Billson calls for pedestrian safety upgrade at dangerous intersection in Mt Eliza

Local Federal MP, Bruce Billson, is calling for a pedestrian safety upgrade at a key intersection in Mt Eliza to improve safety for people with a vision impairment and school children.

Mr Billson recently met with new constituent Robert Spicer, who is vision impaired, and expressed safety concerns when travelling around the Mt Eliza township and also when crossing the Nepean Highway at Canadian Bay Road.

People with a vision impairment have expressed their concerns for not only themselves, but for the safety of the community in being able to safely manoeuvrer around the township while maintaining a level of independence.

I recently joined Robert, his guide dog Kenji and his carer Bernie at the intersection of the Nepean Highway and Canadian Bay Road, to get a first-hand account of how the traffic volume, vehicle direction and road noise made ‘listening’ for an opportunity to cross particularly dangerous.

I am calling for a pedestrian safety review at the intersection as pedestrian markings have been scuffed away and due to the high volume of traffic, many feel their safety is compromised.

In order to cross the road safely, pedestrians are being forced to use the Mt Eliza Way Pedestrian Bridge, which adds a lot of time and kilometres to a short journey.

New constituent Robert Spicer said he uses his guide dog Kenji when carrying out daily shopping and banking tasks and is too afraid to cross at the intersection without the help of his carer, Bernie Slagtman.

Mr Spicer said pedestrian signals are of no benefit when crossing the road but a clear sound or audio signal that conveys when it is safe to walk. It would also provide a huge boost for my independence and mobility.

According to VicRoads, in the four years to 2010, 67 per cent of fatal and serious pedestrian incidents involved pedestrians crossing roads and 75 per cent of these occurred during the week.

Previous representations to VicRoads found only a limited number of audio-tactile devices for signalled pedestrian crossings are funded each year and these seem to be predominantly in the inner–metro area.

VicRoads has informed me that the full 2013-14 financial year budget allocation for pedestrian improvements has been assigned.

I am pleading with the State Member, David Morris, and VicRoads to review safety at this key Mt Eliza intersection to improve safety for pedestrians and road users.