June 25, 2014  |  Adjournment

Midland Highway Sebastopol (Magpie Intersection)

Mr  HOWARD (Ballarat  East)—  I raise  a matter  for the  attention  of  the Minister for  Roads.  I  raise  this matter following a number of concerns being raised with  me in regard to safety at the intersection of  the Midland  Highway with  Docwra and Prince  streets  in Sebastopol. This  intersection  is close to Magpie Primary  School  and a school  crossing  has been established  near  this point.  VicRoads  has  recently  raised the  speed  limit associated  with  this intersection from the 70 kilometres per hour it previously had attached to it up to 80 kilometres per hour. Residents are concerned that this is an inappropriate change as  cars regularly approach  this intersection from  the south travelling too fast.

Residents believe it would have been much more  appropriate, given the nature of this intersection and its proximity to the school crossing, for the road to have attracted a speed limit of 60 kilometres per hour. I therefore ask the  minister to review the speed limit change as a matter of urgency, with a view to it being dropped to 60 kilometres per hour for traffic travelling on Albert Street or the Midland Highway in the vicinity of this intersection.

This  is  the southernmost  intersection  in Sebastopol,  and  it  would  appear appropriate to me that the speed limit be 60 kilometres per hour as this part of the road happens to mark the commencement of  the Sebastopol urban area, as well as  having, as I said, the Magpie  Primary  School  crossing  in  the  vicinity. Dropping the  speed limit is a response that would make complete sense to me, on behalf of all those people who attended a community meeting I  held last week at Magpie Primary School.

It was a well-attended meeting, and all of those people who attended, as well as being  concerned  about the  speed  limit change, expressed  the  view that  the intersection really  needs  some significant  attention  —  perhaps by  way  of establishing traffic lights or possibly a  roundabout  —  to  ensure that it is safer. Parents from the school and other residents in the area always feel it is a matter  of great  risk when they progress from  Docwra Street  and attempt  to either turn onto  the  Midland  Highway  or  cross over to Prince Street. Having looked  at the intersection, I can  see the concern there. I look forward to any response  the  minister  is  able  to make in addressing both  the  speed  issue associated with this area and the long-term upgrade of the intersection.

On a similar  matter associated with  the change from the  70-kilometre-per-hour speed limit, residents  from  Buninyong have expressed  the concern that as  you approach Buninyong  towards  Winter Street  from  the Sebastopol end,  the speed limit should have been dropped to 60  kilometres per hour also rather than being raised to 80 kilometres per hour.