ELDERLY Orange resident Joan Brown says pedestrian safety has taken a back seat to Orange City Council’s quest to beautify the city.
Mrs Brown said while she appreciated the work council had done to showcase the city’s flora, the foliage on the roundabout at the corner of Byng and Hill streets was putting pedestrian safety at risk.
“A number of factors work against the safety of pedestrians, the main one being the gradual rise of Hill Street from its Summer Street intersection before meeting Byng Street and continuing north,” she said.
“A pedestrian wanting to cross Hill Street from the south-west corner faces a situation where visibility to the north is very poor because of the foliage in the roundabout and the positioning of the large street signs in the base of the roundabout.
“When someone crosses to the pedestrian refuge in the middle of the road it’s almost impossible to get a clear view of any traffic that may be coming from the north and proceeding around the roundabout to cross Hill Street.”
Mrs Brown said while it was sometimes possible to see vehicles such as SUVs, regular cars were “almost invisible” until they entered the roundabout.
She said while foliage on the roundabout was not as obtrusive as it usually was, it continued to be a problem.
As someone who regularly walks around the city, Mrs Brown said she often saw families walking to Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School forced to cross Byng Street close to Clinton Street and then walk down Hill Street to cross at the pedestrian crossing opposite the school’s entrance.
Mrs Brown said she’d like to see council staff inspect the roundabout and stand at the pedestrian refuge at around 9 am.
Council spokesman Allan Reeder said roundabouts had proved popular and effective at intersections in Orange.
“Roundabouts are not ideal for the movement of pedestrians, but the pedestrian refuges that are usually part of a roundabout’s design are aimed at increasing safety by letting a person cross half of the street, and then safely wait for a break in the traffic before crossing to the other side of the road,” he said.
“For a pedestrian, it’s about trying to predict where a car plans to leave the roundabout, and that points to the need for drivers to co-operate by flagging their intentions early by using their indicator lights.”
Mr Reeder said landscaping features on Orange’s roundabouts were kept to a “standard height”.
“These features are about getting the balance right between being safe, but still interrupting enough of the view so that cars will have to slow down at a roundabout,” he said. “Drivers shouldn’t expect to go through a roundabout at 50 kilometres per hour.”
Mr Reeder said because that roundabout was near a school, pedestrian crossings were installed in Byng and Hill streets.
“In residential settings like this, elderly pedestrians could consider whether it’s safer to cross the street in the middle of the block where there’s no pedestrian crossing, but where there is a clear view of oncoming traffic,” he said.
“The other option is to use the pedestrian refuges at the roundabout.”