Road is a grave danger

2015-10-27 06:00
This part of Royal Road close to the school is used a lot by trucks and residents are calling for something to be done immediately due to vehicles that speed.  PHOTO:  TIYESE JERANJI

This part of Royal Road close to the school is used a lot by trucks and residents are calling for something to be done immediately due to vehicles that speed. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Maitland residents in Royal Road are calling for something to be done urgentky about speeding vehicles in that road before more lives are lost.

This call comes after a five-year-old boy was knocked down by a speeding car and died on the scene on Sunday. It is alleged that the child was coming from the park across the road where he was playing with other kids. He was accompanied by someone who didn’t notice that he was left behind on their way home. A speeding car knocked him down, dragged him for a few metres before stopping.

Residents say the road is very dangerous and they have been calling for traffic calming measures. They are in constant fear that a lot more lives will be lost if nothing is done.

There are claims that last year alone more than seven people were killed by speeding cars. The busy road has two primary schools, a high school, a park and a sports field and that has a lot of people worried because as a lot of kids use the road. Despite this drivers are negligent and speed all the time. Residents are worried that a lot of lives will be lost if those in authority do not prioritize the safety on this road.

A concerned resident, Helen Major, says they can’t take it anymore. They want traffic calming measures now. “A lot of people have lost their lives on this road and it seems those in authority don’t care. People are dying, when are they going to put speed bumps or stop signs or raised intersections on this road so that the cars don’t speed? It’s so disgusting how motorists use the road, they don’t care about pedestrians. We want something to be done as soon as possible,” she says.

Another resident, Cynthia Chivambo, says they keep saying something will be done, but they haven’t seen anything. “We are told they are going to install speed humps. It’s such a pain when we have to see such a thing happening to our children. We will now have to do it our own way as the residents because those in authority are turning a deaf ear to us. These are our children and these are our streets so we are calling on those in authority to act. The guardians of this child are devastated.”

“They are not working on how do you begin to deal with this. This could have been avoided if those in authority listened to us when we first suggested that something must be done. Look what has happened now. We are the people that stay close to the road, we see what happens every day, it’s not safe,” she says.

Constable Lorencial Johnson, spokesperson for the Maitland police station, confirms the accident. A case of culpable homicide is being investigated and no arrests have been made yet. The name of the child is being withheld as the parents haven’t been informed.

Apart from the speeding cars, residents are also worried about big trucks that use the road to enter residential areas. Not only are they a great danger to the residents, they also damage the road and houses close to the road. “Trucks also speed here and they make it very difficult for us to enjoy the peace and quiet in our homes. When they drive down the road, you can feel the vibration in our houses and some houses have cracked because of it. We don’t want trucks using this road, it’s too dangerous,” says Major.
Graham Daniels from the Maitland Community Policing Forum says traffic calming measures are in the process of being implemented. “We definitely need measures because the problem is huge and something is in the process of being done. The speeding cars and the trucks are a major concern. It’s a safety hazard and the noise from the trucks are very disturbing. Imagine around 22:00 and 23:00 trucks are still on the road. The noise is unbearable and houses vibrate badly. We don’t want these trucks to enter residential areas,” he says.

Ward councillor Lisa McBride says the road is of great concern and it’s her priority to solve the problem. “We are on track; everything is going well to implement the traffic calming measures on that road. We have done all that had to be done and we are putting a few things in place,” she says.

The following traffic calming measures have been approved for the 2015/16 financial year:
1) Pedestrian crossing lines across Royal Road at its intersection with Station Road.
2) One raised pedestrian crossing in front of the Maitland High School (Grade 8-9).
3) Four speed humps within the play park vicinity.
4) Four speed humps between Campden Street and Second Avenue.
5) Pedestrian crossing lines across Bodmin Street, for the pedestrian bridge.
However McBride will have to prioritise traffic calming measures as the budget allocated will not be sufficient to implement these measures at Maitland High School and Campden Street.

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