Mom who lost child says crosswalk safety steps aren't enough
May 24, 2018 10:12 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It's a tragedy that's now inspiring change. In late March, 12-year-old Eliza Justine Almuina was hit and killed while crossing the street in front of Cleveland Middle School.
The city is taking action to make that crosswalk at Louisiana Boulevard and Natalie Avenue safer, but the girl's mother feels it's not enough. She's actually disappointed in the city's suggestions and says it shouldn't have taken her daughter's life for them to make this street safer for kids.
Jennie Aguirre said all she can do is take it day by day after losing her daughter.
"I don't sleep in my room sometimes," she said. "I have to sleep in her room to get some rest. That's where I get my rest, in her bedroom holding on to her teddy bears.
Police say it was an accident and the driver was not charged. Plans are in place to make the crosswalk safer. The city laid out their ideas at a meeting Thursday.
For Aguirre, it's too late.
"I feel like people in the community, that people that are in charge of Albuquerque or the city are not doing their job," she said. "And I'm going to tell you why. Because it has to take the life of somebody or even a child for somebody to start moving their asses."
The city plans to build a HAWK signal or a high-intensity crosswalk just like the one at Lomas and Alvarado.
Here's how it works. Pedestrians who want to get across punch a button. Drivers will see a yellow light so they know from a distance to get ready to stop. That light will eventually turn red and a countdown will start for those crossing.
"This has been determined through studying by traffic engineers that this is the best improvement possible for this crosswalk," said Johnny Chandler, a spokesperson for the Municipal Development Department.
People at the meeting wondered if more could be done, including Aguirre. She wants reduced speed limits, heavier fines for speeders with officers on the lookout and crossing guards.
Ultimately, she just wants drivers to pay attention.
"All the drivers that pass through there on a daily basis, just slow down for God's sake," she said. "It's not worth taking someone's life."
The city will also build onto this raised median here limiting the places drivers can take left-hand turns through the crosswalk. The construction will be done before school starts this fall.
Updated: May 24, 2018 10:12 PM
Created: May 24, 2018 09:26 PM
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