Inner West Independent

Inner West Council demands $30 million NSW government funding for ‘traffic nightmare’

NSW government

Anti-Westconnex protesters outside NSW parliament house in 2017. Photo: WestConnex Action Group.

By PATRICK MCKENZIE

Inner West Council has continued a push for the NSW government to install “long-overdue” safety upgrades along streets affected by WestConnex, including a dangerous pedestrian crossing in Ashfield. 

At a meeting on April 12, councillors unanimously passed a motion brought by fellow councillors Philippa Scott and Marghanita da Cruz that demanded the state government commit $30 million to mitigate safety issues caused in the area by WestConnex.

This proposed funding would include the pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Frederick Street and John Street, where a pedestrian was killed in March, alongside a number of other incidents in recent years.

The motion was supported by a community petition started by former Marrickville Councillor Max Phillips, who said that he crosses the intersection frequently and that “probably every second time we go to cross, a car will not stop”.

“I don’t think it’s deliberate, I don’t think it’s bad driving… this [crossing] is unsafe, it’s still as dangerous as it ever has been … I think the only real fix to this is to put traffic lights at that intersection. 

“Clearly the call for traffic lights has resonated with the local community.”

NSW government members gather at public meeting

State 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 attended a recent public meeting near the crossing. 

Philippa Scott. Photo: Facebook.

“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,” Cr Scott said.

“Community anger was crystal clear. They are tired of government inaction and failed experiments.”

The petition currently has over 1,900 signatures and demands the installation of traffic lights at the intersection of Frederick and John Streets.

Council condolences to pedestrian killed at Ashfield crossing 

Council also unanimously passed a condolence motion moved by Cr da Cruz, for council to write a letter of condolence to Nancy Yang and her family on the death of her grandfather Arthur at the intersection.

Last month, 87-year-old Arthur was struck at the Frederick and John Street intersection while using the pedestrian crossing and was treated by paramedics before dying at the scene.

The 48-year-old driver of the car has since been charged with dangerous driving occasioning death and is due to appear before Burwood Local Court next month.

Marghanita da Cruz. Photo: Greens on Council

Inner West 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.”

Cr Scott alleged that the state government “chose to ignore” the information in the report, adding that “now a resident is dead”.

“Pedestrians feel unsafe using the road and believe there has been a major increase in traffic, including many more large vehicles for WestConnex construction.”

Member of Inner West Council Environment Advisory Committee Anna Harvey, who has been a resident of the area for seven years and works in research engineering also spoke at the meeting.

“I cross Frederick Street several times a week, usually with my children, and it always feels dangerous at every intersection. The dangerous speeds need to be made safe all along Frederick Street, not just at this intersection,” Ms Harvey said.

“It’s frustrating that quick solutions have not already been implemented. These improvements should be made so that our streets are safer… Walking or riding a bike to the shops or pool should be safe.”

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