Commercial Road safety push

Members of the disability self advocacy group New Wave are calling on VicRoads to improve pedestrian safety. photograph hayley mills

Members of the disability self advocacy group New Wave are calling on VicRoads to improve pedestrian safety. photograph hayley mills

Members of the disability self advocacy group New Wave are calling on VicRoads and Latrobe City Council to improve pedestrian safety along Commercial Road in Morwell where their offices are located.

New Wave recently moved into the Tipping Foundation building and members said that on any given day up to 20 people with cognitive disabilities, including Tipping Foundation and Interchange Gippsland participants, may need to cross the busy road to access the bus stop.

New Wave self advocacy group deputy leader Kathryn Bartlett said the group had launched the campaign, along with a video interviewing different people with views on the issue, to highlight the existing safety issues with the road.

"It is unsafe for people to cross, and sometimes can't cross all the way. I often see near misses," she said.

"We see it is an issue and it needs to be changed and people need to come together and make a change for the better, not the worse.

VicRoads and [Latrobe City] Council need to come together and say it is a real issue."

Tipping Foundation disability support worker Caroline Kovacs regularly accompanies clients and participants across the busy stretch of road to the bus stop.

"It is very dangerous because we have traffic coming from both directions. We are very close to a corner where the bus depot is so we have a lot of buses and trucks to negotiate as well," she said.

"It is particularly busy at 10 to three in the afternoon when clients leave our centre.

"We have some independent travellers here at the centre but we have some that are not just confident to negotiate the traffic and need somebody to escort them for safety reasons."

Ms Kovacs said there were a number of things that needed to be considered when addressing safety at the site.

"In my personal opinion, I feel there is a speed sign very close to the end of Commercial Road that is an 80 sign. There is a lot of traffic that can see that sign in the distance," she said.

"Although they are supposed to be travelling at 60 kilometres an hour, they can see the 80 sign and they are speeding up already, too early, and that is also part of the problem.

"Another solution I can see is if there was a traffic island in the middle of the road we would be able to negotiated one direction of traffic and then safely pause in the centre, and then negotiate the other side and then complete the crossing."

VicRoads eastern regional director Scott Lawrence said VicRoads would like to thank the community for bringing the situation to VicRoads' attention.

"Safety is always our first priority and we will work collaboratively to deliver improvements and make this crossing safer," he said.

He said Latrobe City Council, VicRoads and PTV would work together to assess options to improve safety at Commercial Road.

Latrobe City Council acting general manager infrastructure and recreation Martin Teplik said Commerical Road west of the Jane Street overpass was managed by VicRoads.

"Council has only recently been made aware of this but is very interested in working cooperatively with these authorities to consider and implement safety improvements options for this location," he said.

"Council is always looking to provide positive road safety outcomes for the community and we will work with all levels of government, where appropriate, to facilitate safe outcomes wherever possible."

To view the video New Wave created, visit youtu.be/ycIRlQqhoZI.

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