Chilliwack senior Donna Roberge meets with city officials to find out if something can be done to make Mary Street safer.

Chilliwack senior Donna Roberge meets with city officials to find out if something can be done to make Mary Street safer.

Mary Street in Chilliwack will be evaluated for safety

A request was sent to ICBC for the crash data to be looked at in the wake of one fatality and one collision with injuries

Donna Roberge, 78, was knocked down last month in a crosswalk in the same block of Mary Street where another Chilliwack senior was hit and killed by a speeding driver last year.

Roberge is now asking City of Chilliwack to investigate if Mary Street is as safe as it could be for pedestrians.

“It’s dangerous and people are scared,” Roberge told The Progress.

There is only one stop sign posted on Mary Street between Hodgins and Wellington and the speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour.

Roberge met with city officials this week including Samantha Piper of Safer City, and Rod Sanderson, deputy director of engineering, to talk road safety.

There are too many seniors and mobility challenged residents on the busy street that Mary has become, Roberge told the city reps.

“I think it’s a long stretch for drivers with only one stop sign,” she said. “The aggressive speeding means it’s deadly.”

Roberge was hit by a pickup truck on the afternoon of Feb. 17 crossing at a fully marked crosswalk at the corner of Mary and Patten Avenue.

The pickup, which was turning onto Patten, bumped her walker. Roberge said she took a tumble, hit her head and was eventually transported to hospital for minor injuries. She spent seven hours undergoing various tests.

Roberge is up and around these days with her walker, but is still recovering. The 60-year-old male driver was ticketed for failing to yield to a pedestrian, according to police reports.

Roberge said she and many in the community still miss their dear friend Farouk, also aged 78, who lived on Mary Street as well. Farouk was tragically killed on Dec. 1, 2016 after being struck in a hit-and-run while crossing the road at Patten Avenue, later succumbing to her injuries at Royal Columbian Hospital.

Fourghozaman Firoozian, who people called “Farouk” for short, was well-loved in the community by all accounts, and a well-known volunteer at the Sunday Dinner Hand-ups by SPARKS. Farouk’s death by speeding driver sparked a candlelight vigil in her honour that attracted 100 people.

Mary Street is going to be evaluated to see if any infrastructure changes are needed, according to city engineering staff.

Samantha Piper is Public Safety Specialist for City of Chilliwack who looks at aspects of road safety, in conjunction with the city’s engineering department. After meeting with Roberge this week, she fired off a request to ICBC for the crash data on Mary Street, to look at the history of collisions and injuries.

It’s all part of the 3 Pillar approach by Safer City, said Piper, using the 3Es of “engineering, enforcement and education.”

It’s important that the public knows it can bring forward any road safety concerns they may have.

“When someone comes in to see us at Safer City with concerns about speeding on a particular road or other road safety concerns, there are several approaches we can take,” Piper said. “That’s the beauty of this partnership at Safer City, we take a collaborative approach and use best practices. It helps us do the best job we can.”

They start by assessing if it’s an engineering problem or one better suited for education or enforcement efforts. Action includes sharing any issues that come forward with the Safer City team, asking for enforcement in some cases, or request deployment of the Speed Watch board, known as Big Orange, depending on the type of concern brought forward.

“Some drivers just need a reminder. Changing behaviour is very challenging.”