Prioritising people over cars

24 Jan 24 | By pp-admin

Fitability tandem rider and Pedal Power member John Barlow and his guide dog Jazzy have lived in Cook for 12 years. They cross Redfern St daily to reach the bus stop, the Jamison Plaza shops and the gym. Because John is blind, crossing this road without a traffic light is very dangerous for them both.

“In the beginning of me living in Cook, the Redfern St crossing was not an issue.” Explains John. “However, over time, with the Jamison Plaza being remodelled and a lot of apartments being built and lived in, the motor vehicle traffic travelling along Redfern Street has become a lot busier.”

John has now been in touch with the ACT Government for well over a year asking for a safer crossing. While some improvements have happened nearby, such as the refuge island built on Bowman St, there is still no safe way for John and Jazzy to cross Redfern St.

“All of the improvements, being traffic calming speed humps and a pedestrian crossing have been installed on Bowman Street, this street runs around Jamison Plaza and is not nearly as busy as Redfern St.” Says John “Currently, there are a couple of cement refuge islands which I use to cross busy Redfern Street on a daily basis, but without traffic lights, getting to the islands is still dangerous.”

But why is John’s story important?

A city that has more disability-friendly infrastructure is better for everyone, not just for its more inclusive culture but also because others can benefit from the same infrastructure, too. Safer, more accessible crossings are useful to all, including cyclists, and especially more vulnerable road users such as children, the elderly, parents with prams and those using wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

Another reason why we want to help John and Jazzy obtain the infrastructure they deserve is because their plea is in line with making Canberra a more human-friendly and less car-oriented city.

Sadly, the slow replies John has been receiving from the government and the minimal action that has so far occurred are indicative of the general car-centric culture in Canberra.

Pedal Power and ACT Greens Member for Ginninderra Jo Clay are now helping John write a petition to lobby the ACT Government for safer crossings on Redfern St.

Pedal Power has a volunteer Campaigns Team who focus on a range of advocacy matters like this one. If you would like to participate and help us make an even biggen impact, contact our Membership and community organiser Jordan.