Shortcut to strife

2017-07-11 06:01
A passage next to the railway line at Wilderness Road in Kenilworth has been closed by a local property owner because it is reportedly a dangerous shortcut to the train station. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

A passage next to the railway line at Wilderness Road in Kenilworth has been closed by a local property owner because it is reportedly a dangerous shortcut to the train station. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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An unsecured path next to the Kenilworth railway lane is causing conflict between a property owner, pedestrians and residents.

This follows the closing of the passage way in Wilderness Road. It was reportedly closed a few months ago, forcing pedestrians working at nearby businesses and the hospital to walk a longer distance than they used to to catch a train. Residents say the passage has been there for years and is a convenient shortcut for them. It used to be open from 05:00 to 22:00. Residents say it was unfair to close the passage way without proper ­consultation.

Cebisa Poponi, a security guard at a local hospital, uses a train every day. She used to walk for about three minutes to catch a train but now she is delayed by 10 minutes as she has to walk around. “We really need the passage to be opened. We feel more at risk when we walk this long distance all the way to the main road and down again. Robberies do happen even on that route, so it is not a solution to say they are protecting us.”

She suggests Prasa should be made responsible for securing the route, especially in the early hours of the day and late ­afternoon.

A businessman of Wilderness Road, Steven Philips, admits that two of his staff members have been mugged in the passage during the afternoon on different occasions. But, he says, that should not be a reason to close the passage, because crime also happens on the main road.

He says: “They should bring Prasa on board to provide a security system and properly fence the place.”

Resident Guy Harris says the passage is a public space and the property owners are denying the public their right to use it by closing it. He says residents should have been included in the decision as alternative solutions could have been discussed.

An employee of the Quadrant, the property that is owned by Gary Moore, confirms that Moore decided to close the passage after discussing it with other property owners in the area. He says it was done for the safety of pedestrians.

The employee says they have evidence captured on CCTV of criminals hiding in the lane while waiting for a target to walk by.

Moore adds: “The lane was closed under my instruction as the representative of the owners of Library Square and as chairperson of the Quadrant body corporate. We have over the past 10 years been frustrated by a complete lack of regard by Prasa for the safety of pedestrians using this lane, the disgraceful state of cleanliness as well as the completely inappropriate and damaged fencing which allowed free access to the multitude of criminals who use the railway reserve as their conduit to Wilderness and Harfield roads.”

People’s Post was unable to reach Prasa for comment.

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