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Four-year-old girl's death prompts renewed calls for change at nearby pedestrian crossing
The death of a four-year-old girl has sparked renewed calls for change at a Winnipeg intersection.
The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba and a Winnipeg city councillor want a traffic signal light to be installed at the intersection of Isabel Street and Ross Avenue.
The intersection, which currently has a pedestrian corridor with overhead signs and flashing lights, is near another pedestrian corridor at Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue, where on Monday at around 12 p.m. a four-year-old girl was fatally struck by a vehicle.
IRCOM executive director Dorota Blumczynska said the organization expressed concerns to the city about the Isabel Street and Ross Avenue crossing a year and a half ago. In a letter about the crossing dated Sept.1, 2017, Blumczynska said children use it to attend school and community programand they face speeding vehicles and motorists who don’t stop.
In an interview on Friday, Blumczynska said she’s disappointed nothing has changed.
“At any given point these crosswalks are activated dozens of times a day and, regrettably, they don’t provide the community with the safety that they have a right to so that they can cross the road,” said Blumczynska. “In reality the entire focus was on the movement of the vehicles and there was a complete disregard for the needs of the pedestrians in the community.”
A traffic study presented to the Lord Selkirk-West Kildonan community committee in March 2017 determined not enough vehicles go through the intersection to warrant the installation of traffic signal lights.
“Traffic control signals create additional stoppages and delays for motorists; the regular requirement for north/south drivers on Isabel Street to stop would increase delay and the potential for rear-end collisions,” the report states. “Increased stoppages and vehicle idling associated with traffic control signal operation increases fuel consumption and vehicle emissions.
“For these reasons, a minimum cross street volume of 75 vehicles per hour (excluding right turns) threshold for at least six hours of the day is required before signal operation is recommended; the average cross street volume on Ross Avenue is 43 vehicles per hour over a six hour period.”
Point Douglas city councillor Vivian Santos said the traffic study was completed when she was working as executive assistant with her predecessor, former area councillor Mike Pagtakhan.
Santos said she wants the city take another look at the intersection.
“I want something to happen,” said Santos. “Maybe we could install traffic lights where they’re pedestrian activated.
“This has been a very ongoing thing for our office. It’s a very sensitive topic for me because when this happened it upset me.”
The four-year-old girl, identified by Blumczynska as Galila, and her mother, Genet, were taken to hospital in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle.
Galila died Tuesday while her mother remains in hospital.
The family from Eritrea had recently settled in Winnipeg and lived in a housing complex just south of the intersection where the collision occurred.
Winnipeg police are looking to speak with witnesses.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Traffic Division at 204-986-7085 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS.