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Nowhere to go . . . Reed St resident Ray Chalmers can no longer cross Ouse St safely on his mobility scooter, following the construction of the new roundabout.

At least five days a week, Ray Chalmers is faced with the daunting prospect of crossing Ouse St on his mobility scooter.

The avid lawn bowler used to happily travel along the footpath from his Reed St flat to the Meadowbank Bowling Club in Oamaru’s North End, but since the new roundabout was installed at the intersection of Reed, Ouse and Derwent Sts in April, he had been left with no other option than to ride on the road for some of the journey.

Not only was there no way of getting his scooter off the footpath and on to the road on the Ouse St side of the roundabout, there was an extra steep incline, and the kerbing was higher than the footpath around the corners.

‘‘You just can’t get over it with anything with wheels on.’’

Mr Chalmers, who is in his 90s, said he had approached the Waitaki District Council about the problem. He had been told to go another way, but that was easier said than done. Reed St was quieter than Thames Hwy, and the battery on his mobility scooter was at risk of going flat on a longer route, he said.

‘‘I’m thinking of all people, not just myself, you know. It’s rather inconvenient, and if anybody got hurt there, that kerbing, it’s over a foot high. You can’t climb up over there, well elderly people and youngsters, you could slip back into the road and ‘goodbye’.’’

The roundabout at the Reed and Eden St intersection had three places to cross, and Mr Chalmers did not understand why something similar had not been done at this one.

‘‘This one’s got one before the roundabout, and it’s in a silly place. If you’re going along one side of Reed St, why do you have to go on the other side? It doesn’t go anywhere,’’ Mr Chalmers said.

Council roading manager Mike Harrison said he was aware of Mr Chalmers’ concerns and there had been discussions with staff about the route that would be best for his travel needs.

‘‘The roundabout has definitely changed from what he was used to,’’ Mr Harrison said.
While his team was extremely aware of the needs for accessibility, they were not infallible and could overlook the obvious, he said.

‘‘As a user of mobility aids myself, I find Ouse St, especially crossing Ouse St, most alarming. I would be pleased to speak with him, and even meet with him to accompany him together on our mobility devices.’’

During the design and building of the roundabout, the needs of all modes of travel were considered, with safety a key determining factor for the design criteria.

The roading team was working across a range of sectors to consider the transport needs for the community.