By GEMMA BILLINGTON
Community concerns about a perilous Petersham pedestrian crossing culminated in the Inner West council’s unanimous decision to enhance the safety at the West Street and Railway Terrace intersection.
In a meeting last month, the Inner West council voted to alert Transport for NSW and the Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, of the need to address the infamous intersection, which has been a site of community worry for decades.
Backing onto West Street, Petersham Public School students regularly use the busy intersection and often pool at either end of the crossing due to the limited waiting space. Endless queues of cars obstruct the crossing; endangering cyclists, pedestrians, and commuters of the nearby Lewisham and Petersham Stations.
Concerned about the dangers of the crossing, the Petersham Public School P&C launched a Change petition calling on the NSW State Government to improve safety. Measures they suggest include the development of a second pedestrian crossing, red-light speed cameras, additional waiting spaces, and safety devices like guardrails and bollards.
The petition has surpassed 1,300 signatures in the 4 months that it’s been online.
Council calls for improvement
Greens councillor Louise Steer tabled the motion at an Extraordinary Council Meeting after it had been adjourned 3 times.
She noted that the increased hazards have been synonymous with the continued growth and development of the Inner West.
“The amount of traffic has dramatically increased in that area,” she explained.
“It’s caused by increased construction, the Petersham RSL development, the Petersham station upgrade and also because we simply have, as a result of the WestConnex and Sydney Metro ongoing construction, a lot more people coming to the area and using our roads as shortcuts to avoid WestConnex and to get home.”
In a video posted to Facebook, Inner West Mayor, Darcy Byrne, dubbed the West Street and Railway Terrace crossing, “one of the most dangerous intersections in the Inner West.”
“Parents of Petersham Public School have rightfully been asking government and council to implement safety measures here because pedestrians are not safe when crossing over the bridge on either side of the road, and kids are genuinely unsafe on their way to school,” said Mr. Byrne.
Mr. Byrne asked the State Government to listen to residents’ concerns before someone gets hurt and said that the community is “ready to work with government to make sure that this is a safer intersection.”
Ms. Steer hopes that once the Minister for Transport and Transport for NSW are aware of the dangerous Petersham intersection, discussions between council and government can get under way. Though, there are concerns that the disconnect between residents and Transport for NSW will further delay safety measures.
“The representative doesn’t necessarily live in the area or know the area, so they’re just looking at a lot of computer projections and things like that,” Ms. Steer said.
“It’s like a game of monopoly, moving the traffic around in a way that suits someone very remote from the area who doesn’t really care about having to drive around here.”