Don't fence me in: plan to block Summer Street met with opposition

A STATE government proposal to construct a median fence in Summer Street is set to meet fierce opposition from Orange councillors on Tuesday night.

NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) staff proposed a fence between Sale and Peisley streets to reduce the number of accidents involving pedestrians.

Between 1996 and 2000, pedestrians and those using motorised scooters or mobility aids were involved in an average of 4.8 accidents annually.

This reduced to 2.3 a year on average between 2001 and 2010.

According to an RMS report, the fence would include a mid-block pedestrian facility at each of the three blocks, requiring pedestrians to walk a maximum extra 100 metres.

Council staff recommended the measure not be supported and for alternatives to be considered due to reduced accident rates and potential damage to businesses.

“The proposed fence would not only create a physical barrier dividing the CBD in two, but also potentially create distinct precincts within the CBD,” the report to councillors said.

“The CBD should function as a cohesive area where business activity can flourish on both sides of Summer Street.”

The report also cited an objection from Canobolas Local Area Command  police, who said it could affect their ability to apprehend criminals during a chase.

Councillors will consider the recommendation on Tuesday night.

Among those who will vote against the fence will be traffic committee chair and councillor Russell Turner.

“Most accidents have been on the intersection at the traffic lights, not ducking across the street,” he said.

“The majority of trucks are out of Summer Street now, so it’s a lot safer than it used to be.”

Cr Turner said he did not think changes were necessary, but it appeared the RMS had the funds to spend and were determined to spend them. 

“Why should the 99 per cent who cross the road safely be penalised by a very small minority?” he said.

Fellow traffic committee member and councillor Scott Munro was also against the proposal, saying he once revived a girl who disobeyed the traffic lights and sustained head injuries.

“Maybe we could do a little more to educate our pedestrians and drivers,” he said.

Cr Munro said a speed reduction to 40km/h could be an alternative measure.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

THE GREAT DIVIDE: Councillor Scott Munro does not want to see a fence constructed on the Summer Street median strip. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0530fence2

THE GREAT DIVIDE: Councillor Scott Munro does not want to see a fence constructed on the Summer Street median strip. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0530fence2

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