Parents calling for change four years after son killed crossing Whyte Avenue

Click to play video: 'Remembering David' Remembering David
WATCH ABOVE: Saturday marked four years since a 27-year-old man was killed crossing Whyte Avenue. His parents continue to advocate for safer city streets, but they say not enough is being done. Kim Smith reports – Jan 27, 2018

Every year on January 27, at 12:30 p.m., Steve Finkelman and Jane Cardillo put flowers on the corner where their son David Finkelman was killed while crossing the street.

David was crossing Whyte Avenue on Jan. 27, 2014 in the middle of the day when he was hit by a car turning left from 101 Street.

“He was crossing this street on a green light and she drove right into him,” said Steve Finkelman.

READ MORE: Driver who hit and killed David Finkelman got $2k fine, parents say it’s not enough

In 2014, the driver was handed a driving suspension and a fine for failing to yield to a pedestrian.

“He lived in Old Strathcona and this was his home. This is where he died and it was a needless death,” Cardillo said.

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“There is a huge hole in our lives. People have been kind and loving and supportive of us and we appreciate that, but nothing is going to bring back our son,” she said.

David was a student at the University of Alberta, a musician, and he hosted a radio show on CJSR.

“He was a musician and that’s what he wanted to do with his life. His band was Energetic Action. He was the guitarist in that band. He was just a loving son,” said Cardillo.

READ MORE: Woman sentenced in fatal pedestrian crash on Whyte Ave

His parents have been pushing for safer streets for pedestrians and said more infrastructure changes are needed.

“If there was even something like a no left turn, except on an arrow, that would have prevented it,” Cardillo said.

“Definitely infrastructure played a role in David’s death. It never should have happened.”

“Everybody always says ‘oh this is a car city’. Well that’s fine, but if you’re not in a car and you’re walking across the street and you’re in a collision, you’re dead,” Finkelman said.

READ MORE: Edmonton traffic safety improving, but a long road ahead: city

In 2016, the City of Edmonton launched Vision Zero with a mandate to reduce injuries and deaths on city streets. The strategy is meant to be long-term but Finkelman and Cardillo said they have yet to see progress.

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“It’s a major campaign and yet we’re two years into it and nobody knows what Vision Zero is. It doesn’t have a high profile,” Finkelman said.

“People like our son are dying by the dozens every year and not much seems to be happening.”

READ MORE: 30 km/h speed limits coming to Edmonton playgrounds

Edmonton Counsellor Ben Henderson said that he agrees progress is slow.

“I’m inclined to agree. I would like to see us go faster,” he said. “I worry that we set these targets of zero mortality or zero injury and we don’t really mean them.”

“Are we doing better than we did before? Absolutely. I think there’s been a real shift in our transportation engineering of the city,” Henderson said. “But, are we there yet? No we’re not. I think there’s quite a bit that needs to be done.”

Henderson said he would like to see a complete reevaluation of how pedestrians use the Whyte Avenue area.

“I think the chance to rethink it may come up with the LRT work that we’re doing.”

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