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Residents urge city to install crosswalk a year after child’s fatal crossing

Date: 12/22/2015

SPRINGFIELD – Standing in the rain on Dec. 17, surrounded by people carrying signs urging the city take action on a crosswalk, Luis Gonzalez broke down in tears.

Last December, his 7 year-old daughter Destiny was struck by a motorist while she was crossing State Street with her mother and young cousin near the Central Library. She later died from her injuries.

Seeing people cross State Street to reach the library from the entrance of the parking lot next to Classical Condos is a common sight. There is a crosswalk with signal further down the street at the intersection of Maple and State streets.

Gonzalez said, “100 percent we need a crosswalk.”

Michaelann Bewsee of Arise for Social Justice was among the dozen people who held signs for passing motorists urging the city take to action.

Bewsee said if there weren’t a crosswalk, a set of flashing lights warning motorists of pedestrians would be welcomed. “Something to make it safe to cross State Street,” she added.

Bewsee said that she and others have been collecting signatures, which they will present at the next City Council meeting asking for action.

“The city has had a year to come up with a safety plan,” she added. “We think [a] year is enough time.”

Carol Costa, a resident at Classical Condos and the president of the Amory Quadrangle Civic Association, said she has met frequently with the safety committee of the School Committee about this issue. She believes the public schools must undertake additional educational methods to make sure children know how to where to cross a street safely.

She believes that because of liability issues an additional crosswalk is “never happening.”

Costa believes, though, the city must do something.

Some of the signs were directed at Chris Cignoli, the director of the Department of Public Works. Reminder Publications’ call to Cignoli for comment was not returned by press time.