A little more than a year after a man was hit and killed by a car as he crossed Steele Creek Road, residents will hold a candlelight vigil Tuesday in his memory and to urge city officials to improve pedestrian safety in the area.
Melvin Givens, 51, was struck on Sept. 21, 2012, just four days after a Charlotte Department of Transportation panel discussed the possibility of installing a median on Steele Creek Road but took no action.
Residents of the nearby Steele Creek Seniors apartment complex said they had warned city officials about the dangerous stretch of the road months before the accident. They said seniors had to cross the street to reach a heavily used bus stop.
Givens was visiting his mother at the senior living center when the two decided to take a bus to get some ice cream and fruit punch. Upon returning about 8 p.m., a bus dropped them off across the street from the senior living center, and the two began to cross the street. There were no crosswalks, warning lights or signs in the area, and Givens was struck by a car. Police said neither speed nor alcohol were factors in the accident.
Paramedics took Givens to Carolinas Medical Center, where he died the next day.
Neighbors said that after the accident, they suggested adding a crosswalk, overhead lights, moving the bus stop and reducing the speed limit below 50 mph to improve safety.
But a year later, senior center resident Rollon Washington said all that the city has done is put in a pedestrian island.
We havent seen any great improvements at all, said the 64-year-old. Its still dangerous.
In response, Washington is organizing the Tuesday-night vigil to get the attention of officials.
Givens mother, Lyna Dillard, said Sunday shes had a hard time coping with her sons death.
Losing him took a lot out of me, she said. I hope they make some changes so no one else gets hurt or killed on that road.
Some Charlotte City Council members are expected to attend, Washington said. He said he also has invited members of the state and city departments of transportation as well as the Steele Creek Residents Association.
During Tuesdays vigil, Washington will address the importance of adding more safety measures, not just for the nearby seniors but for everyone living in the area.
He said school buses drop children off on one side of the street, who then walk to the other side without any crosswalks.
Kids are walking in every direction when they get off the bus, he said. Its not only unsafe for seniors. Its unsafe for everyone.
Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero
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