“Fix it be­fore some­one dies”

Monthly Chronicle - - Front Page - Jenny Bar­lass

A po­ten­tially fa­tal car accident in which a child was al­most run over has prompted de­mands that Hornsby Coun­cil fix a death-trap street in the town cen­tre.

Vivienne Hep­worth was driv­ing her grand­child through Florence Street in April when a tod­dler bolted out of her pushchair and ran straight at the car’s wheels.

For­tu­nately the car was only crawl­ing along. But hor­ri­fied school kids who saw the in­ci­dent un­fold screamed in hor­ror, and it left Vivienne shaken and ex­tremely up­set.

Af­ter check­ing the child was un­hurt, she rang the Coun­cil and de­manded they fix the con­fused mess of both Florence Street and Hunter Lane feed­ing onto it. Af­ter bridge works were com­pleted in Jan­uary, Coun­cil also pedes­tri­anised Florence Street.

Both form a ‘shared zone’ where cars, de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles, garbage trucks, busi­nesses, first re­spon­ders and pedes­tri­ans all share the same streets - also used by lit­er­ally thou­sands of school kids and shop­pers every day.

“Be­fore the bridge was im­proved, it was an or­di­nary road sur­face with no bol­lards and was clearly a road for cars,” said Vivienne. “Now it’s very un­clear, and the ma­jor­ity of pedes­tri­ans are obliv­i­ous to the fact that it’s a shared zone.” She has taken on the Coun­cil along with her son Matt Tulk who lives in a high rise back­ing onto the Lane with over 300 res­i­dents.

The only clues ve­hi­cles may also use these two streets are sev­eral signs on the road and up high on the side of a build­ing. “But most pedes­tri­ans are look­ing at their phones or the shops rather than read­ing signs, cre­at­ing the po­ten­tial for fa­tal ac­ci­dents,” said Matt Tulk.

In its changes to these streets Coun­cil has, said Matt Tulk, also failed to ad­here to Road and Mar­itime Ser­vices’ three reg­u­la­tions as­so­ci­ated with shared zones in­clud­ing a dif­fer­ent road sur­face to the pave­ment around it.

“It doesn’t look like a street as it has the same sur­face as the rest of the mall,” says Matt.

Ten­sions in the area have es­ca­lated to the point now where Dr Sacks who prac­tises lo­cally, has had his car kicked by pedes­tri­ans. Oth­ers have screamed at mo­torists and there are con­stant skir­mishes.

Matt has three so­lu­tions he has put to the Coun­cil, in­clud­ing widen­ing Hunter Lane at the Bur­dett Street end where the li­brary car park is lo­cated, to al­low two way traf­fic, and block­ing it off at the top.

De­spite three meet­ings with the Coun­cil, he says the prob­lem has not been re­me­di­ated.

The fa­ther of a nine year-old Berowra girl who got her legs trapped in adult ex­er­cise de­vice last month is call­ing for Ku-ring-gai to fix the equip­ment be­fore it in­jures some­one again.

Marnie Cut­tell was play­ing on the sit-up ma­chine in Tur­ra­murra’s Karuah Park while her dad Ash­ley was soc­cer coach­ing her brother’s team nearby, when by­s­tanders heard her screams.

“The sec­tion in the mid­dle was ta­pered and be­cause of the an­gle of the plat­form her legs slid down and trapped her mid thigh on both sides - she was in a lot of pain,” said Ash­ley Cut­tell from Berowra.

The fright­ened lit­tle girl was trapped for 30 min­utes, her dad sup­port­ing her weight to re­duce the pain, un­til fire­men cut the mid­dle sec­tion of the equip­ment with an elec­tric saw, which mer­ci­fully took just sec­onds. She was left with se­vere bruis­ing on her legs.

“There was no sig­nage or fencing telling me it’s not play equip­ment so nat­u­rally kids play on it. “Of course we can’t re­move dan­ger from every as­pect of our lives but I hon­estly don’t think a risk as­sess­ment was done on this. Kids’ play equip­ment is sec­tioned off - so why isn’t adults’ ex­er­cise de­vices too?

“What hap­pened to Marnie could not have hap­pened to an adult - what if we hadn’t been there?”

Ku-ring-gai Coun­cil has said it is re­plac­ing

the sit-up de­vice as part of a pro­gram of equip­ment up­grades. “The Coun­cil reg­u­larly in­spects, main­tains and re­pairs equip­ment for use in pub­lic ar­eas. This par­tic­u­lar equip­ment was in­stalled in 2011 and meets Aus­tralian Stan­dards.

“The item is due to be re­moved and re­placed in the very near fu­ture as part of the reg­u­lar pro­gram of re­place­ment and re­newal. Other fit­ness equip­ment in Karuah Park is also be­ing re­moved and re­placed.

“In the mean­time Coun­cil staff have iso­lated (sec­tioned off) the piece of equip­ment that was in­volved in the in­ci­dent. We are re­view­ing sig­nage to en­sure the pub­lic are aware that this fit­ness equip­ment is in­tended for use by adults.”

Matt Tulk and his mum Vivienne Hep­worth in the shared zone of Hunter Lane

Marnie Cut­tell (cen­tre) with her dad Ash­ley and the first re­spon­ders who freed her.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.