Kennedy Drive crossing feared by local residents

KENNEDY Drive residents are fed up with watching pedestrians almost being hit by cars at the notorious crossing where a man was killed last Friday.

They say the dangerous Tweed Heads West crossing, which faces heavy traffic throughout the day, has been an issue for years.

Raymond Porteous, 73, died after being hit by a car while using the pedestrian crossing near the Limosa Road intersection.

It is alleged that a bus had stopped to allow Mr Porteous to cross the road when a green BMW drove past the bus on the inside lane and struck him.

It is a situation that occurs on a regular basis, according to Ian Lambert, lessee of the nearby Kennedy Drive Motel.

Mr Lambert said he constantly sees cars "flying up" the gutter lane, particularly between 7.30am and 8.30am when people are trying to get to work or into town.

"When a car stops at the crossing, there is always somebody saying "I've got to get out and around them," he said.

"They don't seem to acknowledge that there's a pedestrian." Mr Lambert, who has been with the motel for the past two-and-a-half years, said since his son was narrowly missed by a car at the notori- ous crossing. He no longer lets him cross there after getting off the school bus.

"Three of them got off the bus and walked up to the crossing. A couple of cars had stopped and another car flew up the inside lane and had no idea they were crossing," he said.

"It's speed and impatient drivers that are the problem." Local residents Les Neilson, Vlad Vrhovac and Paddy Mac all agree that motorists regularly fail to stop at the crossing.

"The speedsters will come through on the inside lane," said Mr Neilson, who has lived in the area for 13 years. "Ninety per cent of traffic uses the outside lane, which encourages the speedsters to use the inside lane."

"If you slow down, someone will be in a rush to get past you," Mr Mac said. "I particularly worry about the elderly (pedestrians) and the speed at which they move."

Mr Vrhovac said he uses the crossing twice a week, but only because he has to.

"I've been here for nine years and I've seen many near accidents," he said. "A couple of months ago a little boy was nearly killed. "I think if they put traffic lights in here it will be better."

A Tweed Shire council spokeswoman said council had accepted a $200,000 grant from the RTA for traffic lights to be installed at the Kennedy Drive site, and construction was set to begin in late June.

She said both the RTA and council recognised the dangers of zebra crossings on multi-lane roads, which pose a risk to pedestrians due to black spots.

"Council urges residents to take care at multi-lane crossings, particularly zebra crossings," she said. Mr Mac said he was at a residents" meeting back in 2000, and the issue was discussed then.

"All this was talked about back in 2000. It has been well-known for a long time," he said.

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