Conflict over Weston school road
By FELICITY WATSON
PARENTS and teachers of the Orana school in north Weston fear it is only a matter of time before someone is killed at what they see as one of Canberra’s traffic black spots.
They have been petitioning for more than ten years for something to be done about the situation at the intersection of Streeton Drive and Unwin Place, but say so far the Government has done nothing.
Although this is by no means a new issue for users of the road, the Orana community is concerned plans for north Weston to grow two new suburbs and The Islamic School of Canberra’s move into the CIT site in Weston later this year will lead to increased pressure on the intersection.
They believe these developments will lead to a sudden increase in traffic during construction, and a steady increase over the years, adding to the potential risks for pedestrians.
The ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services however does not rate the site as high priority, and its own data shows that even with the developments and the Islamic School of Canberra, there will be no adverse effect on the traffic flow.
There is a great deal of conflicting information about how dangerous the intersection is. While the school claims that there have been several serious accidents recently, other reports contradict this.
Department spokesperson Wilfred Ihegie says that while they are aware of the school’s concern, the Government will only act on its own data. He explained that this data was not causing any alarm.
“There are plans to give access to the sites via Cotter Road, which will take some of the burden off Streeton, but as far as we can tell at the moment, the road is performing quite well,” he said.
The Unwin Place intersection is already used every morning by the Orana School community, people seeking access to the Baha’i and AFP centres. They all join on to Unwin Pl, which at the moment is just a one lane road with one entry and exit.
While some plans for a roundabout have been mentioned, there was still no sign of improvement for pedestrian safety.
Recourses administrator for Orana School Marie-Anne Gigon says that they have been trying to fix the problem for years, but that it has only gotten worse as the school grew.
She said, “I was at a place before where there was a trouble spot like this one, and it took someone to be killed before something was done about it.”
Mrs Gigon says that one of the issues is the conflicting data collected by the department and by the school itself. Not only is the number of cars that use the intersection in the morning higher by about 185 according to their own observations, the department claims that there are no recorded accidents attributed to the intersection.
“We have written to everyone,” she said. “We have approached everyone you would approach. Everytime it is ‘budget, budget, budget’. We are always told it will be dealt with next time.”
“We want something done about this before anything else starts.”