Miasteczko Śląskie has seven thousand inhabitants and is the only housing estate with eight pedestrian crossings until recently. Without asking the residents, the mayor decided that these were “passages to nowhere” and he liquidated five. The local government official consulted the liquidation of the passages with the police. It turns out that all neighborhood belts were supposed to disappear. However, the police did not agree to this.
The mayor of Miasteczko Śląskie in the district of Tarnowskie Góry, Michał Skrzydło, wrote on Tuesday in social media: “We have closed 5 pedestrian crossings in the estate in response to nonsense regulations giving pedestrians priority over vehicles”.
Mayor: These crossings were nowhere
Miasteczko Śląskie has seven thousand inhabitants, three thousand of whom live in the only estate, simply called Osiedle. Until recently, there were eight pedestrian crossings in the estate. In an interview with us, the mayor of the city explained that the liquidation of five of them was one of the elements of the change in traffic organization. All streets with one name of Srebrna have been transformed into one-way streets, additional parking spaces have been created and lanes have just disappeared.
– It was not my whim that I woke up and thought “I’ll remove the seat belts”. I thought about it for a long time – says Michał Skrzydło. He admits that he did not discuss it with the residents, because “where there are two Poles, there are three sentences”.
The mayor claims that he received comments, with three voices against and most favorable. However, he consulted the idea with the police. – This is a rare course of action, more passes are made than eliminated. But the police, after hearing my arguments, agreed with me. There are housing estates, narrow streets, little car traffic, these crossings were nowhere – emphasizes the local government official.
The mayor adds that he has left three passages for the residents in the area of the kindergarten and bus stops.
Police: we did not agree to the liquidation of all crossings
– We were fatally influenced by the project to change the traffic organization in the estate in Miasteczko Śląskie. It concerned the liquidation of all pedestrian crossings – says Damian Ciecierski, police spokesman in Tarnowskie Góry. – The policemen did not agree to the liquidation of all of them. They gave their opinion that there should be passages within educational institutions, kindergartens, schools, medical institutions, within places frequented by children and adolescents.
Ciecierski admits that the roads in the Osiedle are narrow, often to the width of one car, and that the volume of car traffic, which has decreased even after the streets were transformed into one-way streets, is low. He adds that at the moment pedestrians can cross Srebrna Street anywhere, but with caution. There is no residential zone in the estate, which gives pedestrians priority over vehicles and freedom of movement throughout the entire space. The speed is the same as in a built-up zone, i.e. up to 50 kilometers per hour.
Mayor: Vehicle priority is greener
– People confuse priority with immortality – says Michał Skrzydło, explaining why he called the regulations giving pedestrians priority in the lanes before the driver “nonsense” in social media. And he adds: – 90 percent of pedestrian accidents result from a pedestrian intrusion in front of the car. The pedestrian suddenly enters and the driver has no chance to stop. In addition, vehicle priority is greener. If a car has to stop and a pedestrian passes by, we have more exhaust fumes and noise.
The mayor emphasizes that he does not intend to eliminate lanes on voivodeship and poviat roads. On Monday, September 20, at around 5 p.m., a 13-year-old was hit by a truck on such a crossing at Woźnicka Street in Miasteczko Śląskie. According to the preliminary findings of the police, the boy probably stepped directly under the oncoming vehicle, but the circumstances are still being clarified. The 13-year-old was hospitalized.
Main photo source: Facebook / Michał Skrzydło