Article posted on Thursday 25 February 2010
Parents of students at Orana School in Weston are concerned about the safety of their children due to an expected increase in traffic in Unwin Place.
The school has made representation to the ACT Government in the past about traffic movement at the intersection of Streeton Drive and Dixon Drive.
Since one of the access points to the new housing development at North Weston is located in Unwin Place, there are fears that things are going to get worse unless changes are made.
"The intersection is a fatality waiting to happen, and we are opposed to anything that will aggravate the situation further," parent Judy Krassay said.
"It is lucky that there haven't been any fatalities yet.
"The two intersections are really badly designed; it is just awful, especially if your are trying to turn right out of Unwin Place.
"I don't think the government realises how bad the traffic here is; they should come and watch the traffic from about 8.15am on any school morning to see what it is like."
Ms Krasay conducted her own traffic count at the intersection in September last year and her figures were dramatically different - by up to 185 vehicle movements in one hour - from those of SMEC Australia, who prepared a traffic report for the ACT Government for the relocation of the Islamic School to the nearby Weston CIT campus.
Orana's School resources administrator Marie-Anne Gigon said there were regular problems at the intersection, including three accidents there in the previous week.
"It is hard to focus on all the different levels of traffic," she said
"Something should have been done years ago, and there is no guarantee anything will happen this year.
"Our priority is looking after the children; we have 630 students in Orana, and a lot of those walk or ride their bikes to school.
"There is currently no safe crossing in Unwin Place for the children to get to school and now we are going to have extra traffic, including trucks, traveling between our two campuses."
Ms Krassay said any solution should have pedestrians and bicycle friendly features, such as an underpass or traffic lights, so that children could have a safe trip to school.
The ACT Government's plan to alleviate the traffic problems is to align Dixon Drive with Unwin Place and turn the intersection into a roundabout.
It claims that this would accommodate the projected traffic in the area until 2031.
Deputy chairman of Weston Creek Community Council, Tom Anderson, said the council was seeking an undertaking from the ACT Government that funds for the realignment of Dixon Drive would be provided in the 2010-11 budget and that construction would take place in the financial year.
Speaking to Te Chronicle, Director of Roads ACT, Tony Gill, said his department had a number of traffic easing projects in line for funding in the area in the next financial year.
As well as the realignment and roundabout at Dixon Drive and Unwin Place, the existing roundabout at Kirkpatrick Street and Cotter Road will be upgraded to traffic lights, and additional turning lanes at the intersection of Streeton Drive and Cotter Road.
"There will be a second access point to the North Weston development on Kirkpatrick Road, so the traffic to the development will be shared between it and Unwin Place," he said
"If the bids for the three upgrades are successful, they will be constructed in the 2010-11 financial year. These are significant intersection projects.
by Peter Reynolds
The Southside Chronicle
23 February 2010
I was wondering how a roundabout on Streeton Dr at the intersection with a realigned Dixon Dr & Unwin Pl would be safer than the current arrangement for children walking or cycling to school across there. In the morning, there’s a near constant flow of traffic north towards Cotter Rd and in the late afternoon in the other direction. It semes to me that traffic lights would be inherently safer for the kids, and would also allow better continuation of the offroad bike paths on both sides of the road.
The footpath alongside streeton drive is part of a trunk cycle route from tuggeranong to belconnen/civic although this short stretch of the trunk cycle route from mulley st to cotter rd to has yet to be upgraded to bitumen. Nevertheless, it is a busy route and the intersection mentioned is a hazard and delay for commuter cyclists also.
A roundabout would make the situation even worse for cyclists as there would be even less opportunity to cross dixon drive during peak hour with a constantly moving traffic flow.
An underpass would be the solution for cyclists and pedestrians, including the schoolchildren who use this route. Traffic lights, though not ideal, would be better than a roundabout for cyclists and pedestrians, and could be sychronised with the lights at the cotter rd intersection.
My child goes to Orana and Iâ€™m VERY surprised that there hasn’t been a fatality at the corner of Dixon/Streeton drives and Unwin pl. there have been so many near accidents that Iâ€™ve witnessed. I cringe at the thought of some poor child being hit by a car whilst trying to cross that road to get to school. let me tell you - if it’s mine, Iâ€™ll certainly be suing the government as they have definitely been made aware of the risk for several years now and have failed to act on it.
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