Doctor diagnoses traffic danger

AS HARLEY Wilson negotiated the narrow streets surrounding Rockhampton Hospital, he accused the authorities of turning a blind eye to a growing “danger zone”.

The Rockhampton doctor and Kellow Street resident said the traffic situation in the area had deteriorated to the extent that the safety of children, pedestrians and motorists had become a matter of grave concern.

Harley said council's recent approval of an $18 million, 48-unit accommodation building near Rockhampton Hospital was an asset to the city, but the increased traffic issues were concerning.

“I question the competence of this council to provide safe and appropriate vehicular access and thoroughfare as well as safe pedestrian pathways whilst allowing for the rapid increase in airport traffic expected in the next decade,” he said.

He wants greater policing of parking and wants council to restrict nearby roads to local traffic only.

A Rockhampton Regional Council spokeswoman said the parking situation was expected to continue and urged concerned residents to contact Queensland Health.

“Parking at the hospital precinct was examined as part of a recently completed review of the Rockhampton Car Parking Strategy,” the spokeswoman said.

“The review concluded that the parking overflow in this precinct was as a result of a lack of long-term car parks available onsite for hospital employees.

“The current redevelopment of the hospital site does not provide any additional on-site car parking and so demand for parking within the adjacent streets is anticipated to continue.”

She said an ongoing review of council strategies would address car parking, public transport and pedestrian access in the hospital precinct and council would discuss the matter with the Queensland Government in the near future.

Queensland Health did not respond to The Morning Bulletin by close of business yesterday.

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten said parking at the hospital was a Queensland Health responsibility.

He said any future car park would have to involve paid parking, in a partnership between government and a private company.

“I'd rather have money spent looking after patients than cars,” Mr Schwarten said.

He said the present situation was exacerbated by major upgrade work at the hospital, which would ease once work was completed.

Queensland Health had provided a free bus service to help alleviate the problem.

Rockhampton traffic branch officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Ewan Findlater said the occasional complaint was made to police.

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