Opinion: A St Albans mother’s traffic worry

SPEED: Labour candidate Duncan Webb and Rachel Donaldson with the sign she put up to discourage dangerous driving through St Albans. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

St Albans resident and mother Rachel Donaldson writes about the danger traffic in the suburb is putting children in

For the last five years I have walked my children to and from school but I never meant to continue escorting them.

After a certain age, once they were clear on stopping, looking and listening, I felt confident that like my own childhood, I would just say goodbye to them at the door and they would go without me.

The busiest road that they have to cross is considered the “gold standard” of intersections.

It is a signal operated intersection at the junction of Cranford and Berwick Sts in St Albans. The green man tells you when to cross accompanied by a loud buzzer.

We all know them.

However, for the last five years I have watched cars run the red lights with a frequency that increases every week.

CRUSADE: Parents from St Albans School, Rachael Lane and Rachel Donaldson, are concerned about their children’s safety at the Cranford and Berwick St intersection.

Some days cars will drive through the red light at this intersection at every single light change.

In the last six months, I have seen a child clipped by the wing mirror of a car that crossed through the intersection while the green man was going and this was the tipping point.

My road safety advice to my children has changed from “waiting for the green man” to “even when the green man flashes up and the buzzer is going, always double check that someone isn’t going to come through anyway and stand back against the fence while waiting to cross due the phenomenal speed that cars are travelling at.”

I have no confidence that drivers will obey the road rules when they see schoolchildren crossing at an intersection where there is a very clear stop/go signal.

Instead, I have taught my children to be the second-guessers, to be the defensive pedestrians, not to expect that an adult driving a car will have more road sense than them, a seven and a nine-year-old.

This selfish driving behaviour led to my getting signs made and put up – not only at the Cranford and Berwick Sts intersection but at the other major intersection that is used by St Albans School children, the Cranford and Westminster Sts intersection.

This crossing not only meets the “gold standard” of intersections but St Albans School, for the last eight years, has paid (from their own, extremely limited education budget) a lady to monitor and guide children through the intersection due to the sheer number of red light-runners that drive this section of road every single day.

And still St Albans residents and school parents wait for the city council that moves at glacial speed to do something about the lack of signage along Cranford St to let drivers know that over 600 children go to St Albans school and use this road to get home every day.

That in our suburb there are almost 1000 children on the move.

As I watch the Northern Corridor inching closer and closer to completion and see the impact that increased traffic flows are going to have on pedestrians along Cranford St, I know that I will be walking my kids to school and back for the foreseeable future.