By Brendan Day
Waverley councillor Leon Goltsman has welcomed a $300,000 project proposed by the NSW government to improve pedestrian safety on Old South Head Road.
If approved, the project will install new crossing points at Kobada, Military and Diamond Bay roads, as well as renovate existing pedestrian refuges at Lancaster Road and Princess Street.
The initiative comes as a response to concerns over pedestrian safety shared by the state government and local community.
“The purpose is to improve pedestrian safety and access, especially to and from bus stops in response to high traffic volumes and pedestrian crashes,” a spokesperson for Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) said.
Mr Goltsman spoke positively of the project, saying the interactions he enjoyed with members of the public indicated it would be received warmly.
“When I’ve had a coffee and talked to locals about the crossings, it’s clear that people think [the refuges] are inadequate,” he said.
“It’s good to see that something is being done about it.”
A spokesperson for RMS confirmed there would be a reduction in available parking along Old South Head Road, with 24 parking spaces scheduled to be removed.
“Changes to kerbside parking spaces and relocation of bus stops would be required to ensure safety and visibility of pedestrians,” the spokesperson said.
“The existing pedestrian refuges at Princess Street and Lancaster Road will be widened and some parking will need to be removed to ensure they meet Australian standards.
“There would be no changes to traffic lanes as part of the work which would likely start before June if the project is approved.”
With kerbside parking already scarce, Mr Goltsman predicted the decision to further reduce the availability of parking may upset some local residents and visitors.
“It’s going to be a little bit more difficult to park along there now, and there will be some people who will be disrupted by this,” he said.
But Mr Goltsman remains a supporter of the project, arguing its benefits were far greater than its drawbacks.
“Overall, it’s certainly a positive outcome for the pedestrians and drivers who deal with Old South Head Road,” he said.
“Safety should always be our highest priority and the slight reduction in parking spaces is definitely outweighed by the increase in pedestrian protection.”