Woman shaken after close call on Firth
‘‘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.’’
Judie Jamieson and her dad Len Tanner want the NZTA to make the Firth Street crossing safer.