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Officials mull Changhua crossing redesign after 3 children hit by car

02/29/2024 10:48 PM
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Highway Bureau Chen Chen-kang . CNA photo Feb. 29, 2024
Highway Bureau Chen Chen-kang . CNA photo Feb. 29, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 29 (CNA) The Highway Bureau and related experts on Thursday suggested redesigning a pedestrian crossing and shortening the distance at the spot where three children were hit by a car when crossing the road in Changhua County last week.

After a second inspection of the scene, bureau official Chen Chen-kang (陳禎康) said the pedestrian crossing should be aligned vertically with the direction of the cars, as the current crossing is too long and oblique.

In addition, the corner where vehicles turn should be made smaller so pedestrians have a space to wait and a clearer view of traffic conditions.

Chen added that as pedestrians have so far to walk when crossing the road, the bureau is also mulling the creation of a Z-shaped crossing with a pedestrian island in the middle of the road, giving those crossing a place to pause if they are unable to make the crossing in time.

The third proposal, Chen said, involves implementing a Z-crossing while reducing the size of the intersection, so pedestrians do not have to walk as far to cross the road. This would also involve installing a channelizing island.

YouTuber Huang Yun-tsung (黃筠倧), nicknamed "Owl," who has been focusing on road safety issues in Taiwan, also attended the inspection on Thursday and told CNA that the pedestrian crossing, pedestrian island, and channelizing island should all be installed at the intersection to shorten the time pedestrians spend crossing the road.

Meanwhile, Changhua County Councilor Lai Ching-mei (賴清美) told CNA that the intersection where the children were hit often experiences heavy traffic, with many senior citizens and children crossing the road.

She suggested officials should consider the habits of members of the public in rural areas and focus on improving lighting along the road rather than implementing a Z-crossing, which could make crossing the road even more complicated.

The accident happened when three children, all of elementary school age, were hit by a car driven by a 74-year-old motorist without a driving license, on a pedestrian crossing in the county's Shengang Township at 6:21 p.m. on Feb. 22, according to police.

The two older siblings, both girls, sustained severe injuries, while their brother suffered only bruises to his left foot, according to the hospitals where the children were taken.

Both sisters are currently undergoing intensive care treatment, while the boy was discharged last week, according to hospital officials.

(By Cheng Wei-chen and Evelyn Yang)

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