Drama just before Christmas: On December 22nd, a kindergarten student died on Zurich’s Escher-Wyss-Platz.
The fatal accident at Escher-Wyss-Platz on December 22, 2022, in which a kindergarten teacher († 5) died, employs Lukas Nyffenegger (37), father of a baby and son Geronimo (3). “The tragic thing is that the parents recognized the danger and reported it – but the authorities didn’t react. And there are so many other intersections in Zurich where this is exactly the case.”
For example, around the corner from him, at Kreuzplatz. “We have this incredibly dangerous pedestrian crossing here. My son has almost been hit twice – and this with me and once with his mother!» He tried to talk to the city police and the city of Zurich, but was put off. “Does something always have to happen first?” asks Nyffenegger.
“Everyone simply blasts through here”
The problem at Kreuzplatz: the cars have to fight their way through the intersection. And when it’s finally green, they want to jet off in the direction of Forch and the Zurich Oberland. So, after the previous test of patience, they quickly accelerate to 50 km/h over the next few meters. Then comes the pedestrian crossing between Coop and Denner. And drivers roll over the yellow stripes at high speed because they don’t want to stop immediately.
‘It’s insane. Here everyone simply rushes through instead of keeping it for the weakest, »says Nyffenegger. “The position would actually be clear.”
His opinion: “The problem could be solved relatively easily. You could do 30 km/h for one to two hundred meters or place the pedestrian sign further forward and add some paint.”
“It’s just taking too long”
Instead, the city police advised him on the first call to simply stop using this dangerous pedestrian crossing. “But the recommended detour also had its pitfalls, which is why we take this pedestrian crossing again,” says Nyffenegger.
The father of two was even less pleased with the reaction of the city of Zurich when he reported the dangerous situation. “They comforted us with the fact that a pedestrian island was planned in two years. But that just takes way too long. When parents report dangerous intersections – like at Escher-Wyss-Platz or here at Kreuzplatz – then fast, uncomplicated, inexpensive solutions are needed.»
The city of Zurich receives many reports from the population
The security department of the city of Zurich rejects the allegations of the father. “The city receives a lot of reports, suggestions and requests from the population, which it takes very seriously and follows up on the information. Depending on the case, an on-site inspection is carried out and, in coordination with other service departments, the answers are formulated and possible measures are defined if they have not already been taken, »says Communications Manager Robert Soos on Blick.
The security department considers Nyffenegger’s allegations to be generalizing. Soos makes it clear: “The city of Zurich pays a lot of attention to traffic safety. However, improvements in road traffic take a certain amount of time – for legal reasons, for example.”
“Every road user is challenged”
Since the investigation into the accident at Escher-Wyss-Platz is still ongoing, there is no point in assigning blame. Soos on this: “The school children are trained by the city police so that they can manage the way to school. If concerned parents turn to the school instruction, an individual case is considered and appropriate advice is given. »
Basically, the safety department states that road safety can be improved with planning measures – but that the human factor also plays a role. “Of course, as road users, we are all required to contribute to the safety of others with our behavior.”
On Wednesday, the Zurich public prosecutor’s office announced that it had opened criminal proceedings against two drivers and a truck driver who are said to be involved in the accident.