Courier Mail - Monday 13 November, 2006

Nightmare alley

By Kate Patterson

Nightmare alley

By Kate Patterson





IS THIS Brisbane's most dangerous intersection?

Just four days after a man was hit by a bus and killed at the site, The Sunday Mail witnessed pedestrians and motorists repeatedly breaking the law where Melbourne St and Grey St cross in South Brisbane.

In the space of an hour, six buses were seen running red lights. Motorists were also spotted swerving to avoid pedestrians who crossed against the signal.

A hand-written note stuck to a power pole warns pedestrians of the dangers at the intersection, which has five lanes of traffic including a two-lane busway in Melbourne St, crossed by three lanes in Grey St.

It reads: "Don't do it dude don't even think about trying to scurry across!!!"

On Tuesday, respected Brisbane artist Jeremy Hynes died after being hit by a bus just after 8am.

Floral tributes mark the site and a service was held for him on Friday night at the Institute of Modern Art.

Friends said the 34-year-old was standing on the median strip, on his way to work at the Queensland Art Gallery, when the accident happened.

Mr Hynes's friend, film-maker David Granato, said he knew of two other people who came close to a similar fate at the intersection.

"It's a time bomb, it's confusing and there's potential there for more people to be killed," he said.

Mr Hynes is the second person to die at the intersection this year.

On January 6, a South Brisbane man, 45, was crushed under the back wheels of a Brisbane City Council bus while cycling past the Queensland Museum. Several more pedestrians have been injured.

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby joined Mr Hynes's friends in calling for immediate action.

"It will demand an engineering solution and that will be either an overpass, an underpass or red light speed cameras," he said.

"Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users and we are the largest road-user group, but when it comes to safety we are always put at the bottom of the food chain."

Mr Scruby urged authorities to act quickly, and to lower the speed limit in the CBD to 30-40km/h.

"Every time we get to an intersection we've got to wait 90 seconds to get across the road and that's why so many pedestrians take risks, they just don't have the time to wait," he said.

Rail Tram and Bus Union assistant secretary David Matters said drivers wanted the intersection changed.

"One of the problems is people don't see the buses coming it really needs to have an overpass for pedestrians," he said.

Brisbane City Councillor Graham Quirk, chairman for roads and traffic, said a safety audit was being carried out, but it was most likely any change "would be minimal".

"I'm not going to go so far as to say it is an unsafe intersection; it is a more complex section of roadway than exists in other localities.

"There's an old saying that goes, 'You can't legislate against human nature', and I would just plead to people to be very careful at signalled intersections.

"We have 'Walk' and 'Don't walk' signs there for a reason." 

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