Sunday Mail (QLD) – Sunday 12 December 2004

Look out, now it's footpath rage!

By Jessica Lawrence

ANGRY pedestrians are resorting to “footpath rage” as they struggle to cross inner-Brisbane streets.

Experts say pedestrians are suffering because of Queensland's population growth and the rise in inner-city traffic.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia is calling for 40km/h zones in the city to “save life and limb”.

Queensland University of Technology School of Design expert Danny O'Hare has warned of a possible increase in footpath rage because pedestrians are “not being given a fair go”.

He said Brisbane's pedestrian problems were on par with Sydney's.

“I've seen footpath rage occurring because pedestrians can't get across the road,” Dr O'Hare said.

“Cars don't wait for them to cross and so you get motorists and pedestrians exchanging words and in some cases pedestrians will even thump on the cars.

“At some intersections, pedestrians don't even get across before the lights change . . . and they have to wait in the middle section.

“You see people putting themselves in danger and they do that because they find crossing the road a struggle.

“While 12 years ago people in Brisbane would wait for the lights to change, in the past four or five (years) they don't . . . things need not be as bad as they are.”

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby called for the introduction of 40km/h zones in the inner-city to match those in some areas of Sydney.

“It's outrageous Brisbane still has 60km zones,” Mr Scruby said.

“Our cities are still being designed around cars.

“Footpath rage . . . is the result of reasonable pedestrian frustration born out of bad urban planning.

“We need to slow down the phase times of lights so they are favourable to pedestrians, not cars.

“You can still get from one end of the city in the same amount of time if the speed limit is 40km and you have proper planning.”

Dr O'Hare said the recent closure of footpaths in some areas of the city had only increased pedestrian problems.

He said pedestrians' patience was further tested by high-glare footpaths and lack of shelter.


Caption:  BATTLE: Pedestrians in crowded Brisbane streets have to negotiate their way between traffic to cross the road.

DANGEROUS: Experts warn pedestrians are at risk on our city roads