By Mick Roberts
Changing pedestrian flows by relocating a crossing near the Evening Star Hotel at Surry Hills would pre-empt a traffic study already underway, according to City of Sydney Council.
Council has responded to calls by local businesses and residents who want a crossing for Randle Street as a short term solution to a dangerous intersection. Ultimately though, the answer to pedestrian safety in and around the corner pub is moving traffic lights to the Randle Street intersection with Elizabeth Street, says the Surry Hills Business Alliance.
City of Sydney Council will reveal plans to upgrade traffic and pedestrian movement around Surry Hills later this month and say any changes to crossings would be premature.
A spokesman said Council has undertaken a detailed investigation of the intersection of Elizabeth Street with Randle and Cooper Streets to find suitable improvements to pedestrian safety in the area.
The investigation is part of the City of Sydney’s Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) Plan for the Surry Hills area. The draft LATM Plan, including recommendations to improve pedestrian safety near the popular pub, will be released for comment later this month.
Surry Hills Business Alliance spokesman, Brian Adams said traders are disturbed by Council’s refusal for a short term answer to pedestrian safety by placing a zebra crossing at the Elizabeth and Randle Streets corner.
He said office workers, local residents, school children and shoppers risked their lives everyday when crossing the busy intersection.
‘It’s hazardous to cross,’ Mr Adams said. ‘Taxis are a big problem; they ignore pedestrians while turning into Randle Street to go to their ranks at Central Station’ Sydney Buses, driving too fast, use Randle Street to pick up passengers when trains don’t run due to track work, particularly on weekends.’
Mr Adams said pedestrians cross to the other side and many rag trade retailers are losing business from passing foot traffic as a result.
About six months ago Council narrowed the corner after complaints over safety, however, the Alliance says more is needed.
He also said businesses want the pedestrian traffic lights in front of the Evening Star Hotel moved northward to the Randle Street intersection.
In the short term Mr Adams is calling on Council ‘to spend a paltry amount from their millions on a small amount of paint to give pedestrians safe crossing’.
‘There is no legal requirement for drivers to stop as this intersection; it’s not a designated pedestrian crossing point,’ Mr Adams said.
As part of developing the draft LATM, the City Council held a community forum on in November 2007 and letterboxed the community.
‘This forum and letterbox drop provided opportunity for the community to raise any issues or concerns they wanted the City to consider,’ a Council spokesperson said.
‘Improving pedestrian safety at this location was one of the issues raised at the forum.’
A pedestrian crossing on Randle Street would need to be considered by the Sydney Traffic Committee which includes representatives from Council, RTA, Police and other stakeholders.