Council demands safety upgrade at dangerous pedestrian crossing
Tuesday 19 April 2022
Inner West Council is demanding urgent and long-overdue safety upgrades to the Frederick Street Ashfield pedestrian crossing.
The dangerous crossing, long a concern for locals and Council, was the site of a recent fatality.
Councillor Philippa Scott, who brought the Motion to last Tuesday night’s Council Meeting, said the tragic fatality underscores the fact that the NSW government is ignoring warnings and not adequately addressing concerns expressed by residents and Council.
“In fact, we warned the NSW Government four years ago that WestConnex traffic impacts were having dangerous consequences for some residential streets – especially this very intersection,” Councillor Scott said.
Council’s WestConnex Local Area Improvement Strategy final report, released in May 2018, reads in part:
Of particular note is the presence of three pedestrian related crashes that occurred at the Frederick Street/John Street Intersection, with an additional two occurring adjacent to the nearby Hammond Park. With traffic volumes expected to increase along this route, this could increase the exposure to crash risk for vulnerable road users.
“So, they’ve had this information for years. But they chose to ignore it and now a resident is dead,” Councillor Scott said.
The street is heavily used by the community, including students getting to and from school, parks and sportsgrounds, and is also near aged-care facilities.
“Pedestrians feel unsafe using the road and believe there has been a major increase in traffic, including many more large vehicles for WestConnex construction,” Councillor Scott said.
A petition has been signed by 1,700 residents. It calls for traffic lights to be installed at the crossing.
Last Tuesday night, 12 April, Inner West Council reiterated its demand that the NSW Government commit $30 million to mitigate the traffic nightmare on Inner West streets caused by WestConnex.
Council also resolved to contact Natalie Ward, Minister for Metropolitan Roads, inviting her to attend a meeting at the site.
“I want the Minister to come and see for herself just how dangerous this intersection is. Accidents are a regular occurrence, and the community wants action,” said Councillor Scott.
A recent community meeting was convened on the site, attended by Member for Strathfield Jason Yat-Sen Li, Mayor Darcy Byrne, Shadow Minister for Transport and Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen, Inner West Councillors and local Police.
“Dozens of residents expressed their frustration and shared their experiences of close calls, accidents and fear for the safety of their families,” said Councillor Scott.
“People told us how they avoid the area completely if they can, driving down the road or walking around the block instead of risking the dangerous intersection and crossing.
“They spoke of near misses - a problem for everyone but especially older residents – and hearing sirens and knowing exactly where they are going.
“Community anger was crystal clear. They are tired of government inaction and failed experiments,” Councillor Scott said.
For media enquiries, contact Elizabeth Heath, Media and Communications Coordinator, 9392 5334 or Elizabeth.Heath@innerwest.nsw.gov.au