Petition calls for light at crosswalk where teen was hit

An online petition has been launched to convince the city to improve the safety at a crosswalk where a Prince George teen was struck by a car and seriously injured on Sunday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,700 people have signed the petition, posted on change.org, which is calling for a traffic light at the corner of First Avenue and Ospika Boulevard.

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In a preamble, Mavra Lode, who started the petition, said pedestrians trying to cross at the corner are put at risk by a series of blind spots for drivers and noted that with an elementary school in the vicinity, children cross there nine months a year.

The call appears to have gained the city's attention.

In a statement, city spokesperson Mike Kellett said crosswalks across the city are going through a review as a result of updated national guidelines and staff will be presenting a strategy to city council later this year.

"At this time, there are a number of crossings that have been identified for suggested upgrades as part of the review, including the crosswalk on Ospika Boulevard at 1st Avenue," Kellett said.

He also noted that last year, three new signed and marked crosswalks were installed, another two were upgraded with pedestrian activated, rapid-flashing beacons and the crosswalk at Queensway and 5th Ave was upgraded with a pedestrian timer.

In 2018, every crosswalk sign in the city was upgraded to industrial standard "diamond" grade reflectivity and the city increased the size of the signs at crosswalks on arterial routes including at 1st and Ospika.

Between 2014 and 2018, there were 11 collisions at the intersection including one involving a pedestrian, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

According to a witness, the teen was hit as he stepped into the southbound lane of Ospika. A friend had also stepped into the crosswalk but stepped back when she saw a car coming and tried to pull him back to safety.

The car's driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police.

"Our poor 18 year old boy is fighting for his life in hospital right now, it is time for change," Lode said.

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