Residents call for Mt St Thomas crossing

Mt St Thomas residents Marie Ivaneza and Madeleine and Alicia Thackray perched on The Avenue's thin pedestrian island. Ms Thackray is calling for a pedestrian crossing to be placed at the site. Picture: Robert Peet
Mt St Thomas residents Marie Ivaneza and Madeleine and Alicia Thackray perched on The Avenue's thin pedestrian island. Ms Thackray is calling for a pedestrian crossing to be placed at the site. Picture: Robert Peet

At the end of each school day, Alicia Thackray has the hairy task of getting five children across The Avenue at Mt St Thomas.

Because the road was so busy, Ms Thackray said they usually needed to use the very skinny pedestrian island in the middle of the road.

An island that was really only wide enough for one person.

”We pretty much take up that whole traffic island with five of us lined up next to each other,” Ms Thackray said.

“My four-year-old is finally out of a pram, but when I was crossing with a pram, it didn’t even fit there.

“You can only cross halfway at one time, because you’ve got to negotiate people turning [out of Taronga Avenue] as well as those going straight through.”

While they're stuck on that small island, cars drive past on The Avenue – some faster than the posted speed limit.

“People are meant to do 40 along there but I doubt they do,” she said.

“You can tell the drivers who are parents, because they do slow down but some people are quite fast along there.”

The daily drama has led her to start a change.org petition calling on Wollongong City Council to put in a pedestrian crossing along The Avenue, between Taronga and St Johns avenues.

“For years local residents, and particularly the parents of children who attend Mt St Thomas Public School, have been asking why there is no pedestrian crossing to ensure the safety of their children and support them choosing the healthy option of walking or riding to school,” the petition states.

“However, tired of waiting for something to happen by itself, we have started this petition to implore the Wollongong Council to do this small thing that will make a big difference to our community.”

As of noon on Wednesday, more than 1000 people have signed the petition.

A council spokeswoman said it “did not favour” a zebra crossing across The Avenue as it was wide enough for four lanes of traffic.

“Therefore it would be possible for a vehicle to pass another vehicle stopped for pedestrians on the crossing at significant risk to pedestrians,” the spokesman said.

The council spokeswoman said it was applying for a grant from the NSW Government Walking Communities Funding Program to deal with this section of road.

“The project will involve proposals to install refuge style pedestrian crossings at both intersections of Taronga and St Johns avenues and The Avenue, Mt St Thomas,” the spokeswoman said.

“These facilities include kerb blisters to narrow the roadway to one lane in each direction so that pedestrians are required to cross one carriageway at a time.”