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Footpath not so fine and Danby

15 Jul 2013

Footpath not so fine and Danby Image

Federal parliamentarian Michael Danby has weighed in on the closure of the footpath on Queensbridge St, penning a letter of distress to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle on behalf of local residents.

The local member was moved to action through the constant agitation of residents’ safety concerns.

Writing the letter on behalf of several residents who had spoken to him about the footpath closure, Mr Danby said the closure was causing a significant safety risk to locals.

Talking about the letter, Mr Danby even said that local residents feared: “that eventually someone will be injured or at the very worst killed because of the frustration that has been caused by the three year footpath closure.”

“This is an extremely busy section of Queensbridge St and the closure of this section of the footpath is placing local residents and other pedestrians at risk, particularly as some people while commuting in the area must cross the busy road numerous times to reach their destination,” Mr Danby said.

He also blasted both the council and the State Government for their collective lack of consultation on the issue with locals.

“The council and the State Government have offered no assistance to the local community regarding this problem and I have written to the Lord Mayor asking that he look into the safety of local residents and taxpayers and find a solution to this problem and re-open this section of the footpath.”

As reported in February’s Southbank Local News the footpath, on the eastern side of Queensbridge St, between Queensbridge Square and Power St, is closed during working hours while the construction of Prima Pearl takes place.

Since that article, Southbank Local News has also received two “Letters to the Editor” from concerned residents about the footpath closure.

The Lord Mayor replied to Mr Danby’s letter, saying the council’s position on the footpath closure would not be reversed.

He pointed out that public safety was the City of Melbourne’s number one priority when deciding to close the footpath.

“Due to the existence of overhead electrical assets above Queensbridge St, Brookfield Multiplex (principal contractor for the construction of Prima Pearl) advised that they could not install a protective gantry over the footpath which would have allowed for safe pedestrian access past the construction site,” Cr Doyle wrote.

“Brookfield Multiplex has placed traffic controllers at both ends of these footpath closures to manage pedestrians past the worksite in a safe manner.”

In response to Mr Danby’s letter, a council spokesperson said she could only reiterate the position previously stated on the footpath.

In February, the council told Southbank Local News: “It is generally not necessary to close a footpath for long periods as part of a major development, however this site presents a number of challenges such as being located at the intersection of two major roads and the proximity and number of overhead power cables that are unable to be easily relocated.”

“The arrangement has minimised any potential disruption to vehicle traffic along Queensbridge St and into Power St,” the spokesperson said.

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