NSW Shadow Treasurer Mike Baird
Community Opposition To RTA Fence Should Be A Lesson For Government
Victor P Taffa
Despite community calls for safety alternatives to be pursued, the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has announced it will start building a pedestrian fence in Seaforth on Wednesday, Manly MP Mike Baird said.
“The community’s resounding opposition to the way this issue has been handled should be a lesson to the NSW Government to do things properly, instead of foisting changes on a community.” Mr. Baird said.
“While no one wants to see pedestrians injured, many remain unconvinced the fence is the only safety option.”
“There is no doubt the RTA has botched this from the start, with residents and businesses only consulted after the decision had been made.”
“Despite receiving a petition of more than 1,000 signatures, it is disappointing the Transport Minister has been silent on the issue.” Mr. Baird said.
“At a minimum the Seaforth community deserves an explanation of the evidence that the fence is required and an assurance that all other safety measures have been investigated and there is nothing else that will work.”
“Safety is paramount and we rely on the experts to provide it, however the community should not be sidelined in the process.”
Mr. Baird said he would join local residents, shop owners and the Seaforth Precinct to work to minimise the impact of the fence on the Seaforth village.
“We will monitor ongoing impacts to local businesses and residents and we will push for a further consideration of ongoing safety options.”
“Some residents have expressed concern to me that the fence may even increase injuries, where pedestrians will now be funneled – hopefully this will not be the case.” Mr. Baird said.
“The RTA has advised it will amend the No U-turn sign on Sydney Road in Seaforth so motorists will be per mitted to do a U-turn outside of peak hours by the end of the month.”
“While the community did not achieve the desired outcome in relation to the fence, the RTA’s relaxation of the U-turn ban is a small victory for people power.” Mr. Baird said.
At face value either the NSW Minister for Roads and Transport David Campbell is out of his depth on the issue of pedestrian fences or the RTA is keeping the Minister in the dark.
On Victoria Road Drummoyne the pedestrian fence has been removed on a six lane road. The removal of this fence allows for State Transit buses to gain an extra 30 seconds travel time when the Iron Cove duplication is completed.
New fences have been erected on roads that are six lanes wide and divided by a wide concrete median strip. Examples of this are on Concord Road Rhodes, Centenary Drive Homebush and King Georges Road Beverly Hills to name a few.
Further to this administrative chaos is the apparent lack of will or desire to introduce a State-wide plan to install chain fences on all State Highways so as to reduce the mounting road toll. The standard response from the Government is that the installation of these fences “Requires road widening and is an engineering issue.”
The questions that must be asked of this 15 year old Government are:
What value does the Government place on the lives of its citizens?
Are Ministerial desks worth more than the lives of the State’s motorists?