Relatives of pedestrian struck in 2001 urge change after latest fatality at the intersection

‘I don’t know what the solution is, but I just think something needs to be done’

Two Whitehorse women say they’re sad and frustrated after a pedestrian was fatally hit by a truck last month at the same intersection where their elderly relative was also fatally struck by a vehicle 18 years ago.

The city needs to take action to prevent more pedestrians from being hurt Justien Wood and Michelle Leas said in interviews Dec. 2, claiming nothing’s changed since Wood’s grandmother and Leas’s great-grandmother, Margaret Wood, was hit in 2001.

Margaret, 85, was struck by a vehicle as she was crossing Second Avenue at Elliott Street in the early afternoon of Dec. 27, 2001.

The Whitehorse Star reported at the time that she suffered a broken leg and skull in the crash, and was transported to Edmonton for treatment.

At the time, her family, including Justien and Leas’s parents, urged the city to install cameras at intersections and lower the speed limit.

Merle Gorgichuk, 48, was crossing at that same intersection on Nov. 21 of this year when a truck hit and killed him.

Justien said the news about Gorgichuk’s death made her “quite upset,” because he and her grandma aren’t the only pedestrians who have been injured or killed trying to cross Second Avenue.

“I don’t want to be pointing fingers and making anybody feel badly. That’s important to me because I know it’s very traumatizing for all involved,” she said.

“(This is) just a plea to the city to do something about it … I don’t know what the solution is, but I just think something needs to be done.”

Leas said she would like to see speed limits in downtown Whitehorse lowered, and for drivers to slow down and pay closer attention at crosswalks.

“I know I’ve driven along that stretch and I’ll stop for a pedestrian and have the person in the next lane blow right through almost hitting them. This is just such a huge problem,” she said.

“Everyone’s in a rush, and for what? … After so many people have been hit, some action needs to be taken at some point here. I mean, this can’t keep happening.”

Another solution, she suggested, would be for the city to install more light-up crosswalks that flash when pedestrians are crossing, like the ones already in place across Second Avenue at Wood Street and Fourth Avenue at the Yukon Inn Plaza.

The city installed signs marking crosswalks on Second Avenue following Gorgichuk’s death, although officials said that was work the city was already planning on doing.

In an email, city spokesperson Myles Dolphin wrote that there are “a number of discussions occurring internally about potential improvements to Second Avenue, but they are in the early planning and assessment stages.”

Part of the assessment, Dolphin wrote, is a study on the Second Avenue corridor by a transportation engineering consultant that’s expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

“There will be recommendations that we’ll be looking into, to see if we can implement any in 2020, but realistically, they are large changes that will take time to properly analyze, consult with the public, and implement through the capital project process,” he wrote.

Dolphin also noted that a citywide transportation master plan is beginning next year, “and will be the platform to engage with the public for input on changes to Second Avenue and decide on implementation timelines.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

car crash

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Most Read