Authority buckles to public pressure
The Land Transport Authority (L.T.A) will install a pedestrian crossing on a part of Beach Road that has been described as a ticking time bomb.
This was confirmed by the L.T.A in an email to the Samoa Observer. The section in question is the road between the S.N.P.F Plaza and the former Agriculture Store building.
"The L.T.A will be constructing a pedestrian crossing with signals (similar to the crossing between the N.P.F building and Chan Mow),” the email said.
At the moment, L.T.A said that they are in negotiations with the overseas consultant who has been engaged for the design.
“The crossing will be linked to the nearby traffic signals in front of the flea market.”
Two weeks ago, the crossing was referred to as a disaster waiting to happen.
Although there is a big sign telling members of the public that it is not a pedestrian crossing, nobody cares. Everyone uses it as a pedestrian crossing, creating much confusion and chaos for motorists and road workers alike.
Police spokesperson, Su’a Muliaga Tiumalu, admits that the area is problematic. He also shares fears about someone being killed if they are not careful.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, he said all they could do right now is to ensure the safety of the public by sending out Police officers every day to monitor the area.
And when the Police officers are present, members of the public obey. Many people then proceed to use the traffic lights to cross.
But it is when there are no Police officers, or Land Transport Authority Traffic Officers when the crossing becomes an issue again.
Tori Unoi said the issue should be addressed urgently to avoid someone being hurt.
He said he witnesses the situation every day and becomes especially dangerous when mothers drag their babies and children in front of speeding vehicles, zooming back and forth.
“There is a large ‘no crossing’ sign and now there’s a barrier to try and cut people from crossing,” he said.
In a letter to the Samoa Observer, Petelo Suaniu supported the idea to set up a proper pedestrian crossing.
“I favour a pedestrian bridge connecting S.N.P.F. Plaza with the other side. The pedestrian bridge can be covered with a sail canopy to protect people from the elements and so that it is in keeping with the design of the plaza. The bridge can also have advertising on it so that it pays for itself over time,” he said.
“You need a pedestrian bridge there because it is a natural crossing point for people given that is where a lot of the foot traffic naturally comes to from the plaza and the market and bus station across the road.
The surrounding retail and transport places are the major causes of pedestrians being there in the first place.
“The design of the area invites all these people to that very point with people walking from the plaza and the bus station and market yet a simple pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights seems a bit basic given the large numbers of people crossing there.
“Given the waterfront development plan in place, there is going to be a big open market and public open space or square at Savalalo in the near to medium term future so it is going to be a place which draws even more people to the area.
“The pedestrian infrastructure needs to match the plans for the area.
"In my opinion, given the busy road traffic, I suggest a pedestrian foot bridge to link what appears to be the busiest points of Apia. Especially if the plan aims to draw more people to the waterfront.”