'Nowhere' safe for pedestrians or vehicles, says sister of woman killed by snow truck 15 years ago

More than a decade after her sister was killed by a snow removal truck in Montreal, Julia Lynn Hann says the condition of streets on the Northeast Avalon is gravely concerning. 

"Seeing people complaining about the state of emergency and how we should be able to be out walking the streets and driving and stuff really resonated with me, because I mean that was the situation that killed my sister," Hann said Thursday.

In 2005, her 21-year-old sister, Jessica Holman-Price, and 10-year-old brother, Peter Luc, were standing on a corner waiting to cross when a snow removal truck, turning right, nipped the curb. That sent a snow bank falling, knocking the pair under the truck. 

"If it wasn't for the snow bank, if it wasn't for the narrow roads, the chances of her being with us today are strong," Hann said 15 years later. 

'You're not invincible'

She said with the number of pedestrian-vehicle collisions before the record-breaking snowfall last weekend, she's worried. 

"There's just nowhere right now that's safe for pedestrian or vehicle traffic," Hann said from her home in Mount Pearl. 

Bruce Tilley/CBC

With all municipalities set to terminate the state of emergency by 6 a.m. Saturday, Hann thinks it's too soon. 

Between the volume of snow and the number of pedestrians out at night in dark clothing without reflective gear, she said it's dangerous. 

"Operators just can't see them. When you're talking 15-, 20-foot snowbanks, you're not seeing a five- or six-foot person," said Hann. 

Bruce Tilley/CBC

Hann said she doesn't know what will make people listen to the calls for drivers and pedestrians to exercise extreme caution on the roads, but hopes her plea will help. 

"You're not invincible. Your bodies are breakable. You get one chance at this life and it's not worth it to go for a walk."

Pedestrians and drivers call for caution

Tiffany Jordan lives in the Goulds area of St. John's, and as an essential worker, had to work during the state of the emergency. 

"These past few days, really was eye-opening as to why there was a state of emergency put in place," Jordan said Thursday.

"It's really, really dangerous."

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She hopes the state of emergency is not lifted Saturday, and is "really scared" for children waiting at bus stops on Monday if schools re-open. 

St. John's Mayor Danny Breen has said crews are focusing on making streets safe for everyone before lifting the restrictions.

Craig Power said he's enjoyed the pedestrian friendly city with his five-year-old daughter, seeing neighbours help each other this past week, as winter walking is usually "extremely dangerous." 

"Some kind of balance needs to be struck between the drivers and the pedestrians in terms of the priority for the city," said Power, who lives in the Georgestown neighbourhood. 

Jennifer Anderson, who lives near Quidi Vidi Lake, agrees. 

"There isn't even sidewalk space, let alone enough room for cars," she said. 

"So until we can get some kind of space for pedestrians, having car traffic in amongst the pedestrians isn't safe."

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