Winnipeg crosswalk where student died will be safer by start of next school year

Winnipeg crosswalk where student died will be safer by start of next school year

The Winnipeg crosswalk where an eight-year-old boy was killed on his way to school this February will have a new safety mechanism once students return to class this September.

The city’s public works committee moved Tuesday to accept the department’s recommendation for low-mounted flashing lights near eye level at the crosswalk on St. Anne’s Road at Varennes Avenue to get drivers’ attention.

The planned improvement is in addition to the overhead crosswalk signs and flashing amber lights, which are sometimes easy for drivers to miss.

City traffic experts have been examining how to improve pedestrian visibility and safety at the crosswalk since the crash that claimed Surafiel Musse Tesfamariam’s life on Feb. 13. He was hit by a truck.

In addition, the city plans to prune two elm trees to improve visibility and use rapid rectangular flashing beacons — RRFBs — which are mounted lower to the ground and flash quicker.

After Surafiel Musse Tesfamariam’s death, city staff have worked to improve pedestrian visibility and safety at the crosswalk. (obittree.com)

David Patman, the city’s manager of transportation, compared the beacons to strobe lighting. They have proven effective in other cities in getting drivers’ attention, he said.

Patman said Tesfamariam’s school, École Varennes, has taken the initiative to extend the time the school crossing guard is patrolling the area. The fatal crash happened after the guard left for the morning, Patman said.

At the start of the public works meeting, City Coun. Brian Mayes, whose ward includes the crosswalk, urged the committee to support the motion.

Rectangular flashing beacons, like this one installed as a pilot project in Nova Scotia, will be installed at the intersection in addition to the traditional overhead crosswalk. (YouTube)

Published at Tue, 26 Jun 2018 13:09:52 -0400