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Crosswalk to be moved away from junction

Police and Corporation of Hamilton officials meet on Par-La-Ville Road to discuss the relocation of the crosswalk (Photo David Skinner)

A road crossing close to where political cartoonist Peter Woolcock was fatally injured last week is to be moved this weekend.

The crosswalk, outside the office of The Royal Gazette on Par-la-Ville Road in Hamilton, will be shifted south, moving it farther away from the roundabout that connects Par-la-Ville, Serpentine Road and Woodlands Road.

The aim is to give drivers turning onto Par-la-Ville better visibility to see pedestrians crossing the road — and in the new year it is likely that the crossing will be elevated to improve the sightline of drivers even more.

Further changes could also be on the way for the busy junction, according to Corporation of Hamilton secretary Edward Benevides, who met with police and members of the Road Safety Council on site yesterday morning.

Mr Benevides told this newspaper that moving the crosswalk would give “more of a view to motorists coming around the corner” but he stressed that both drivers and pedestrians needed to take proper precautions in the area.

“Pedestrians have a role to play and motorists have a big responsibility, too,” he said. “We have to try and stop this culture of inattention from both motorists and pedestrians.”

Mr Benevides was speaking in general terms and was not referring specifically to the collision involving 88-year-old Mr Woolcock, who was struck by a car on the morning of December 4 in the vicinity of The Royal Gazette office and died at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital that afternoon.

Police said on Tuesday that traffic collision investigators believed Mr Woolcock fell from the sidewalk on to the passing car, probably due to a pre-existing medical condition, and that he was not on the sidewalk or on the marked pedestrian crossing at the time.

Following his death, The Royal Gazette asked the authorities to take action and improve safety at the junction. Two other members of staff from this newspaper have been involved in recent road crashes outside the building and collisions happen there regularly.

A motorcyclist was struck by a car in the same area on Tuesday in rush-hour traffic but was uninjured.

Mr Benevides said highway engineers from the Department of Works and Engineering were not able to attend yesterday but a further meeting with them would take place to “discuss whether the current design requires further changes, which will include the second roundabout to the east and the crossings along that route”.

Road Safety Council chairman Carlton Crockwell welcomed the moving of the crosswalk and said the council was committed to helping identify further improvements.

“I think it’s going to help,” he said. “When you come round the bend there, it’s quite difficult if someone’s walking across. I think moving the sidewalk will definitely be a plus.

When you come around the bend, you’ll have plenty of time to see the person.”

Dr Crockwell added: “I believe re-examining all the pedestrian crossings would be a good thing in the City of Hamilton.

“We are committed, as the Road Safety Council, to work directly with City Hall. It’s a good step in the right direction.”

Jonathan Howes, chief executive of Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, parent company of The Royal Gazette, said: “I am so glad that these organisations have come together so quickly to help make this dangerous stretch of road safer for the public, particularly in light of Peter Woolcock’s death.”