UNABLE to get to the pedestrian crossing at the top of the hill, residents of Narrabundah’s Jindalee Aged Care Residence are risking their lives every day to get across the road to the bus stop, says resident Ian Trewhella.
The 74-year-old has been urgently calling for another pedestrian crossing on Goyder Street for years and finally, in December, got approval for one but fears they won’t see it any time soon.
“Roads ACT are holding out on a start date [for the crossing] because they want to do a traffic survey,” he says.
City Services Minister Chris Steel told “CityNews” the vehicle and pedestrian surveys will be undertaken by Roads ACT in the next month to help determine the most suitable location.
Until then, he says they are unable to commit to exact construction dates.
“However, Roads ACT do anticipate construction to be undertaken by mid-2020,” Mr Steel says.
Despite the minister’s response, Ian still believes that the issue isn’t being taken seriously.
“People could be dead by then,” he says.
“Don’t they recognise that they’re not really complying with real needs?
“To ‘maybe’ put something in, in the middle of the year is not serious enough.”
Ian says the most disappointing thing is that he first raised the issue in 2018.
“To now say that we recognise the issue and we might have it done isn’t good enough,” he says.
“I think they’re not telling the truth.”
Ian says his frustration comes after a string of incidents, which have seen residents fall over and hurt themselves crossing the road (Ian included), with some even ending up in hospital.
“One person fell over crossing the road and had to be picked up by a motorist,” he says.
“Another resident fell up the hill [trying to get to the crossing] and put himself in hospital.
“These people are in their 80s or 90s and are still trying to access the community but they’re constrained by a lack of a crossing.”
When Mr Steel was asked if he was worried about anyone else getting hurt in the meantime, he pointed to the existing crossing along Goyder Street, saying it can be utilised by residents, but Ian says it’s just too dangerous.
“He doesn’t understand that these people are not teens or youngsters, these people are struggling,” he says.
“They run the risk of crossing the road [away from the crossing] to access the community because they can not climb the hill.
“It’s only a matter of time before someone is really going to suffer.”
Even though there is a crossing at the top of the hill, Ian says the steepness of the hill and the terrain isn’t good for people who are aged and unsteady on their feet.
The bus stop can only be accessed by residents if they walk to the left, away from the bus stop, and up the hill to the crossing. Then, once they’ve crossed they have to walk back down the hill to the bus stop.
“I don’t see why we can’t have [a new crossing] sooner rather than later,” Ian says.
“I run the gauntlet when I catch the bus. Most people do here. No one ever drives the speed limit [on Goyder Street]. I’m often amazed at the speed people drive down that hill. Sometimes people, I would suspect, are going 80km/h or above.”
It’s quite dangerous, says Ian, who fell from his mobility scooter on to the road about eight months ago.
“When you’re laying on the middle of the road, unable to get up, you’re just waiting for the ‘bang’,” he says.
“One man fell over on the road and literally stopped traffic in both directions.
“It was lucky that a couple of the men in the vehicles stopped to direct traffic and help him.”
Ian says it’s not satisfactory to say they need to do a traffic survey first.
“It’s a cop out. I’ll bring the residents together to form a working group and we’ll put the thing in ourselves if we have to,” he says.
The residents of Jindalee have invited the minister to come and have tea to talk about the crossing. He has not responded.