LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- 19 pedestrians were struck and killed by vehicles in Maine last year.
That number was nearly double from the year before and the most in recent memory.
In Lewiston, that figure became more than just a statistic when a 13-year old boy was recently killed as he walked to school. That has prompted city leaders to bring the community together in search of solutions to prevent more of the deaths from occurring.
“The tragedy just seems bigger and compounded on top of the other two deaths. I think people are really looking for a place to express their concerns and looking for the city and the community to take a stand”, said Lewiston City Council President Kristen Cloutier.
Besides the death of 13-year old Jayden Cho Sargent, two other pedestrians were killed near a busy stretch of Lisbon Street. A 53-year old woman was killed while crossing the street near the Lewiston Mall. A month early, an 84-year old man was killed while walking through an intersection. State Senator Nate Libby wants to hear directly from people who are out on those streets.
“To get some immediate feedback from folks who are walking the streets, riding the streets on bicycles and driving the streets by car, to get a sense of what’s working, what’s not and what needs improvement”, he said.
One of the things Libby wants to hear about is unsafe crosswalks. Crosswalks that probably shouldn’t be in the locations they’re in.
“You’ll notice where Jayden was killed, it’s not easily visible that there is a crosswalk there, but it’s one that is heavily used", he said.
Dozens of people concerned about pedestrian safety in Lewiston gathered at City Hall for a meeting Wednesday night.
Suggestions to improve city pedestrian safety ranged from improved signage and traffic lights to parents talking to their kids about crossing the street.
Those ideas will be forwarded to the city’s public works department to help guide workers when it comes to street design, painting, paving, lighting and signage.