Calls for Fairfield West black spot to have lights installed

Problem area: The intersection of Smithfield Road and Dunstan Street at Fairfield West needs a set of traffic lights according to residents. Picture: Chris Lane
Problem area: The intersection of Smithfield Road and Dunstan Street at Fairfield West needs a set of traffic lights according to residents. Picture: Chris Lane

It’s not a case of wanting traffic lights at the problem intersection of Smithfield Road and Dunstan Street at Fairfield West.

According to Melissa Gurnett the black spot “needs” lights or a fatal accident is just around the corner.

Three times a week she runs the gauntlet and picks up her niece Isabella from nearby Mary Mackillop College. She said motorists are faced with two options when looking to turn right onto Smithfield Road – face a risky right turn into the holding area or try to gauge how fast cars are coming down the hill and navigate turning left and turn around via the Fairfield Showground.

The degree of difficultly will increase when Smithfield Road is upgraded to four-lanes.

“Trying to leave Dunstan Street and turn onto Smithfield Road is a nightmare. I have spoken with many other people who feel that it’s not if but when a bad accident will happen,” Mrs Gurnett said.

“You can be stuck their for a long time and if you chose to go right you take the risk with the traffic and people trying to turn into the street.”

Mrs Gurnett called on council to install traffic lights at the “crazy” intersection after nearby Maud and Polding streets received lights recently. 

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone said as part of council’s original funding submission to the RMS for the upgrade of Smithfield Rad, they proposed the installation of traffic control signals at the intersection.

“However it did not meet the criteria for RMS, based on traffic volume, crash history and pedestrian movements,” mayor Carbone said.

“Council is currently negotiating with RMS to determine a suitable alternative option for improving motorist and pedestrian safety at this intersection.”

​An RMS spokesperson said a traffic count carried out by Fairfield Council showed the intersection did not meet the minimum requirement for the installation of traffic lights.

“Roads and Maritime Services will continue to assist council in their investigations to develop traffic management measures on the local road network including at this intersection,” the spokesperson said.

“A review of recent reported crash history at this intersection reveals there were no crashes in 2016.”

Mrs Gurnett said she has seen “heaps” of minor accidents and near-misses while navigating the intersection and hoped to get more people behind the campaign in a similar way to what eventually led to Fairfield Council receiving funding under the State Blackspot Program to implement a holding area on Smithfield Road for vehicles turning right out of Dunstan Street in 2013.

She said the dilemma facing her friend who lives at the corner of the intersection highlights the need for change.

“Their daughter is going to school next year and she won’t be able to cross the road so she will have to be driven to school even though she lives across the road. That is silly,” she said.