Woman shaken after close call on Firth

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Local News - REXINE HAWES

‘‘Peo­ple are so busy to­day, they are con­cen­trat­ing on where they are go­ing, but not what's hap­pen­ing around them.’’

A Mata­mata woman is ask­ing for changes to a dan­ger­ous cross­ing after she was nearly hit by a car on Firth St.

Judie Jamieson is par­tially sighted, she has tun­nel vi­sion. She walks the streets of Mata­mata with guide dog Maizie.

The Firth St cross­ing is the only pedes­trian cross­ing, bridg­ing the eastern and western sides of town.

It is only me­tres from the in­ter­sec­tion be­tween Ta­niui St, Farm­ers Rd and Firth St (SH27).

She said she had too many close calls on the cross­ing, and her most re­cent one had left her and Maizie shaken.

‘‘A ve­hi­cle had stopped for me from the col­lege side, I was cross­ing the cen­tre is­land and usu­ally I am look­ing to see if traf­fic is com­ing and if they will stop.

‘‘I was about to step off the cen­tre is­land and I looked and this ve­hi­cle was right on top of me.’’

Jamieson fell back­wards onto the cen­tre is­land, and said if she had fallen for­ward or con­tin­ued to cross, she would have been hit by the car.

‘‘That was the clos­est call I have had and I am still shook up about it.’’

This isn’t the first time Jamieson had en­coun­tered a near miss.

‘‘The other cases have been sim­i­lar, peo­ple just don’t slow down.

‘‘I have been weary, be­cause of the speed of the traf­fic. If I could find an­other way to get from one side to an­other, I would use it. But there is no other cross­ing.’’

Four schools use the cross­ing, it’s also the only cross­ing for peo­ple walk­ing to Mill St Kinder­garten, Mata­mata Play­cen­tre and two day­care cen­tres.

Jamieson’s fa­ther Len Tan­ner was now ap­peal­ing for the New Zealand Trans­port Agency to im­prove the cross­ing.

He said his daugh­ter isn’t the only one who had near misses there.

In Oc­to­ber, an 89-year-old man us­ing the cross­ing on a mo­bil­ity scooter was hit by an on­com­ing truck.

Tan­ner said the cross­ing was de­signed when Mata­mata wasn’t the tourist hub it was now.

‘‘It’s fine for the amount of traf­fic 30-40 years ago, but not mod­ern day.

‘‘The prob­lem is peo­ple are so busy to­day, they are con­cen­trat­ing on where they are go­ing, but not what’s hap­pen­ing around them.’’

He said it’s time that that trans­port agen­cies started mak­ing state high­ways through towns much safer.

He said an un­der­pass, over­pass or light con­trolled cross­ing sys­tem would be far safer.

NZTA Waikato Trans­port Sys­tem Man­ager, Karen Boyt ,said be­tween 2012 and 2017 there had been two re­ported crashes at the cross­ing where pedes­tri­ans were in­volved.

She said the agency would look at ways to make it safer.

‘‘This could in­clude bet­ter sig­nage and road mark­ings to help school chil­dren and those who are vis­ually im­paired.’’

REXINE HAWES

Judie Jamieson and her dad Len Tan­ner want the NZTA to make the Firth Street cross­ing safer.

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