Time for action at city’s worst intersection

WHEN it comes to statistics, rarely do the cold, hard numbers tell the whole story.

And that’s what appears to be the case regarding the ridiculous intersection of Suttor, Lambert and Mitre streets near the Assumption School.

Crash data will tell us that the area is not a blackspot and that there have been few recorded incidents in recent years.

But crash data cannot tell us how many near misses there have been in that time, nor how many stressed drivers have been left to run the gauntlet because they were not sure who had right of way.

The crash data cannot reveal what the nearby residents and business owners can – that they fear there will one day be a tragedy at the intersection despite the crash data suggesting the opposite.

And nor can the crash data explain that - anecdotally, at least – one of the reasons there are so few crashes is that confused drivers slow to a crawl through the intersection because it poses such a danger.

That’s no way to operate, though.

Put that intersection anywhere in our city and we would be amazed that nothing has been done to fix it, but having it stand next to one of the largest primary schools in town makes the inaction quite appalling.

Truth is, if ever there was a bad crash at that intersection there is a very real chance that a child – or children – would be involved.

Road safety must be a priority in all areas of the city but should be a premium outside schools.

Flashing lights and lollypop men and women have helped make the area safer, but few would argue that the area is safe.

It only takes a moment of inattention for a young child to make a mistake and that combined with confusing road conditions makes a recipe for disaster.

The time for finding reasons not to take action has passed and the time for finding a remedy is now.

Traffic experts can decide whether lights or a roundabout would work best at that site but there must be a better way than what we’re seeing now.

Realigning the roads in the area – and even acquiring properties to carry out the work, if needed – will not be inexpensive but doing nothing could end up costing so much more in the long run.

Because playing a numbers game where young lives are at risk is a gamble none of us should be willing to take.