Burnaby pledges to improve safety after 3 struck at crosswalk in a week
The City of Burnaby says it will take steps to improve safety at a notoriously dangerous crosswalk on Cariboo Road, amid mounting pressure from nearby residents.
"We're going to implement a number of more changes," said Coun. Pietro Calendino. "Particularly at the crosswalk, we're going to put a yellow beacon right above."
The city also promised to install activated lights in the next two weeks and more signage warning drivers to watch out for pedestrians.
Three people have been struck by vehicles in the 7200-block of Cariboo Road in less than a week, Mounties say.
An online fundraiser identified the most recent victim as Amancio Hernandez, who was injured in a hit-and-run at about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday while on his way to church.
"I keep replaying it over in my head," said Jordan Copps, who witnessed the collision and called 911 as the driver fled the scene.
"It was actually terrible. It didn't even sound like they applied the brakes when they hit the guy."
Police say the pedestrian was taken to hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
According to the GoFundMe page, Hernandez has several fractures to his face, ribs, pelvis, knee and one of his hands.
"He will be unable to for the next 2-3 months, so we are setting up this page to help his wife with family expenses while he recovers."
Mounties are now looking for the hit-an-run vehicle, described as a black Dodge Charger that may have some damage to the front passenger side.
"It's just deplorable," Copps said. "I don't know how you can hit someone and not stop."
The RCMP is asking anyone with information about the collision to contact investigators at 604-646-9999 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
On Wednesday, Fernanda Girotto, a 15-year-old exchange student from Brazil, was struck and killed while using the same crossing.
Police say the driver in that incident remained at the scene and has been co-operating with investigators.
And a third person was also injured by a vehicle in the area in the same week, RCMP said.
Residents in the area say they've been calling on the city for years to make changes that would make crossing the street safer.
"I just would like to see something done. I can't imagine something like this happening again," said a man who lives in the area. "This is heart-breaking what's happened."
Those who use the crosswalk regularly argue that adding a traffic signal would make a big difference.
"No one stops. No one slows down," said Aimee Stewart. "People just need to know that we need to have a flashing stop light there. I don't want to cross that street anymore. It's absolutely scary."
An engineering report from November indicates officials were well aware of those concerns, but concluded that traffic and pedestrian volumes in the area were too low to warrant traffic signals.
Instead, the document recommended speed enforcement by the RCMP and "intersection design modifications" uphill that would encourage drivers to slow down as they approach the crosswalk.
The report, which was adopted by City Council in December, also recommended a radar speed sign be installed on the northbound side of Cariboo Road near the crosswalk.
Neighbours told CTV News that sign was put in place at least two weeks ago--before the fatal crash.
A member of the nearby Cariboo Hill Temple – where hit-and-run victim Hernandez is a member – has also started a Change.org petition calling on the city to take action to protect the hundreds of people who use the crosswalk each week.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Michele Brunoro and David Molko