The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has launched a Pedestrian Road Safety Action Plan as part of efforts to reduce the number of car crashes in the city.
The plan hopes to address pedestrian safety at authorised crossings and junctions; improve walking on streets, manage public street spaces, ensure the safety of school journeys, as well as engage the public and road system designers to improve pedestrian safety and awareness.
The five-year Action Plan which was developed with support from the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGS), AMEND Road Safety Ghana and other local stakeholders, would be coordinated by the AMA with the co-ownership of the Department of Urban Roads, Ghana Highway Authority and the National Road Safety Commission.
The Chief Executive Officer of the AMA, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, who launched the plan at the Accra City Hotel on Wednesday, said his vision was to create a safe, smart, sustainable and resilient modern city adding that “one of the objectives set to achieve this vision is to reduce traffic fatalities and save lives.”
He said the Action Plan was a component of the Partnership for Healthy Cities which was a global network of more than 50 cities that have committed to helping make their citizens safer and healthier.
Mr Adjei Sowah noted that the Action Plan serves a broad section of road users and enforcement professionals, adding that it addresses the necessity for road architecture, critical role of enforcement and the needs of vulnerable road users.
The mayor disclosed that under the Partnership, measures including the introduction of new speed-reduction processes, widening of the pedestrian curbs and changing to traffic signal timings, would be introduced at the Lapaz intersection on the George Walker Bush Highway (the N1) in the first quarter of 2018 to enhance safety of pedestrians.
“As we are all aware, the Lapaz intersection has been identified as the site with the highest road crashes in the city, and AMA under this Partnership for Healthy Cities is determined to change the narrative about the intersection,” he said.
Mr Adjei Sowah pointed out that one of the assembly’s primary goals was to improve the quality of life of people living within the city, by ensuring the availability of proper road infrastructure to ensure safety and enhance movement of all road users.
“This is especially critical for vulnerable road users including children, the elderly, physically-challenged persons, bicyclists and motor riders,” he added.
The AMA and the Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, he said, recently launched an anti-drunk driving campaign for all drivers not to “drink and drive” and cautioned them to comply with the directive.
He said the MTTD taskforce and the Assembly’s Metro Guards equipped with gadgets donated by Bloomberg Philanthropies, would be deployed throughout the season and beyond to keep the streets safe and expressed commitment to work to make Accra safe for all road users.
A Representative of the Department of Urban Roads (DUR), Pat Onny, in a remark said the vision of the department was to attain efficient cost and an effective and sustainable integrated urban road transport system.
She mentioned that pedestrian safety was a collective responsibility, and expressed the department’s commitments to collaborate with other stakeholders to improve pedestrian safety.
“Urban Roads ensures that road safety audits are carried out and recommendations on the needs of all users, including pedestrians are implemented to minimise crashes,” she said.
“Most recommendations that usually appear in road safety audit report for vulnerable road users, are the absence of continuous walkways and safe crossing facilities. This the department have done on most of our urban roads in Ghana. Some locations in Greater Accra that are worth mentioning are Liberation Road, Giffard Road, and Kanda High way. On these roads, you will see either defined walkways, pedestrian’s footbridges traffic lights or combination of them that meet the safety needs of the pedestrians.” She added
She touched on some challenges facing the Department after construction of the transports systems. These are the encroachments and the lack of enforcement of the facilities.
“On our roads to mention a few, we see walkways littered with concrete blocks, billboards, hawking activities. We have advertising banners on all our pedestrian railing that have been installed as a visi-rail defeating its designed purpose”. She emphasised.
A representative of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), Cadbery Hamilson, in a remark commended the AMA and all stakeholders for developing the Action Plan to ensure pedestrian safety in the metropolitan.
“Road traffic crashes are responsible for an average of 2000 deaths in a year in our country and every day, six people are killed on our roads… Nearly 39% of deaths are pedestrians. 66% of these pedestrians are knocked down while crossing the road while 23% of pedestrian deaths involves school children below the age of 16,” she said and was hopeful that the new Plan would help curb the situation.