Concerns around a St. Vital crosswalk will soon be reviewed by a committee at City Hall.
The Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works is being asked to expand a new traffic study for St. Anne’s Road.
It includes reviewing a pedestrian crosswalk that has been deemed notoriously dangerous by residents in the area and was where an 8-year-old boy was killed in February.
Surafiel Musse Tesfamariam was using the crosswalk on St. Anne’s Road and Varennes Avenue with his mother and siblings the morning of Feb. 13 when he was hit by a truck.
The Grade 3 student didn’t survive.
After the tragedy, St. Vital city councillor Brian Mayes said calls poured in for changes.
“I’ve been a councillor six and a half years,” Mayes said. “This generated more calls and emails than just about any other issue.”
This was the third fatality at that intersection since 1981, according to the report set to be heard by a city committee Friday.
The original traffic study recommendation was made at the end of January, but since Tesfamariam’s death the committee is being asked to expand the scope to include a study of both north and south bound lanes, extending from Varennes Avenue northbound to St Anne’s Road and St Mary’s Road.
It is also recommended the expanded study include the consideration of enhancements to pedestrian safety at the intersection of St Anne’s Road and Varennes Avenue, including:
Mayes hopes changes can be made to the crosswalk before the start of the next school year.
Days after Tesfamariam was killed, his mother spoke to Global News and said she wanted to see changes to the intersection — including changing the lights from orange to red and for the lights to be lowered so cars can see them better.
“I hope everyone should drive carefully and slowly,” Adiam Weldeyohannes said. “I hope the government or anyone responsible will do something about the place.”
Brianna Gavin, who uses the intersection regularly to take her nephew to the park, said since the death of Tesfamariam, she’s been extra cautious.
“I press the button and wait until all the cars are stopped so I know it’s safe to cross and I know the lights are going off,” she said.
Gavin said she’s had her own close call with her 5-year-old nephew.
“I pressed the button and he was ready to cross but I grabbed his hand just in time. The car wasn’t stopping, he just went right through the intersection,” she said.
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