By Bonny Burrows
The need for a pedestrian crossing in a booming Pakenham estate is being investigated by Cardinia Shire Council following community calls.
The council is undertaking a review of Windermere Boulevard after more than 600 people signed a petition by Cardinia Lakes resident Dave Roberts, calling for upgrades to the road to allow for safe pedestrian access.
The petition asks that as a matter of high priority, the council “identify and provide areas where pedestrians with access issues or prams can cross with provisions of ramps, preferably at all intersections in the road section of Windermere Boulevard between the Princes Highway and the Superior Waters roundabout, within two months of recipient of this petition”.
It also requests the shire “identify the best location and provide a safe pedestrian crossing as close as practicable to the Windermere Boulevard shops”, within six months of the petition date.
Mr Roberts said currently, there was no place to walk across the road, “let alone if you’re in a wheelchair”.
The local said he had raised this issue with the council 18 months ago, but it “was put in the too hard, too expensive basket”.
However, following the tabling of the petition at January’s general council meeting, the council appears to have listened.
A traffic counter was placed on the road on 19 February and the council’s officers have arranged for traffic and pedestrian surveys to be undertaken and completed by April.
Council staff also met with Mr Roberts onsite to discuss the situation.
Cardinia Shire councillor Michael Schilling, who tabled the petition at the January meeting, said the council needed to work with locals to “determine the best possible outcome”.
“This has been an ongoing issue for the local community and does need to be resolved before someone does get injured,” Cr Schilling said.
Deputy Mayor Brett Owen said with the opening of the new Pakenham North East Primary School next year, it was “very timely” to address the issue now.
Despite this, Mr Roberts is not convinced a solution will be implemented before the 2019 school year.
Instead, he fears traffic will only increase with future development, and also expressed concerns school traffic would spill over into the car parking for the Cardinia Lakes Shopping Centre.
“I’m confident we’ll have a crossing point, but I’m not confident it will be a zebra crossing (by then),” Mr Roberts said.
“Still, we’ll see how we go and keep working towards a strategy.
“If I have to be that guy that stands up at every council meeting demanding answers, I will.”