Frustration on Byng Street continues as crossings remain unchanged

A PEDESTRIAN crossing linking Orange Civic Centre with Robertson Park is a step closer to reality, but still has a long way to go. 

The City of Orange Traffic Committee reviewed two pedestrian refuges in Byng Street last month – one near Orange Police Station and the other linking Orange Civic Centre to Robertson Park.

The committee resolved to keep both unchanged, but to put a designated pedestrian crossing at the civic centre forward for consideration as part of a review of the CBD.

The matter was last raised in 2014 by councillor Glenn Taylor, who asked to have traffic lights installed after a previous attempt to install a zebra crossing was blocked by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) because they were not allowed on double-lane roads. 

Cr Taylor said the traffic lights had also been refused by the RMS unless the council agreed to fund them.

He said the road had been an ongoing concern for Orange City Council’s ageing and access committee because the level of traffic was difficult for pedestrians relying on walkers and scooters. 

“It’s back to the future, nothing’s changed – I chaired the committee for 15 years and brought it up on numerous occasions,” he said. 

Just implement common sense.

Councillor Glenn Taylor

“The crossing near the police station, why can’t we have lines there? It comes down to stupid rules, you can’t put a pedestrian crossing within a distance from a roundabout – just implement common sense.”

Cr Taylor said the RMS preferred pedestrians to cross at roundabouts, but he believed they were most dangerous for people with mobility issues.

“You’re in deep trouble if a car flies around the corner,” he said. 

He said he would support council expenditure to install traffic lights.

“I would support any move to make it safe,” he said. 

Mayor Reg Kidd chaired last month’s meeting and said the matter was far from resolved because it would still have to go through the RMS process.

“But we want to keep it on the books and have a look at it,” he said. 

He supported a crossing outside the civic centre, but did not believe it was the only course of action.

“I would prefer some education for people to use the crossings that already exist,” he said. 

The Central Western Daily polled readers in 2014 about the civic centre refuge – 42 per cent thought pedestrian traffic lights would improve safety, while 58 per cent thought the existing island was sufficient.