Road safety campaign continues

THE fight to ensure children's safety along Riverside Drive continues, with related issues debated at Kiama Council's traffic committee meeting earlier this month.

At council's February meeting, Councillor Kathy Rice requested a report on the progress of negotiations with NSW Roads and Maritime Services on the completion of a proposed roundabout and pedestrian crossing in Riverside Drive, Kiama Downs.

Kiama Downs' Jessica Arroyo, who spoke at the March public access meeting, wants the speed limit to be lowered to 50km/hour and changes made to the Gibraltar Avenue intersection.

Ms Arroyo is a mother of two young children.

She has attributed much of the speeding to motorists trying to beat the green light at the Meehan Drive intersection and has also been concerned about the number of accidents occurring from people turning right in and out of Gibraltar Avenue.

As well as approaching the council and local MPs, her "A Safer Riverside Drive" Facebook group has nearly 100 members.

Ms Arroyo recently wrote on the Facebook page that she had received a letter from the RMS and Lake Illawarra Police.

She was "gutted" by their response that the speed limit would remain at 70km/hour due to the street being deemed a "low crash area", and the number of vehicles using the road falling from about 20,000 vehicles per day to 2000 vehicles.

During her address, Ms Arroyo discussed the upgrade of Riverside Drive, which she said was often used as a "drag strip" when drivers headed towards Bombo.

"I would hate to witness a fatality from an out-of-control driver, much like the fatality on Riverside Drive a few years ago near the Bombo end," she said.

"How many more accidents have to happen before it's acceptable to change this speed limit?"

Ms Arroyo said other residents had suggested a pedestrian-activated light at Meehan Drive; a speed hump to be installed along Riverside Drive; the drive being reduced to one traffic lane in each direction; or installation of a footpath on the eastern side of Riverside Drive between Gibraltar and Meehan.

In early 2007, the council placed on public exhibition a conceptual integrated traffic management plan for Riverside Drive. A proposal of this scheme was the construction of new roundabouts at the intersection of Riverside Drive/Oxley Avenue and Riverside Drive/Meehan Drive to replace the existing traffic signals.

But the former NSW RTA indicated it would not support the replacement of the existing traffic signals with a roundabout, as pedestrian movements would not be controlled and a refuge arrangement would be required on all approaches.

"The existing traffic signals provide a higher level of safety for pedestrians from the existing pedestrian controls...," council business papers stated.

Issues raised by Ms Arroyo were due to be discussed at council's traffic committee meeting in early April. The matter will be reported back to council.