Site of fatal LRT collision in south Edmonton to get $120K upgrade

The site of a fatal collision between a pedestrian and LRT train last fall will receive a $120,000 safety upgrade, city officials said Thursday night.

The news came nearly eight months after a northbound LRT train struck and killed Luke Jansen, 22, who was crossing the tracks near 113th Street and 60th Avenue, not far from the South Campus/Fort Edmonton Park LRT Station.

The accident happened shortly before noon on Oct. 6, 2017.

Police said Jansen had waited for a southbound LRT train to pass before unwittingly stepping in front of another train coming from the opposite direction.

Jansen was wearing earbuds at the time and died instantly, said police. 

Police reviewed the incident and found the gated crossing was functioning normally, Tarra Kongsrude, a communications advisor for the City of Edmonton, told CBC.

But ever since the accident, members of the Lendrum Place and Parkallen community leagues have shared concerns about its safety and suggested improvements to the city.

Automatic gate with lights coming

A mechanized pedestrian gate — with lights — will be added to the crossing as soon as possible, transit and city officials promised during a meeting Thursday night at the Parkallen community league hall. 

“We’re going to take this as an opportunity to look at any other locations on the system and see if there are other locations that require upgrades as well,” said Gord Cebryk, the acting deputy city manager for city operations.

Kristy Fyfe, civics director for the Parkallen community league, called this “the best possible solution.”

“It’s fantastic to see that the city’s taking a proactive response to address not just our LRT pedestrian crossing but those across the city as well,” Fyfe said. 

Luke Jansen, 22, died in October 2017 after being hit by an LRT train. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Son loved music and political science

Members of Jansen’s family, who learned about the meeting on CBC Radio, spoke with Ward 10 city councillor Michael Walters and community members, saying they were moved by the community effort to improve crossing safety.

“I felt more relational about the loss and connected to people, after what they did tonight,” said Jansen’s mother, Z’Anne Harvey-Jansen.

Jansen was a recent graduate of the University of Alberta, where he won multiple scholarships and wrote his honours thesis on public policy and live music venues in Edmonton.

He was a musician with the band North of Here, a frequent basketball referee at the Saville Centre and an election assistant in Strathcona County, where he grew up. He had lived in Parkallen for just a few months.

“He was just moving on and creating his adult life, and it was just so exciting as parents to watch. And to think that it was lost in an instant is just unfathomable to lots of us who were part of his life,” his mother said. 

The family still has questions about what happened that day, when changes to the intersection will be made, and how future accidents could be prevented.

Harvey-Jansen said she hopes the new mechanical arms will be installed before the first anniversary of her son’s death.

“I want to see action,” she said.

“Community members can make a difference and he lived his life by that.” A young man listening to music on earbuds was struck and killed Friday while crossing the LRT tracks near 115A Street and 60th Avenue 0:44

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