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Roads a prickly issue

Monday, 15th July, 2013

By Erica Visser

Broken Hill’s cracks in footpaths, speedy traffic lights and three-cornered jacks were all noted as dangerous with a new specialist report.  

The $38,000 Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan (PAMP) has been completed by a specialist and will be put on display for public comment.

City Council and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) split the bill to pay for the specialist - Accessible Public Domain’s John Evernden - who walked the city’s streets for a month before writing the report.

Council insisted that the work could not be done internally as the infrastructure sector did not have the specialised skills necessary.

Council will develop a five to ten year plan using the report, which prioritised necessary works.

One of the “high-need” issues noted within the report was the existence of three cornered jacks on pathways and at the Patton Park dog off-leash area.

Another was the gravel which covered some footpaths, causing a trip hazard.

A lack of kerb ramps and insufficient kerb ramps was also noted as a problem.

Mr Everdeen was also concerned about the existence of cracks in footpaths and hazards they pose for “people who use wheelchairs or mobility aids such as crutches, walking sticks or long canes”.

Another issue which was picked up was the lack of street signage which, Mr Everdeen said, was mentioned often during community consultations.

The traffic lights at the corner of Bromide and Argent Streets were highlighted for allowing the pedestrian just six seconds to cross the road.

“Some aged pedestrians and some people with disabilities do no react immediately when the green walk light is shown and they take one or two seconds to leave the kerb,” the report read.

“When the ‘don’t walk’ light flashes some people tend to hurry, raising the potential for a fall, an increase in heart-rate or anxiety.

“The wide roads of Broken Hill mean that some pedestrians might only traverse a quarter of the road before the walk phase ends, which sometimes leads to a physical or verbal confrontation with impatient drivers.”

Mr Everdeen also said that many of the city’s bus stops did not comply with standards and were not accessible to some members of the public.

He noted that many tourism attractions, like the Big Picture, at the Broken Hill Mint, did not have access for disabled or elderly people.

Mr Everdeen also expressed major concerns about the Line of Lode, where the road is particularly dangerous.

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