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Pedestrian safety in Fig Tree Pocket

In August 2019, I wrote to Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner calling for several improvements to public transport and pedestrian safety in Fig Tree Pocket, including:

  • More frequent buses on the 445 and 430 routes
  • Pedestrian safety upgrades including traffic lights at Fig Tree Pocket Rd and Kenmore Rd intersection, and at 40km/hr speed limit on those roads. 
  • A footpath along Jesmond Rd north of Cubberla St, including fixing a dangerous narrow section

You can read my letter here.

On 25 September 2019, the Lord Mayor responded, committing to fix the dangerous section of walkway on Jesmond Rd, but not committing to these other issues. You can read the Lord Mayor's response here.  Later, in December 2019, the State Transport Minister also responded to my request for better buses on the 445 and 430 routes, refusing to provide more services. You can read the Minister's response here

I started a petition to the Lord Mayor and the local Councillor to make the intersection of Fig Tree Pocket Road and Kenmore Road safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers by:

  • Installing traffic lights at the intersection of Fig Tree Pocket Road and Kenmore Road
  • Installing a raised “wombat crossing” or pedestrian refuge to access bus stop 37 on the eastern side of Fig Tree Pocket Road. 
  • Considering a 40km/hr speed limit on those roads, in consultation with local residents.

In its 2020 budget Council finally allocated funds to build the traffic lights at the corner of Fig Tree Pocket Road and Kenmore Road. 

This was a focus for me because this intersection is one of the worst spots for pedestrian safety - there have been three reported crashes in five years, but locals know that minor accidents and near misses happen many times every year. One local resident keeps an “accident kit” at home, fearing that it’s only a matter of time until someone is injured. 

Some of the issues are:

  • No safe crossing points, especially for kids, people with prams or people using a wheelchair.
  • School students using the nearby bus stop on Fig Tree Pocket Road are unable to cross safely. 
  • High speeds, including drivers rat-running to avoid the Centenary Motorway

Students from Fig Tree Pocket SS, Brisbane Montessori School, Kenmore SHS and local non-government schools are all put at risk by this dangerous intersection. 

I'm glad we were able to secure an update to this intersection, but there's still much more work that needs to be done for pedestrian safety in Fig Tree Pocket, particularly around safe, accessible and well-connected footpaths, especially around parks and schools.

And long term, the best way to fix traffic congestion and improve pedestrian safety is to make our streets safe and people-friendly so that more residents have the option to walk, cycle or catch the bus. Traffic lights do cost money, but lower speed limits are almost free for Council to implement. Rather than spend money on wasteful road-widening projects, Council should be supporting smaller upgrades like this which actually make residents’ lives easier.