Having witnessed – for the umpteenth time – yet another near miss involving a dickhead driver and small children, the amazing Mrs. Bucharest Life yesterday decided to try and make one tiny part of Bucharest safer for children. As such, she has started a campaign to have traffic lights installed at the intersection of Bulevardul Marasesti and Strada Cuza Voda. This intersection:
Currently, children going to or coming from School 79 on Strada Cuza Voda have to use a simple, poorly marked pedestrian crossing, which – as anyone who has tried to use a pedestrian crossing in Bucharest will know – is not easy. Drivers – usually coming at great speed from the Bulevardul Dimitrie Cantemir/Marasesti intesection 300 metres or so away (itself the scene of the most accidents in the whole of Sector 4, we understand) rarely stop at the pedestrian crossing: even if there are children waiting to cross. (And when they do stop, they usually stop on the crossing). Worse, many impatient drivers pull out from behind cars which have stopped in order to overtake on the crossing, not giving any thought to the fact that the car in front might have stopped because, erm, there are children crossing. This is when accidents happen. Given that the delightful drivers of Bucharest are not likely to change their habits, the only way to prevent further incidents is to install traffic lights at the intersection so that cars are forced to stop. That is what we are now trying to achieve.
The first thing we did was to contact the local police: Sectia 14 is right next to School 79. Though they said they did not deal with such things, they did say who does – the Brigada Rutiera Bucuresti (Bucharest Traffic Police) – and provided the telephone number.
When we contacted the Brigada Rutiera they were polite and helpful, and explained the procedure. Firstly, we need to prepare a formal application stating our motives. This we will do, backed up with a petition including the signatures of as many parents at the school as possible. The application will be presented to the Brigada Rutiera and the Administratia Drumirilor, before being passed on to the local council, who will have to approve it. Once approved, a tender is held and the work carried out. All very easy in theory: we will see how it pans out, and keep you posted. It is worth noting however that the Brigada Rutiera were reassuring in their assertion that there is no reason it cannot be done, although they were just as keen to point out that it may take a while.
As with anything in this city we will believe it when we see it, but we are going to try our utmost to make it happen.
Meantime, if you know the intersection in question and want to sign our petition or help us out in any other way, do get in touch.