Gas Place is to be closed to 'through traffic' following the recommendations in a safety report on the roads around the Town Park prompted by the death of three-year-old Clinton Pringle.
The toddler was hit by a car in a part of Tunnell Street which is 'shared' by drivers and pedestrians. The road layout was heavily criticised throughout the case which resulted in the driver being sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, for "causing death by careless driving."
The Parish has issued a statement saying they had noted "reported comments" made during the trial about the "alleged defects in the shared space section of Tunnell Street." They continued saying they couldn't make "any further comment about this matter until it has had the opportunity to examine what was said in court and to consult its legal advisers."
During the trial, the road layout of Tunnell Street was criticised for its lack of clarity. The accident occurred in the shared-space area of Tunnell Street where the separation between the pavement and the road is marked by different shades of stones, rather than a raised kerb. Clinton was exiting the passageway from Belmont Road and was going to Millennium Park. His cousin ran ahead of him and he followed three seconds after. His mum Stacey Pringle told the court she thought it was "safe" and "a pedestrian area leading to the park where it was alright for him to run ahead."
Pictured: The accident took place in a shared-space area on Tunnell Street. (Google Maps)
In his report on the accident, forensic collision investigator, DC Robert Manners wrote the nature of the area was "unclear to road users" and that it makes it "difficult for a pedestrian to identify a change from pedestrian way to carriage way." He also said it was "not adequate enough to significantly mitigate the risk to pedestrians" as "a child wouldn't be able to determine a vehicle could approach from the right hand side."
UK engineer and road safety expert Alexandra Luck carried out an audit on the layout commissioned by the police and said that in all the time she spent in the area, she did not see "a single driver modify their driving" as the Give Way sign wasn't "obvious" to drivers and could easily be missed.
Defending advocate Matthew Jowitt said that the road layout "directly contributed to the accident" arguing that Clinton's mum and aunt were "lured into a false sense of security by the road design." He also said that "the actions of a third party - namely the Parish of St Helier- contributed to the commission of the offence" indicating that the road layout was a mitigating factor.
Pictured: Signs were put up close to the exit of the passage way shortly after the accident to warn pedestrians and cyclists.
Pictured: Road safety expert Alexandra Luck said the 'Give way' signs around the shared-space area are "not clear."
In its statement, the parish of St. Helier said they received "an independent Safety Audit of the roads surrounding Millennium Town Park, specifically Gas Place, Tunnell Street, La Raccourche and Robin Place" last December.
Following recommendations made in this report, the St Helier Roads Committee approved changes to Gas Place that will "...eliminate through traffic" in March. Those proposed changes should be shortly released for public consultation.
The Parish also say Tunnell Street will remain an "Access to Premises Only" road with marking and signage indicating the presence of pedestrians in the area. "The Parish will continue to monitor the use of this road and to take action against those who use it illegally," says the statement.
However, the Parish won't restrict further access to Tunnell Street "...until the conclusion of all legal matters." They also maintain that the additional signage provided in the area is "...sufficient to indicate to pedestrians accessing the Millennium Town Park from Belmont Road that they are entering shared space."
Pictured: Another shared-space area at the junction of King Street and Halkett Place. (Google Maps)
"Similar shared space areas exist locally, notably at the junction of the main pedestrian precinct on King Street with Halkett Place, and in St Aubin’s village, and the St Helier Roads Committee will review the use of such areas within the Parish in consultation with the Department for Infrastructure (DFI) and the States of Jersey Police."
Speaking to the media after Mrs Le Gal was acquitted for causing death by dangerous driving, Michael Pringle, Clinton's dad, said the town planners and designers responsible for the design’s implementation had “blood on their hands.” Following the sentencing on Thursday, he said the layout "wouldn't have made a difference to the driver." Mr Pringle explained it would have only changed the way that Stacey and Clinton, who were not familiar with the area, would have approached it.
Pictured: Michael Pringle, Clinton's father.
He added: "I’m not a fan of shared-space, I never have been. I think if you mix soft and hard objects together then the loser is always going to be the pedestrian as a soft object. They should close it off to traffic and I think that will probably happen."
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