Residents raise concerns about west Edmonton street after 2 teens struck by school bus

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Residents raise concerns about west Edmonton street after 2 teens struck by school bus
There are calls from residents in a west Edmonton neighbourhood for changes to be made after a collision between a school bus and two young girls. Julia Wong has the details – Mar 9, 2019

Residents are raising concerns about a busy west Edmonton roadway, one day after a pair of 13-year-old girls were struck by a school bus.

The collision happened Friday afternoon at Hemingway Road and 206 Street. Police said the school bus was travelling west on Hemingway Road, which the girls were trying to cross.

READ MORE: Charges pending against driver of school bus that hit 2 teens in west Edmonton

Both girls were taken to hospital. A spokesperson for Alberta Health Services said one of the girls suffered life-threatening injuries while the other is in stable condition.

“Most people are very respectful. But of course when you’ve got a park and two schools, I assume that the speed zone through here should be a lot less,” said resident Melvyn Cook, who has lived in the area for two years.

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The area where the collision took place has a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour and is in between two school zones, which have speed limits of 30 kilometres per hour.

Cook suggests the speed limit between the school zones should be lowered.

“There’s a lot of children throughout the area,” said Cook, who also suggested a marked crosswalk in the area would help.

“The road is pretty wide, pretty open [and] can get congested at times. It’s a wake-up call for residents.”

Jeffrey Santiago has lived in the area for 10 years; he also points to the increased speed limit between the two schools as a problem.

“It’s a very big road,” Santiago said. “You’ll see a lot of people ripping through here.”

He agrees with other residents that a more consistent speed zone along the street could be one solution to improving safety in the neighbourhood.

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Santiago has never witnessed a collision but has seen a few close calls while crossing the street to get the mail at the community mailbox. There is no crosswalk to the mailbox and the nearest ones are several blocks away. A park behind the mailboxes on Hemingway Road also sees a lot of foot traffic from residents.

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“You really have to be aware of your own surroundings,” Santiago said. ‘It’s very concerning.”

A spokesperson for the city said they plan to review the circumstance that led to Friday’s collision and identify potential safety improvements.

“The Edmonton Police Service is investigating this serious collision, so we look forward to learning more from the outcome of their investigation,” said Gerry Shimko, executive director of Traffic Safety with the City of Edmonton.

“We do want neighbours in the area to know that we take their observations and concerns very seriously, and that as a matter of course will do our own safety follow-up as well,” Shimko added. “The collision will also be reviewed with our multi-disciplinary school committee to identify any additional opportunities for safety improvement.”

Police said charges are pending against the 44-year-old male driver of the school bus. No one on the bus was injured.

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to contact police at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

with files from Julia Wong and Phil Heidenreich

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