Montrealers Are Protesting For Safer Streets Following The Hit-And-Run Death Of A 7-Year-Old
"Urban infrastructure rarely protects children’s safety."
Over a hundred Montrealers gathered in the snow outside Jean-Baptiste-Meilleur primary school on Friday morning. Many held signs calling for safer roads in the Centre-Sud, where seven-year-old Ukrainian refugee Maria Legenkovska was killed in a hit-and-run two days prior.
In addition to honouring Legenkovska, who died on her way to school, protesters demanded more secure school zones and less car-centric infrastructure in Montreal and throughout the province.
"Walking to school should never be deadly. Urban infrastructure rarely protects children’s safety," said Mathieu Murphy-Perron, a founding member of Vélorution Montréal, one of the organizations behind the protest.
"Automobile fluidity has become the norm, and the ones who pay the price are families and the independence of young people. What are we waiting for to truly secure school zones and corridors?”
Earlier this year, CAA-Québec found that 96% of drivers exceed the legal speed limit by at least 10 km on average in Montreal school zones.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante responded to the protest by announcing that corrective safety measures would be implemented near Jean-Baptiste-Meilleur. But protest organizers say more needs to be done.
"We ask that officials accelerate the installation of urban planning measures that prioritise the safety of people over the fluidity of motorised vehicles, as well as to increase the funding of road safety corrective measures," said Sandrine Cabana-Degani, Executive Director of Piétons Québec, a pedestrian-focused non-profit also behind the protest.
In the past month and a half, at least six people have died in the city and five have been grievously injured in car-related accidents.