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City of Edmonton adding traffic lights to Jasper Avenue crosswalk where pedestrian struck

Residents say busy two-way traffic and low visibility are making it dangerous for pedestrians to use the crosswalk at 122nd Street and Jasper Avenue. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC - image credit)
Residents say busy two-way traffic and low visibility are making it dangerous for pedestrians to use the crosswalk at 122nd Street and Jasper Avenue. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC - image credit)

New pedestrian-activated traffic lights will be installed this spring at a Jasper Avenue crosswalk where a pedestrian was hit and seriously injured last week.

Edmonton police responded to a collision in a marked crosswalk at 122nd Street around 10:45 a.m. Friday.

A 25-year-old man was walking south in the crosswalk when he was hit by a westbound Mazda SUV. Paramedics treated the pedestrian on scene before he was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Jasper Avenue was shut down in both directions between 121st Street and 123rd Street while police investigated.

Darcy Twarog knew someone had been hurt when he heard a screech and a thud from outside his apartment.

"You can see a young man lying on the crosswalk in front of the vehicle. By the time I reached the corner of my balcony, I was already on the phone with 911," Twarog told CBC News.

"It was obvious he had been using the crosswalk when he was hit."

Darcy Twarog said he called 911 when he saw a man injured at the crosswalk on Feb. 2.
Darcy Twarog said he called 911 when he saw a man injured at the crosswalk on Feb. 2.

Darcy Twarog said he called 911 when he saw a man injured at the crosswalk on Feb. 2. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

Residents have been sounding the alarm over the crossing for years. Busy two-way traffic, limited to a maximum speed of 40 km/h, and low visibility are common concerns among community members.

"When you get across, you say safe until next time," said Ruth Wolfe, who lives in the area.

"When I cross this crosswalk, I stop at every lane because I don't know what's going to happen in the next lane. It's a little terrifying, sometimes."

The city said it has been made aware of safety complaints from residents via 311 calls and inquiries from city council, especially since a Safeway store opened at Jasper Avenue at 122nd Street in November 2021.

In August 2022, curb extensions were installed as an interim measure to shorten the crossing distance and make pedestrians more visible to drivers. Flexible posts were installed to increase the crosswalk's visibility.

The curb extensions and posts are still in place.

The new pedestrian-activated signal will have green, amber and red lights facing vehicle traffic on Jasper Avenue.

There will be "Walk" and "Wait" indications and audible push buttons for pedestrians crossing the avenue.

Design work on the project has been completed. The lights will be installed in the spring, a city spokesperson said.

"Every Edmontonian deserves to feel safe while travelling in Edmonton, whether they're walking, biking, rolling or driving," Christie Pelletier, director for safe mobility for the city, said in a statement.

"We are all accountable for keeping each other safe on the roads."

City data says that there were 12 collisions at the intersection between 2018 and 2022, resulting in two minor injuries.

Of the total, one involved a pedestrian, according to Pelletier.

Anne Stevenson, councillor for Ward O-day'min, said in past years, safety issues have been flagged at several intersections but a lack of resources has prevented the city from upgrading them.

There were 12 car crashes at the intersection between 2018 and 2022, resulting in two minor injuries, according to the City of Edmonton. Of the 12 crashes, one involved a pedestrian.
There were 12 car crashes at the intersection between 2018 and 2022, resulting in two minor injuries, according to the City of Edmonton. Of the 12 crashes, one involved a pedestrian.

There were 12 collisions at the intersection between 2018 and 2022, resulting in two minor injuries, according to the City of Edmonton. One collision involved a pedestrian. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

That's why during budget deliberations, Stevenson says, funding went toward the city's Vision Zero and Safe Mobility initiatives for safer streets.

"There's probably always more problems to fix than we'll always have resources for, but the idea is ensuring that we have on demand responses that we can provide," Stevenson said Sunday.

"That capacity is still being built up. It's not all the way there, but this is a great example of that program working really well and being able to respond in a timely way."