Run­ning the gaunt­let

Cross­ing ‘ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen’

The Dominion Post - - Front Page - GED CANN

A Welling­ton fa­ther is de­mand­ing an­swers af­ter his 11-year-old son was knocked down by a car on a pedes­trian cross­ing that the city coun­cil knew to be dan­ger­ous.

The cross­ing, in the sub­urb of Kil­birnie, is not far from where a pedes­trian was fa­tally struck by a ve­hi­cle a year ago – in a part of the cap­i­tal that has come un­der fire for the safety of its streets.

Nearby schools say the area is an ‘‘ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen’’.

Jeff Weir said he rushed to the cross­ing in Ron­go­tai Rd on Mon­day to help his son, Miguel Fer­rer. His bike was man­gled and his hel­met cracked, but the boy him­self was not in­jured.

Weir said he was an­gry af­ter po­lice told him the cross­ing, which is out­side a Pak’NSave su­per­mar­ket, had been flagged as a high-risk area for some time, but Welling­ton City Coun­cil had made no ef­fort to change it.

Weir said yes­ter­day that he had called the coun­cil the day af­ter the ac­ci­dent but had still not re­ceived any re­sponse.

‘‘It seems like the coun­cil needs a fa­tal­ity be­fore any­thing is pro­gressed.’’

Welling­ton City coun­cil­lor Chris Calvi-Free­man said safety con­cerns had been raised with him about the Ron­go­tai Rd cross­ing since he joined the coun­cil in Oc­to­ber.

He had asked staff to look at it ur­gently. ‘‘It will be a mat­ter of weeks, not months. Of­fi­cers need to do a proper eval­u­a­tion to figure out what the best so­lu­tion is.’’

Calvi-Free­man, who holds the coun­cil’s trans­port strat­egy and op­er­a­tions port­fo­lio, said traf­fic on Ron­go­tai Rd was get­ting worse, with longer queues of ve­hi­cles dur­ing busy pe­ri­ods.

The dan­ger lay in the left-hand lane of­ten be­ing backed up, while the right-hand lane flowed more freely as it turned into Evans Bay Pa­rade. As a re­sult, many driv­ers on the right failed to slow for the pedes­trian cross­ing.

‘‘I have per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence of that, as I slowed right down in that ex­act cir­cum­stance and was nearly rear-ended by a tradie in a white van. I’m lucky I did slow down as some­one was cross­ing,’’ he said.

Coun­cil records show one other pedes­trian has been hit on that cross­ing in the past five years. There was also a near-miss be­tween a lo­cal school­girl and a bus in May 2016.

Neal Swindells, the rec­tor of

"It seems like the coun­cil needs a fa­tal­ity be­fore any­thing is pro­gressed." Jeff Weir, the fa­ther of crash vic­tim Miguel Fer­rer.

nearby St Pa­trick’s Col­lege, said the area needed more pedes­trian sig­nage, slower speed lim­its and a pedes­trian cross­ing on Evans Bay Pa­rade.

‘‘I’ve just come from out there right now as 800 boys leave the school and it’s not very ad­e­quate at all. We’ve told coun­cil, on and off, over three years about it.’’

Evans Bay In­ter­me­di­ate School board of trustees chair­woman Shelly Reet said the speed at which cars trav­elled down Evans Bay Pa­rade was a con­cern.

‘‘We would like the coun­cil to re­view the road safety of the school,’’ she added.

‘‘You only have to hang about out­side Evans Bay or St Pat’s at 3pm and you’ll see the body of stu­dents, the ve­hi­cles, the buses; it’s a hot spot and prob­a­bly an ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen.’’

In March 2016, mother-of-two Tahi­ran Bano, 41, died af­ter be­ing hit by a car as she tried to cross Cob­ham Drive, out­side the ASB Sports Cen­tre in Kil­birnie.

Her hus­band, Shafi Mo­hammed, later ques­tioned why the coun­cil and New Zealand Trans­port Agency had done noth­ing since the fa­tal crash to im­prove the safety of pedes­tri­ans.

The coun­cil has said it is look­ing at pos­si­ble road safety op­tions, in­clud­ing a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar over­bridge.

PHOTO: CAMERON BUR­NELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Miguel Fer­rer, 11, was hit by a car while on a pedes­trian cross­ing in Ronog­tai Rd – inset – on Mon­day. The crash ru­ined his bike tyre.

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