Crossing safety concerns
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam has started an online petition for residents, urging for a solution with regard to crossing Cowaramup’s busy main strip.
A three-car collision at the informal crosswalk in Cowaramup earlier this month was caused by confusion about road rules, not helped by vagueness about the crossing and its poles.
Residents outlined their concerns, especially for children attending school nearby.
Cowaramup Primary School principal Peter Howse said the crossing was dangerous when not attended by a warden.
“During the other times of the day, the crossing has become dangerous to all pedestrians of all ages as motorists, believing they are being courteous, have stopped, with other vehicles having to brake heavily,” he said.
“This confusion has caused near misses for pedestrians and damage to vehicles.”
Cowaramup business operator Ross Hastie said the existing crossing was the best and safest site, despite the distance from the school.
“It’s car versus pedestrian that is the greatest danger,” he said.
Ms Mettam said the overlapping Main Roads and Shire of Augusta-Margaret River responsibilities hindered a quick solution.
“There is often confusion from both pedestrians and drivers resulting in many near misses, including a recent three-car pile-up where thankfully no one was seriously injured,” she said.
“It is absolutely essential that improvements are made so that drivers, pedestrians and visitors to the region are safe while crossing Bussell Highway in this busy township,” she said.
Ms Mettam has also written to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
The minister told the Times Main Roads was undertaking a safety review of the crossing “with a view to relocating the crossing to a more suitable location”.
Police would be involved in the review, Ms Saffioti said, which would include studying safety along the highway in Cowaramup as requested by the Shire.
“The audit would consider all road users, and suggest measures to eliminate or mitigate potential risks at this crossing,” the minister said.
But residents told the Times the existing location was best and removal of the Shire-controlled poles would reduce confusion.
Shire acting infrastructure services director David Nicholson said the poles were required and could not be moved.
Vehicles had right of way outside of school hours, he said.
“The Shire has had previous discussions with Main Roads ... and warning signage was subsequently installed on both sides of the road for pedestrians,” Mr Nicholson said.
“At that time, the location did not meet the minimum requirements for provision of a permanent crossing.”
To sign the petition, visit peti tion.org.au/cowaramupcrossing.
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