Not sitting on the fence: Summer Street business owners reject need for safety measure

NO CHANGE: Collins Booksellers Orange owner Phillip Schwebel believes a median strip in Summer Street would be devastating for his business. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER 0602lscollins

NO CHANGE: Collins Booksellers Orange owner Phillip Schwebel believes a median strip in Summer Street would be devastating for his business. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER 0602lscollins

BUSINESS owners have thrown their weight behind the decision to fight a state government proposal to build a median fence along Summer Street in an attempt to provide better safety for pedestrians.

Councillors Russell Turner and Scott Munro voiced their concerns about the Roads and Maritime Services’ (RMS) proposal last week and will tonight recommend the proposal be declined as they fight to keep the central business district a “cohesive area where businesses can flourish on both sides of the street.”

In an overwhelming show of support yesterday, five of six businesses contacted were against a median fence, with one business undecided.

Collins Booksellers Orange owner Phillip Schwebel described the idea as a hindrance and a waste of money.

“Visually a fence in our main street would look terrible and I don’t think it’s necessary,” he said.

“Yes people do cross when they’re not at the lights, but I’ve never seen people put in danger.”

THREE DAYS AGO: DON'T FENCE ME IN

His opinion was shared by Orange Sportspower owner David Russell who described the idea as a cotton ball approach and a poor use of money that could be much better spent elsewhere.

“It will restrict business on the other side of the street and a poor use of money that would be much more productive being spent on something that will economically benefit Orange,” he said.

Apple City Newsagency owner David Tandy believes Orange should copy safety measures put in place in Bathurst, which he believes have worked better than a median fence.

“I can understand the safety aspects of the idea because I have seen people trip on the median strip and gutter,” he said.

“But I think a much better idea would be to follow Bathurst’s idea of putting in safety guard rails in designated safety zones where people can cross, but they must still give way to traffic.

“The most dangerous place to cross the road is 20 or 30 metres either side of the lights because of turning vehicles, so I would support a fence being put in there, but I think rescue islands would be better than a fence all the way.”

Aaron Blowes from Blowes Clothing was the only business owner contacted yesterday who did not believe the fence would affect his business.

“I haven’t thought too much about it, but I’m not too concerned either way,” he said.

luke.schuyler@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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