Girl’s hit-and-run death renews calls for safer roads and school zones across Quebec | PKBNEWS

Parents, teachers and students have taken to the streets outside schools across Quebec to demand safer roads nearly six weeks after a young girl was killed in a brazen hit-and-run in Montreal.

François Desaulniers with the Appeasement Collective for Sainte-Marie was out Tuesday morning in Montreal. He said he hopes change will come to the streets, school zones and that it will be a national priority.

“We hope to gain the momentum to call for changes to make our streets safer, not only for students and children, but also for older people who need more time to cross the streets,” a- he declared.

The renewed calls for security measures come after seven-year-old Ukrainian refugee Mariia Legenkovska was fatally beaten as she walked to school with her siblings on the morning of December 13, 2022. She had recently arrived in Montreal with his mother and siblings, while his father stayed behind to fight the Russian invasion.

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The driver of the vehicle surrendered to the police a few hours later. Juan Manuel Becerra Garcia, 45, was charged with failing to stop after a fatal accident and was released on bail with several conditions. He is expected in court in early March.

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Mariia’s death has sparked protests in the city and now across the province, but it has also had a lasting impact on neighborhood families.

“She died between our house and the park where we go every day,” said Gwen Lelu, adding that her children “were traumatized.”

The hit and run tragedy has since prompted the City of Montreal to implement more traffic calming measures on local streets. City officials also promised that the surroundings of 50 establishments frequented by children, including schools and daycare centers as well as two parks, will be made safer by the end of 2023.

But those who took part in the protest on Tuesday want change across Quebec and are demanding action from politicians who sit in the provincial legislature. Desaulniers said children should be able to get to school safely.

“We want reduced speed, we want there to be school zones where we close streets so kids can come to school,” he said. “We want smaller streets, greener streets, and of course to reduce the number of cars passing through these school zones.”

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Mariia Legenkovska is seen in a family photo.

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Quebec Solidarity MP Manon Massé said the provincial government “has a role to play.”

“Montreal has done its job, but Quebec must do something by changing traffic rules, by putting money to help municipalities act,” she said.

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A preliminary report released last week by Montreal police showed 20 pedestrians were killed on city roads in 2022.

The latest figures from Quebec’s automobile insurance authority, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), indicate that 39 pedestrians died on the province’s highways and roads in the first nine months of 2022. This is an increase of 14.7% over the previous year.

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The full board report for 2022 will be released in March.

The SAAQ told PKBNEWS on Tuesday that it is currently funding campaigns aimed at encouraging readers to slow down. They are underway in several municipalities in the province.

— with files from Tim Sargeant of Global and The Canadian Press

© 2023 PKBNEWS, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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