Oakland community calls for changes after woman hit, killed by shuttle bus

PITTSBURGH — There was a moment of silence during a brief but meaningful vigil for a young woman Wednesday night.

About a dozen community members from Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood came together by candlelight at the very spot where Emily Watson’s life was cut short exactly one week ago.

>>> Woman dies after being hit by shuttle bus in Oakland

“We’re all going to miss her as a community,” said Marian Kaelin, a sophomore at Pitt and member of Complete Streets at Pitt. “She was a beloved member of our community.”

Friends, road safety advocates and others brought flowers and prayed for the 29-year-old woman on the corner on Terrace Street and Sutherland Drive. That intersection is where Watson was walking last Wednesday, Nov. 29, when she was hit and killed by a UPMC shuttle bus driver.

The Oakland community said the Point Park graduate and UPMC employee was compassionate, smart and an animal lover.

“Emily had a commitment to making a difference,” Kaelin said.

Many Pitt students said the intersection, sandwiched between the hospital and college campuses, isn’t safe.

“There is a lot of traffic here; it gets very crowded,” said Kaelin. “There’s not a lot of visibility on the street due to the hilly conditions and illegally parked cars here.”

Complete Streets at Pitt is a bike-pedestrian advocacy group on the university’s campus. The group held the vigil to bring about change and improve street safety for everyone.

They said another woman, Pitt student Barbara Como, was killed in the area in March 2020.

“We just want this information to be out there and that people to understand that this is a problem, and it needs to be addressed,” said Neil Cahill, a  freshman and communication chair of Complete Streets at Pitt.

The club at Pitt is now planning on reaching out to university police and UPMC so they can all work together on making the streets safer.

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