Inner West Courier and The Village Voice - Tuesday 13 March, 2007

Task force targets traffic

By Scott Warren
Task force targets traffic

David Horne, Mia Kumar, John Micallef,
Harold Scruby, Nick Adams and
Danielle Cronin. Photo: Nora Devai

Pedestrian safety campaigner Harold Scruby has turned his attention to the Inner West, helping to launch a task force aimed at ensuring the safety of school students.

The task force, which is the brainchild of Ashfield councillor Nick Adams, will be jointly run by Ashfield and Burwood councils.

It will include police, teachers, parents, councillors from Burwood and Ashfield and interested community representatives, and will meet regularly at problem areas for pedestrians to work out solutions to traffic problems.

A particular focus for the group will be the Elizabeth Street at Ashfield and Croydon. The road borders 11 schools, with a total enrolment exceeding 5000.

Mr Scruby, the chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, attended the launch of the task force outside Ashfield Aquatic Centre last week, the site of a recent incident that hospitalised a 12-year-old girl, and immediately identified four major safety hazards near the crossing.

"The Australian Road Rules standards of no stopping within 20 metres of a crossing on approach and 10 metres on departure isn't being enforced," he said."That causes major sight issues.

"There's also insufficient distances for parking at a couple of the intersections nearby, and the metal fence in front of the pool which, while stopping people from running out of the centre and onto the road, is a visual barrier from certain angles."

Mr Scruby said many councils had ignored the laws in an effort to squeeze in more on-street parking, and said a local council would be.

Ashfield police traffic commander Sergeant John Micallef said the Elizabeth Street crossing needed changes.

"If you look at how it has been engineered, you can see it needs changes," he said. "We must try to reduce danger to children, especially in an area like this [with so many schools nearby]."

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