Ballarat Region Pedestrian Safety
Mr HOWARD (Ballarat East)— I have an issue to raise with the Minister for Roads. I ask him to take action to construct pedestrian crossways at four priority sites in the new Buninyong electorate in the Ballarat region. Earlier this month representatives from Vision Australia as well as the Buninyong and District Community Association met with the member for Ballarat West and me in my office to raise their concerns about these four intersections they see as priorities and that are of particular concern to them.
The first of the intersections is in Hertford Street, Sebastopol, near the intersection with Albert Street. The second is in Victoria Street, Sebastopol, again very near the intersection with Albert Street.
The third is in Warrenheap Street, Buninyong, near the Bendigo Bank and other shops, and the fourth intersection raised with me is in Inglis Street, Ballan, near the Fisken Street intersection.
At the meeting I mentioned earlier we heard from several blind residents, including Shirley Mitchell, Sylvia Dickson, Fay Baxter and Natalie Jones, and they all spoke of their difficulty in trying to cross one or other of these streets. They enjoy the fact that they can get out as pedestrians and have a sense of independence. Some of them use guide dogs to assist them and others use walking sticks, but all of them have found that these streets present significant barriers to them. The streets are all near roundabouts where traffic flows fairly consistently and at a high flow rate, and this presents great difficulty for these people.
This is not just a problem for blind residents but also for children, for other people with mobility problems and for a range of other people who want to get along to the shopping areas in Albert Street, Sebastopol, or in Buninyong or Ballan, as I mentioned.
Vision Australia had a meeting earlier in January where VicRoads officers were in attendance, and it drew these intersections to their attention. I am hoping that VicRoads will get back to both me and those people to explain what might be able to be done, but certainly the priority is for the installation of pedestrian traffic lights, which will provide significant safety and security and enable them — and their guide dogs, for those who use guide dogs — to feel very confident. If the provision of pedestrian lights is not possible, then some other significant improvements need to be put in place to assist those people.