Danger lurking at intersection

The aftermath of the latest accident that happened at the intersection. Photos: Adéle Bloem

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we will send out officers to monitor and investigate the situation,” said Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, spokesperson for the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).

This comes after yet another accident at the intersection of Kilburn Street and Konig Avenue in Roodepoort on the morning of 4 September, involving a minibus taxi and two other vehicles.

Piet Crous (Deputy Principal) and Johan van Jaarsveldt (Principal) of Hoërskool Roodepoort do not know where to turn to any longer.

According to reports, there were no serious injuries, but the drivers of one of the vehicles and the minibus taxi were transported to hospital suffering from minor injuries and shock. “It would have been a whole different situation if the accident had occurred after school, when learners wait for their transport on the sidewalk of this intersection. Our main concern is the safety of our learners, educators and parents. At the moment they are in danger,” said Piet Crous, Deputy Principal of Hoërskool Roodepoort.

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Crous said they have been battling with this specific intersection since 2009. “We had a petition drawn up that was signed by residents and parents, and sent letters in 2010, 2012 and 2014 to the various role-players in the City of Johannesburg. We had meetings with the ward councillor at the time, representatives from the various taxi associations, Johannesburg Roads Agency and the JMPD,” he said.

The damage to the minibus taxi involved in accident.

In 2015, the decision was made to replace the four-way stop at the intersection with traffic lights as a speed calming measure, but according to Crous, this did not improve the matter much. “Motorists – especially the taxi drivers – tend to speed up a few blocks from the traffic light in an effort to catch the green light. This results in them speeding past the school (often disregarding the red light) causing great danger to our learners, parents and educators,” he said.

Although none of the accidents that have occurred at the intersection to date has resulted in fatalities, this could change. “It is only a matter of time before someone is injured – or even killed – that is why I am pleading with the authorities to assist us and look into erecting speed humps in an effort to keep our learners safe,” Crous said.

Minnaar said that, according to their records, the particular intersection was not a hot spot and the councillor for Ward 84, Gert Niemand, echoed his sentiments.

“The traffic lights in themselves should be enough to act as a speed-calming measure as vehicles have to stop, but, if the staff at the school feels that there is merit in erecting speed humps, they should contact me, and we could arrange to meet with JRA in order to send out traffic engineers to assess those merits,” said Niemand.

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  AUTHOR
Adéle Bloem
Journalist

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