The City of Calgary is reconstructing a section of trail in northwest Calgary that resulted in fatal injuries to a teenager two years ago
Jhamir Catajan was an 8th grade student at St Joseph School who is remembered as a gentle soul who always put others before himself.
On June 15, 2020, Jhamir was driving down a hill in Confederation Park when witnesses said he was trying to avoid a child on the way and crashed into a bridge. The 14-year-old died two days later.
“It’s been really tough for all of our families because it’s a close-knit community. When another accident happened almost a year later, in the same school community, we said, OK, what can we do?” said Mount Pleasant resident Amanda Halek.
Halek’s son went to school with Jhamir and another boy who was seriously injured in the same place a year after Jhamir’s death. A group of parents took action, setting up a memorial in the park to raise awareness, speaking to strangers in the park, and writing emails to the city.
“It was totally down to earth. We just got together in the park after these accidents happened, this group of mothers and we’re crying and we’re standing on this bridge and we’re like, ‘What can we do?’” said Halek.
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The city is now realigning the path along 10th Street in Mount Pleasant. It used to be a straight line up to an intersection with four directions. The new trail will have two switchbacks to slow drivers down.
The city says the trail isn’t allowed by today’s standards. The current maximum permissible incline is eight percent.
“Our park design guidelines describe the maximum allowable gradients on trails,” said Vlair Allan of the City of Calgary.
“This path has been adopted. It was built back in a time when design guidelines were really a big deal in tech, so let’s go ahead and take the information we have now and apply it to paths that existed in the olden days and see how we can improve them.”
The tragic incident prompted the city to look for other dangerous routes. The city is now investigating a steep slope near Glenmore Reservoir on the south side of Weaselhead that was the scene of injuries.
“When we saw the construction trucks and vehicles in the park, we were amazed that this change is actually happening. It’s easy to believe these days that positive change isn’t possible,” Halek said. “This will make the park safer for everyone. It’s incredibly heartwarming and incredibly satisfying.”
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In a statement to Global News, Jhamir’s mother said she was relieved by the Pathway project, saying: “Please don’t take the memorial down so everyone knows someone died accidentally.”
Community members have requested that the city name the bridge in memory of Jhamir.
The Confederation Park project is scheduled to be completed by early October.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/9151340/calgary-deadly-pathway-replaced-switchbacks/ Deadly section of trail from Calgary replaced with switchbacks – Calgary