Urgent Duncan Gay letter re: Oxford St Rainbow Crossing

I know many of you want Taylor Square's rainbow crossing left in place, and are concerned about the Government's moves to force its removal.

To keep you up to date with the situation, below is a copy of the letter I've just sent to Minister Duncan Gay.

5 April 2013

The Hon. Duncan Gay MLC
Minister for Roads and Ports
Level 35, Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place

By email office@gay.minister.nsw.gov.au

Dear Minister

Oxford Street Rainbow Pedestrian Crossing

I refer to your letter refusing to meet to discuss the Rainbow Crossing safety audit and explore options to continue the trail.

The trial of the crossing has demonstrated significant economic, social and cultural benefits. Most importantly, the symbolic crossing positively promotes Sydney and Oxford Street, with expected benefits for tourism and retail activity in Oxford Street.

The petition to retain the Crossing now has over 15,000 supporters.

The complex concept you suggest of a rainbow along footpaths (which the City has only recently paved with granite), squares, street furniture and light poles will not have the clarity, visibility or support of the current Rainbow Crossing.

Your interpretation of the Oxford Street Rainbow Crossing Safety Audit does not accord with the audit, which provides options to continue the trial that are worth discussing.

The audit considers all possible risks in relation to the crossing and, while it identified incidents of foolish behaviour by some people, there were no accidents or injuries caused by the crossing during the trial. The audit identified one crash in the month the crossing was installed and found that it "was not related to the rainbow crossing". In comparison, there have been 54 recorded crashes over the previous five years (just under one a month), with 24 involving pedestrians.

The report states that the risk of pedestrians "skylarking and posing for photos" can be managed by "(a) removal of the crossing OR (b) Some form of night time marshal (Police or Council Ranger) to encourage pedestrians not to stay on the crossing."

In these circumstances, given the positive benefits and strong community support, the Audit provides options to continue the trial with monitoring and/or community education. A continued trial can test the City's expectations that there will be few incidents of skylarking if the crossing is not a temporary novelty.

As you have not agreed to meet to discuss these options, could you confirm whether you will permit the City to develop a safe and appropriate continued trial, or whether you are ordering the removal of the crossing, which will cost Council a further $30,000?

Yours sincerely

Clover Moore
Lord Mayor of Sydney

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