It took petitions, submissions and a 100-strong protest march on the June long weekend but it was all worth it for Woodford residents, who last week won a battle for a set of traffic lights.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) scrapped its proposal for a pedestrian refuge island on the widened highway near Arthur Street and the Woodford Academy in favour of traffic lights with pedestrian crossings after considering public feedback and the results of its own traffic study.
Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage congratulated Woodford residents on Friday for showing great commitment to ensuring the best result for their town.
“They told me the previous plans would not provide the safest environment for pedestrians and that is why I asked RMS to consult further with the community,” Mrs Sage said.
“The lights will only be activated when pedestrians cross to minimise delays on the highway.”
Members of the Woodford Progress Association said it was important that communities spoke up when they faced problems, and credited RMS for listening.
“The sad thing is they (RMS) got it correct in the initial plan (for traffic lights) in 2002 but that all got changed in 2003,” association president Ian Robinson said.
Woodford Academy committee member Elizabeth Burgess said without a set of traffic lights near Arthur Street and Park Road, people would need to walk a two-kilometre loop to and from a pedestrian footbridge near the railway
station to safely cross the soon to be four-lane highway, which will have an 80km/h speed limit.
“We need this so our kids will be able to safely access bus stops and our village shops without the need for helicopter parents,” she said.
Woodford Academy chairman Ian Harman said it was fitting pedestrian safety would be boosted before the highway widening project was completed in Woodford in the second half of 2014, given the tragic circumstances of former Woodford Academy resident John McManemy’s death on the highway in 1946.
“Mr McManemy established Woodford Academy as a school in the 1930s and lived in the building until March 3, 1946, when he was run over while crossing this road just two years after it was upgraded,” Mr Harman said.
“His daughter Gertrude donated Woodford Academy to the National Trust in the 1970s. That really brings it home.”
Mrs Sage said RMS was also working with Sydney Trains and Blue Mountains City Council to investigate options to improve facilities for pedestrians using Park Road, where there is no footpath along the narrow bridge over the railway line.
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