Crossing the road in Sebastopol – how hard will it be?

November 20, 2014 – 11:40AM

By Keryn Reynolds

Rival candidates in the forthcoming state election have traded allegations about what one might think is a simple issue – a planned pedestrian crossing in Sebastopol.

Last week Liberal candidate for Buninyong Mr Ben Taylor announced a $150,000 safety upgrade at the intersection of Hertford and Albert Streets in Sebastopol should the coalition be re-elected.

But Labor’s Mr Geoff Howard told UniPollWatch that the $150,000 costing ‘will prove to be totally inadequate’ with the real cost being ‘closer to $1 million’.

Mr Howard said Mr Taylor was unable to provide a plan of the proposed crossing and was not supported by the Roads Minister, any other Minister, or VicRoads when he made the announcement.

Mr Howard said he was continuing to work with Mr Luke Donnellan, the Shadow Minister for the Suburbs, to gain a pedestrian friendly solution at the intersection.

He claimed that VicRoad’s advice was that a pedestrian crossing with pedestrian lights was unlikely to be deliverable.

‘There is no suitable site for a pedestrian crossing within 100 meters of the roundabout,’ Mr Howard said.

Last week Mr Taylor said that the funding announcement was largely due to the work of Mr Chris Mennie from Vision Australia.

Mr Mennie is an orientation and mobility specialist with Vision Australia, a leading national provider of blindness and low vision services in Australia.

It appears however, that Mr Taylor has incorrectly used the name of the not-for-profit organisation in his campaigning.

A spokeswoman for Vision Australia told UniPollWatch that Mr Mennie’s activism on the issue was not connected to his role at Vision Australia, and was a ‘personal project’.

Mr Mennie is currently overseas and could not be contacted by UniPollWatch for comment.

VicRoads did not respond to UniPollWatch questions on whether the proposed crossing was appropriately funded at $150, 000, located at a suitable site or approved by them. ( @kerynbuninyong)


Keryn Reynolds is a Master of Journalism student at the University of Melbourne