Road users urged to be tram aware in Newcastle CBD

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Road and Maritime Services Director for the Hunter, Anna Zycki, has joined with Chief Inspector Amanda Calder from NSW Police and Corey Moore, a driver for Keolis Downer, to remind motorists to be tram aware in Newcastle’s CBD.

Since trams started running in February there have been a number of near misses with other road users at locations where the two interact.

“We’ve seen in excess of 200 near misses around Stewart Avenue, Steel Street and Worth Place in the last few months as motorists travel through red lights and almost collide with trams that have the right of way,” Ms Zycki said.

“Roads and Maritime Services have adjusted the phasing of the lights and have installed signs to remind motorists of traffic signals and trams ahead at Stewart Avenue, we will also be installing signs on Steel Street in coming weeks,” she said.

Chief Inspector Amanda Calder from NSW Police said police are also undertaking enforcement operations at the locations.

“We need drivers and all road users in Newcastle to be vigilant wherever trams are crossing with traffic and pedestrians,” Chief Inspector Calder said.

“NSW Police will be out monitoring driver behaviour around the sites over coming weeks, but it’s important to remember police can be out in force, new signage can be put in, and traffic lights can be adjusted, but at the end of the day – drivers and other road users need to be aware of their surroundings and take care on and around the road,” she said.

Tram driver Corey Moore, urged motorists to drive carefully.

“As a driver, it would be my worst nightmare to be involved in a crash with a vehicle or a pedestrian,” Mr Moore said.

“As tram drivers, we are trained to look out for other drivers and pedestrians. We are being extremely cautious as we travel through intersections, but trams can’t stop quickly or easily and the close calls we’ve had are really concerning.

“Our message to drivers is to always be aware around the light rail tracks,” he said.

Hightail link to footage of near misses around trams: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/E15aqaH38I