70s were hit by vehicles in separate incidents on Saturday, a city councillor says it's important for everyone to do their part to improve pedestrian safety in Montreal.
"The city is bringing together the Transport Ministry, police, truckers, motorists, cyclists, seniors and young people, just so that we share the burden of safety responsibility, and share solutions that we implement as swiftly as possible," Éric Alan Caldwell said.
Both drivers were making left turns and hit the women at low speed.
Both pedestrians suffered head injuries. Both women, ages 74 and 79, have since died.
Caldwell said a working group has been launched to create concrete solutions to minimize the risk of left turns for pedestrians.
One of them, he said, is to reprogram all traffic lights in Montreal.
In November, Mayor Valérie Plante announced the city plans to install pedestrian lights and countdown timers at every set of traffic lights in the city as part of a "paradigm change" to put pedestrian safety ahead of traffic flow.
She also said in areas where more vulnerable pedestrians cross the street — for example, around hospitals, schools and seniors' residences — the walking speed for the countdown signals will be set at 0.9 metres per second, or 3.24 kilometres per hour.
Caldwell said there's a pilot project underway at the intersection of Laurentien Boulevard and Lachappelle Street in Cartierville to test different scenarios.
"We're adapting the reprogramming of the lights in places where there's a concentration of seniors," he said.
"It's a priority issue."
He said the city has never done this much for pedestrian safety before.
In 2019, 24 pedestrians died in Montreal — the highest number since 2010, police say.