February 19, 2014  |  Adjournment

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.