NORTH PERTH residents are calling for a new pedestrian crossing on Fitzgerald Street.
They say a crossing is needed near Namur Street, south of the Walcott Street intersection, to help people safely access shops and Woodville Reserve.
State MP for Perth Eleni Evangel told the Guardian Express, “Residents have described near misses for themselves, children and pets and believe there is a disaster in the waiting if nothing is done to improve this unacceptable situation”.
“When traffic crosses over Walcott Street into Fitzgerald Street, being a downhill run this often means vehicles travel at high speeds so having a red light pedestrian crossing and signage that alerts traffic they are entering a pedestrian friendly zone, with the North Perth town centre approaching, is necessary,” she said.
Ms Evangel wrote to City of Vincent on May 2 to raise her concerns and said she was “very disappointed” with the response.
“I would think that the council would see pedestrian safety as a main agenda priority,” she said.
Vincent Mayor John Carey said the City had asked the State Government to help establish a pedestrian crossing in North Perth but were denied.
“We asked the State Government to fund a major pedestrian crossing in the heart of the North Perth town centre,” he said.
“We drew up a plan and put it to the State Government – they rejected it.
“One of the key themes in this year’s budget at the City of Vincent is pedestrian safety. The first priority is existing intersections that do not have pedestrian signals. We have been very aware of the issues at the North Perth town centre for a long time which is why we secured Black Spot funding for a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Fitzgerald and Angove Street.
“Many of our intersections to date still don’t have pedestrian crossing lights. We will be doing it at a number of intersections in the coming budget.
“Generally you would assume Main Roads has responsibility for it but because we can’t wait forever the local government is stepping up and making a significant contribution to road safety.”
Mr Carey said the City of Vincent was concerned about the new bus lanes coming to Fitzgerald Street because, while necessary, they could worsen traffic issues.
“We are looking at plans for North Perth to create a new pedestrian-friendly space, with slowed traffic,” he said.
Mr Carey said pedestrian safety is a concern along “all of Fitzgerald Street”.
“I would welcome Ms Evangel making a funding commitment, on behalf of the State Government, to this crossing. Currently it is the local governments stepping up,” he said.
“Given that the State Government refused our request for a crossing in the North Perth town centre, I am glad Ms Evangel has now taken an interest in the issue and I look forward to a funding commitment from her for it.”
North Perth resident Emilia Hay said the traffic on Fitzgerald Street was a problem throughout the day.
“Sometimes the traffic is really heavy even in the middle of the day,” she said.
“Obviously, in the mornings and the evenings it is worse; it is almost impossible to cross.
“The median strip is too small and it’s quite dangerous as cars come roaring past. I have seen people with prams, older people, people with dogs trying to cross and really struggling to get a break in the traffic.”
Ms Hay warned that the growing residential population in the area would exacerbate the problem.
“North Perth is a hub for people and it isn’t being treated that way because of the traffic on Fitzgerald Street; it’s all about the cars,” she said.
“There are a lot of people living here and there will be more with the new apartments coming. There will be a lot more pedestrian traffic. Something really needs to be done about it.”
North Perth local Tony Morgan said the entire portion of Fitzgerald Street north of Angove Street was bereft of safe crossing points for pedestrians.
“There is an island near those shops – a little brick island in the middle. The safety rails have been hit and damaged by cars over the years and been removed,” he said.
“The 800m of the street north of Angove has high speed traffic on it… There are very narrow footpaths on either side and very narrow verges. It is dangerous for pedestrians.”
Mr Morgan said the crossing with light signals recently installed on Railway Parade in Subiaco provided an example of what was needed on the patch of Fitzgerald Street in question.
Mr Carey said Main Roads had clear guidelines about what was required for a pedestrian crossing to be installed and would not do it unless the location in question meets the criteria.