VIDEO | Right turn to be retained at Caringbah intersection where Danielle McGrath died

No change: Cars will continue to be able to turn right from Port Hacking Road South into Kingsway, over the pedestrian crossing on which Danielle McGrath was walking. Picture: Chris Lane
No change: Cars will continue to be able to turn right from Port Hacking Road South into Kingsway, over the pedestrian crossing on which Danielle McGrath was walking. Picture: Chris Lane

A council traffic advisory committee has rejected calls to ban vehicles turning right across the pedestrian crossing at Caringbah where Danielle McGrath was killed nine months ago.

Danielle McGrath

Danielle McGrath

The Consultative Traffic Forum recommended, instead, extending the crossing time for pedestrians and introducing red arrows on left turns at the intersection.

The decision not to endorse a right turn ban disappointed Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman, who emailed the committee and had a representative speak on his behalf.

Mr Speakman said he “urged” the committee to adopt the measure, which he believed “would be the safest solution for pedestrians and motorists”.

Turning right safely from Port Hacking Road South into Kingsway

Ms McGrath, 26, of Caringbah, died on her way to work on November 8 last year after being struck by an earthmoving  truck towing a trailer.

The truck driver has been committed for sentencing.

Since the accident, a  working party from Sutherland Shire Council, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and police have been examining pedestrian safety at the intersection of Kingsway, Port Hacking Road South and Mackay Street.

A report based on their findings was considered by the committee on Friday, July 7.

The report said accident data and site observations indicated there had been “no other significant or unique traffic behaviour, crash history or design feature that would warrant prohibition of the right turn”.

There had been no other similar crashes.

The report said, while details of the police report and court case were unavailable at the time of writing, based on what was known, “it is considered the risk of recurrence is highly unlikely given that sight lines for vehicles and pedestrians are clear and the right turn is held by the red arrow”.

“Both the RMS and NSW Police representatives concur with this assessment,” the report said.

Committee chair, Councillor Tom Croucher, said the green light time for pedestrians on the crossing was 25-26 seconds, and the red arrow time was 16 seconds.

Cr Croucher said RMS had agreed to examine whether the red arrow time could be increased.

Banning the right turn would “just move the danger to another location”, he said.

The traffic advisory committee recommended the right turn be retained.

The traffic advisory committee recommended the right turn be retained.

Mr Speakman said, “In my view, a ban on a right hand turn from Port Hacking Road would be the safest solution for pedestrians and motorists.

“Notwithstanding RMS statistics which I understand the Consultative Traffic Forum relied upon, there appears to be anecdotal evidence of near misses – noting, too, that Vision Australia serving vision-impaired people is on the north-eastern corner of the intersection.

“A ban would also deal with an existing problem with north-bound traffic heading north out of Port Hacking Road into Mackay Street illegally using one of the left turn lanes in Port Hacking Road because cars are waiting in Port Hacking Road to turn right in the combined north-bound / right turn lane.”

Mr Speakman said a ban on right hand turns from Port Hacking Road could also potentially improve traffic flow around the intersection.

“Traffic is getting worse and worse in the Caringbah CBD,” he said.

“The state government is financing some improvements in the CBD, likely to be an extra turning lane from Kingsway into President Avenue.

“But, a ban on right hand turns from Port Hacking Road into the Kingsway could also potentially help by speeding up through traffic from Port Hacking Road into Mackay Street and allowing less light phasing for Port Hacking Road / Mackay Street and more for the Kingsway.”