Frustration over safety mounts in Waterdown
Death of 10-year-old girl while crossing Evans Road spurs community focus on traffic growth
It’s been two weeks since 10-year-old Jasmin Hanif was killed in a crash on her family’s Waterdown street, and her father wants action.
Shakeel Hanif told an emergency services community meeting at St. James United Church on Parkside Drive Tuesday night that while he supports future traffic-calming measures, something should already have been done to improve safety given Waterdown’s growing population.
And if not before, then certainly in the wake of Jasmin’s death, he added.
“When is everybody going to wake up and say we have a problem in Waterdown?” Hanif asked.
“It’s been two weeks. Nothing has been done.”
Hanif previously told The Spectator he wants to see speed radar, speed bumps, signs and other measures to make drivers avoid Evans Road.
Jasmin, 10, died after being struck while crossing the road in front of her family home on May 16.
The northbound lanes of Evans Road were backed up even more than usual that night with motorists avoiding a closure on Highway 403.
Jasmin was running across the street to play when she was struck. A northbound driver had waved her through, but when she stepped onto the road, a southbound vehicle hit her.
Hanif asked his questions to a panel that included Coun. Judi Partridge, police Chief Eric Girt, fire Chief David Cunliffe and paramedics Chief Michael Sanderson.
Girt told Hanif he understands his concerns, but it’s not just a policing issue.
“I certainly hear you on traffic, but I do feel it is a public responsibility,” he said, noting distracted driving is one of the major problems.
Girt said he wouldn’t get into the particular circumstances of that collision but stressed that the loss of any child is a “huge tragedy” and “preventable.”
“I can’t even comprehend your loss,” he added.
A moment of silent for Jasmin was held at the beginning of the meeting.
Partridge asked residents to take home safety signs reading “Slow Down, Safety Zone” to to put up on their properties in honour of “the beautiful jewel that we lost in our community.”
Partridge told the crowd of more than 80 people that she met with traffic management and public works last week, and that immediate short-term solutions for Evans Road should be implemented within two weeks. Longterm initiatives will follow.
“We have to come up with a solution,” she said, noting that could include looking at removing the truck route designation on Evans Road.
Evans, in particular, is a traffic problem because it sits on the edge of Waterdown and often becomes a thoroughfare for drivers speeding between Dundas Street and Parkside Drive.
Evans was rural, but is now surrounded by residential development. The narrow, two-lane road, which has a posted speed limit of 50 km/h, has no sidewalks and is lined with ditches.
Other parents also raised concerns about traffic issues in their areas — from Millgrove Side Road, to Robson Road, to Mill Street.
Some of these streets were identified as being the location of speeding complaints in a presentation by Acting Insp. Peter Hall, crime manager for Division 3.
Partridge told the meeting a report on road safety, including in Waterdown, is coming before the city’s public works committee on June 5.
She urged residents to attend and share their stories in support of trafficcalming measures.
“I’ve been banging on that table for almost eight years, and it’s so frustrating,” she said.
Shakeel Hanif, right, father of Jasmin, who died after being struck by a vehicle in front of their Evans Road home May 16, makes an emotional plea to police Chief Eric Girt during a meeting Tuesday.