U of C pedestrians struck in crosswalk

A road frequented by university students has claimed another young life, the third in four years.

A mother and her six-year old daughter were hit by a black BMW while crossing 32nd Ave. and 37 St. NW, Thur., Jan. 18, at approximately 3:50 p.m. The girl, Jenna Chang, was rushed to the hospital with severe head trauma and died of her injuries Friday. The mother, a 36-year-old University of Calgary nursing student, is recovering from a fractured pelvis and multiple broken bones in hospital.

In 2003, well-known U of C students and rugby players Brian Collins and Joah Atkinson were struck by a car and killed while crossing 32 Ave. at 33 St. NW.

In response to the most recent accident, U of C president Dr. Harvey Weingarten sent a letter to City of Calgary director of roads Mac Logan Mon., Jan. 22 requesting a safety review of the roads surrounding the university, to which the city agreed.

“The review would be done based on volumes of traffic,” said U of C vice-president external relations Roman Cooney. “We wouldn’t have any control over the timing or building of [safety measures].”

Cooney added that Logan’s response said the 32 Ave. crosswalk was reviewed in 2006 and assessed to have a relatively high volume, but not high enough to install safety measures such as signal lights or a pedestrian overpass. The crosswalk was set to be reviewed again in 2007.

Cooney said since the university is not responsible for roads surrounding campus they cannot determine if or when additional safety measures will be installed along 32 Ave. The City installed a pedestrian light after Collins and Atkinson were killed in 2003.

Jenna, a first-grade student at Stanley Jones School, lived in the student family housing complex with her mother, father and brother. Residence Services director Joel Lynn said he plans to work with the family after Jenna’s funeral to create a memorial in her honour.

“We’re looking at what can be named or placed in or around the building in her honour,” said Lynn. “For the community and for family housing it’s important to have something visible to remember Jenna.”

Lynn noted a memorial is important, given the strong sense of community amongst the approximately 250 families living in student family housing.

“Over 50 per cent of the students living in family housing are international students and they really do support each other in times of need,” noted Lynn.

Charges against the driver have not yet been laid, though it was reported the driver may have been distracted at the time of the crash.

“Some of the earlier reports indicated that driver inattention may have been a factor contributing to the crash,” said Calgary Police Staff Sergeant Brett Marklund, adding that the investigation may take weeks.

Any witnesses who have not yet come forward are encouraged to call the traffic department at 567-4000.

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