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.
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.
“It was a completely preventable death.”
“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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”