Pedestrian fatality in Ashfield

Image shows missing barrier along pavement under the railway underpass on Frederick St, taken 3/3/21.

The news that a pedestrian was struck and killed by a driver in a vehicle while on a zebra crossing on Frederick St in Ashfield on March 13 is terrible. We would like to extend their sympathies to the family and friends of the victim, and also to the driver. This is a horrible burden to live with. 

Humans make mistakes – it is up to our Governments and Transport for NSW to make the system safe.

There are five schools within a kilometre of Frederick St, many daycares and preschools, and the Ashfield Aquatic Centre. There are several playgrounds, two sports fields, and one off-leash dog park. Our community, includings kids and the elderly, should be able to enjoy getting where they need to go safely – with good footpaths and bike paths, plenty of crossings, and calm streets.

Beautiful trees have recently been planted along the footpath, which is far more attractive, but unfortunately limits space for people walking and for those on bikes still further. There is a plan for an off-street walk and bike path on a local canal, but this is in the early planning stages and likely years away from being finished. This path will also require safe walking and cycling links that run across Frederick St. 

WalkSydney, Safe Streets to School, and the Friends of Iron Cove Creek are calling on the NSW Government, Transport for NSW and the Inner West Council, to improve the safety of our streets now by making speed limits safe and providing more off-road walking and bike paths. 

  • Safer speeds on Frederick St.
  • Pedestrians crossing the road at this intersection should be made safer with appropriate upgrades.
  • All similar roads in the Inner West should also be made safer.
  • Develop more off-road walking and bike paths in the LGA, such as the Iron Cove Creek path.
  • Transport for NSW to expedite the installation of safe 30 km/h limits for local streets in the Inner West. 

Frederick St has two zebra crossings, and four traffic lights. 60 km/h speeds are not appropriate. There are options for design changes and speed limit changes that would make this street safer for everyone. 

The roll out of safer speed limits for local roads (currently 50 km/h) by Transport for NSW within the Inner West Council LGA was agreed upon more than a year ago, but this has been delayed. International examples show that 30 km/h local streets are safe for all residents to walk and ride bikes, and to unlock the benefits of healthy streets.

Many institutions support these speed limits, for example the Heart Foundation, which calls for “for 30 km/h in residential areas and 40 km/h on busy roads where there is high pedestrian and cyclist activity”, and the Grattan Institute, which suggests that safer speed limits in shared environments be implemented, and safe, separated bike lanes be built on roads with unsafe limits.

The Haberfield Public School P&C Association met with Safe Streets to School this month, and has been very active in promoting road safety for all pedestrians for many years.

Either elevated wombats or a set of traffic signals may be appropriate at this intersection. A community petition has been created asking for traffic lights. 

Image shows missing barrier along pavement under the railway underpass on Frederick St, taken 3/3/21.
Image shows missing barrier along pavement under the railway underpass on Frederick St, taken 3/3/21.

Friends of Iron Cove Creek have been running a community survey on the project to install a safe, off-road pathway on an existing canal, and have found that people living in the area overwhelmingly want safe places to walk and ride bikes, away from cars. Residents want children to be able to safely walk and ride bikes to school, and to be able to get to the Bay Run, Aquatic Centre, shops, and the city via bike instead of always having to use a car. 

The Inner West Council are looking for feedback now on their new Cycling Strategy, due April 11.

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