Time to boost Ho­bart walks

GREEN LIGHT: Fair go for pedes­tri­ans

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - JIM ALOUAT Ur­ban Af­fairs Re­porter

DO Ho­bart’s traf­fic lights give pedes­tri­ans enough time to cross the street com­fort­ably?

Ho­bart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds doesn’t think so and she will ad­vo­cate to in­crease the length of some pedes­trian traf­fic lights so peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly the el­derly and chil­dren, have more time to cross city roads.

It is among a range of ideas Ald Reynolds is in­ter­ested in to cre­ate a more ac­tive, walk­a­ble Ho­bart.

She also high­lights a push for in­cen­tives for ride shar­ing in ve­hi­cles at times of peak traf­fic and a plan to es­tab­lish a travel de­mand man­age­ment agency to help with this goal.

Older Ho­bar­tians and peo­ple liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity have ma­jor con­cerns with the du­ra­tion of the lit­tle green man at Ho­bart’s pedes­trian traf­fic lights, says the Lord Mayor.

“Most com­plaints that I re­ceive are about the lights on Davey and Mac­quarie streets,” Ald Reynolds said. “Some of th­ese in­ter­sec­tions have five sec­onds of green be­fore the lights start flash­ing red.

“We need to seek the ad­vice of pedes­trian ad­vo­cates about what is best prac­tice na­tion­ally for cre­at­ing a more walk­ingfriendly city.”

Yes­ter­day, the Mer­cury went to the Davey and Mur­ray St in­ter­sec­tion to mon­i­tor the traf­fic lights.

The west­ern traf­fic lights across Davey St stay green for pedes­tri­ans for about five sec­onds; the Mur­ray St lights stay green for about 25 sec­onds while the eastern lights across Davey St stayed green for about eight sec­onds.

Many pedes­tri­ans cross­ing the five-sec­ond lights had barely stepped onto the road be­fore cars turn­ing right onto Davey St were upon them, some beep­ing their horns in an at­tempt to hurry them along.

Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia se­nior lec­turer of ge­og­ra­phy and spa­tial sci­ence Emma Pharo said a study she con­ducted ear­lier this year on the tim­ing of pedes­trian traf­fic lights in Ho­bart found peo­ple were forced to wait too long, which then led to risk-tak­ing be­hav­iour from pedes­tri­ans.

“Some­body who is a lot slower is not be­ing given enough time to cross the road,” Dr Pharo said.

“I’m par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the in­ter­sec­tion at Evans St, where the in­ter­city cy­cle­way ends and you need to cross Evans St to get to the water­front.

“We need to have a re­ally good look at the tim­ing of pedes­trian lights through­out the Ho­bart CBD.”

Last month, the State Gov­ern­ment tabled new laws un­der the Roads and Jet­ties Amend­ment Bill to for­mally take own­er­ship of Mac­quarie and Davey streets.

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