Residents call for new safety measures after 89-year-old man killed at busy NDG intersection
MONTREAL – An 89-year-old man is dead after he was hit by a car at a busy intersection in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce that residents have for years flagged as dangerous.
The collision happened at 5:50 a.m. Friday as he was crossing Decarie Blvd. headed east at the corner of de Maisonneuve Blvd. He was struck by a car travelling north through the intersection.
The elderly man suffered serious injuries and was rushed to hospital, where he died a short while later, according to Montreal police spokesperson Raphaël Bergeron.
Montreal police had previously stated the collision was between a pedestrian and a Société de transport de Montréal (STM) bus, but later clarified the bus was not involved.
The bus driver, who witnessed the accident, was treated for shock, as was the driver of the car that hit the pedestrian.
"From our first information, it seems the car was facing a green light while crossing the intersection, so it's possible the pedestrian tried to cross the street on a red light," said Bergeron, who noted that investigators are still piecing together what happened and how, but they don't believe the light configuration played a role.
Road safety advocates say the confusing intersection has long been a concern.
One confusing example is a light which appears to give pedestrians the right of way, but after a few seconds, a green arrow appears, seemingly giving priority to cars and buses, while pedestrians and cyclists rush to get across.
"The lighting configuration for pedestrians is terrible because you have six seconds to get across this intersection before drivers can turn right on you," said Daniel Lambert of the NDG Association of Pedestrians and Cyclists. "People make mistakes. Vulnerable road users make mistakes, pedestrians and cyclists, particularly seniors and young people – and people shouldn't die or be seriously injured because they've made a mistake."
Lambert says his association has been lobbying the borough to put four-way pedestrian lights at that intersection since the beginning of the MUHC hospital project, "so pedestrians can safely get across this intersection without having to worry about turning drivers or straight-through drivers."
He says it doesn't seem like officials believe it's a priority.
"Unfortunately, traffic flow trumps pedestrian safety repeatedly and that's really the problem," he said.
Reacting to the fatal collision, Mayor Valerie Plante reiterated her commitment to improving the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, but it's unclear whether the incident would prompt changes to this intersection.
Residents in the area on Friday said the intersection is tricky to navigate, and dangerous.
"The cross walk is not long enough for pedestrians," one person said. "It's dangerous for everybody actually," said another.