Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner's Editor: April 15

PROGRESS: Medowie resident John Donahoo with his pedestrian underpass proposal outside the new catholic high school at Medowie Road and South Street.
PROGRESS: Medowie resident John Donahoo with his pedestrian underpass proposal outside the new catholic high school at Medowie Road and South Street.

Traffic lights not progress

The proposal for a pedestrian underpass and a two lane roundabout at South Street to be provided on Medowie Road adjacent to the new Catholic High School received responses from both Port Stephens Council and the Catholic Schools Office (CSO) [Port Stephens Examiner, March 11].

A council spokesperson stated that an underpass would flood, and that a same grade crossing with traffic lights would be safer than a separate grade crossing. Levels taken recently on site show there is a height difference of 4.3 metres from Medowie Road near South Street, to the top of the first hill to the north, a distance of about 90m.

My calculations show that only a 3.3m height difference or less is needed to design an underpass for a flood with a recurrence interval in excess of 100 years. Moreover, for one of the design options, a height difference of 4.3m would allow Medowie Road near South Street to have about one metre of water over it before the proposed underpass would flood.

In such a situation, the road would be closed to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. A separate grade pedestrian crossing is virtually universally accepted, as being safer to a same grade crossing, as there is no interaction between pedestrians and motor vehicles. Furthermore, where the topography is favourable, an underpass is usually cheaper than an overpass.

The installation of traffic lights is not a sign of progress, it is a sign of congestion. Between 2.30pm and 4pm on school days, traffic is now banked up to Richardson Road. As Medowie grows, this congestion will only increase.

The new school is welcomed by Medowie residents but such a development should not reduce the existing road use amenity currently enjoyed by residents. The provision of a pedestrian underpass and a two lane roundabout at South Street will restore and enhance this amenity and remove the long distance 40kph speed zone.

Also, the cost of an underpass is most likely to be cheaper than the alleged $4.5m required for the provision of traffic lights. Council and the CSO should now take 'time out' and seriously examine different options to their proposal for traffic lights on Medowie Road.

Once traffic lights are installed, Medowie residents will be stuck with them forever.

John Donahoo, Medowie

Little rethink on loos

So, there will be two toilets, three outdoor showers and no change room at the new amenities shed at Little Beach. Maybe the council will have to provide port-a-loos, port-a-showers and port-a-change areas.

Judy Archer, Nelson Bay

Respect the aged

After two long years, through bushfires, pandemic, one-in-100 year storms and floods, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety delivered its final report early this year with 148 recommendations.

The Federal Government promptly accepted all recommendations, and will address the funding issue in the May budget. Scanning through the 107 pages of recommendations, I feel that funding is only one of the many issues identified in the current aged care system.

One thing comes to mind is empathy. Empathy is precious, money cannot buy. Empathy is the ability to understand and feel the needs of another person. In my opinion, empathy is a quality aged care givers should have in their hearts and minds. Let's face it, we all get old one day.

Ernest To, Medowie

Time to battle ocean monster

I have been humbled by the number of letters published in response to my letter about jet skis and the threat to marine life in Port Stephens. Every marine creature already faces a daily battle with one of the biggest monsters of the ocean - plastic. Approximately 9 million tonnes of it ends up in the ocean each year. We need to be addressing this issue as well.

Amanda Sutherland, Anna Bay