Roundabout ways to ensure pedestrian safety being explored

ANOTHER NEAR MISS: Ken Brown narrowly escaped injury using a narrow pedestrian refuge and would support mid-block crossings.
Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 0611dcken1

ANOTHER NEAR MISS: Ken Brown narrowly escaped injury using a narrow pedestrian refuge and would support mid-block crossings. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 0611dcken1

PEDESTRIAN refuges midway between intersections could be the answer to safety concerns at roundabouts, however calls have been made to increase the number of pedestrian crossings.

Earlier this year, councillor Glenn Taylor called for a report on pedestrian refuge standards, saying some of the older refuges at roundabouts across the central business district were too narrow and posed a safety risk, particularly for pedestrians using strollers, wheelchairs or scooters.

A report recently tabled with the Orange access advisory community committee said pedestrian refuges met road standards at the time they were constructed and updating the older refuges would require reconfiguring the road. 

“Council has identified a preference for the construction of mid-block crossings to increase safety and line of sight for both pedestrians and drivers, over the widening of pedestrian refuges at roundabouts,” the report said.

Scooter user Ken Brown, who has encountered several near misses with cars, said he would be happy to cross mid-block.

“There was a lot of whingeing when they put the crossing across the road in Anson Street near Woolies because it interfered with traffic, but that’s been a godsend,” he said.

Mr Brown’s most recent near miss occurred crossing Byng Street at the Sale Street roundabout - he could not fit his entire scooter on the refuge due to a lady with a pram already waiting to cross. 

“[The driver] actually bumped me hard enough to move it, it was close,” he said.

“She came through too quickly, but I was there half a minute before she came along.”

While mid-block refuges would allow more time for pedestrians, Mr Brown said speeding drivers would still be a danger unless crossings were marked.

Cr Taylor said NSW Roads and Maritime Services did not favour marked pedestrian crossings because motorists did not stop, but he believed they should be considered.

“Refuges give assistance, but not safe passage - there’s not enough compulsion to stop at a refuge and people can be stranded there for long periods of time, particularly if they’re in a wheelchair or if they’re with little kids,” he said.

“I think pedestrian crossings are effective and drivers respect them on the whole.”

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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