New crossings installed in safety win, but blind spot causes some concern

New crossings installed in safety win, but blind spot causes some concern
Brendan Rees

Residents have welcomed two new zebra crossings at two busy intersections in Southbank, however the position of one is causing some concern with traffic turning into City Rd.

Pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Balston and Kavanagh streets, as well as Balston St and City Rd were installed in May, making it safer to access the popular Boyd Park and Melbourne Square.

The City of Melbourne has also installed narrow road humps, a speed cushion and traffic islands, to further slow traffic near the crossings.

The zebra crossings are designed to be highly visible, in what community group Southbank3006 vice-president Jannine Pattison said was “an incredible win for local street safety”.

“We are incredibly pleased that the City of Melbourne had been proactive in implementing these infrastructure improvements,” she said.

“I would like to extend a personal thank you to the Lord Mayor for taking the time to walk around Southbank with me to discuss the problems with traffic and the pressures on the current infrastructure due to population and development increases.”

However, while very pleased the crossing at Balston St and City Rd had been completed, Ms Pattison said the position of it had caused some concerns “with cars stopping on the crossing to gain visibility of any oncoming cars travelling along City Rd.”

“This renders the crossing near useless. It really should have been set back two or three metres from the corner. Hopefully this is something that can be addressed.”

Ms Pattison said low light was also making it difficult for pedestrians stepping onto the crossing at Balston St and Kavanagh St.

“I was of the understanding that lighting was to be installed to increase visibility at the zebra crossings,” she said.

“However, I remain optimistic that the City of Melbourne is hearing the voices of Southbank3006 and the residents of Southbank and we are seeing the fruits of our advocacy.”

“While low-traffic neighbourhoods are at the heart of our wish list for Southbank, we will continue to celebrate the small wins that put people first.”

Southbank Residents’ Association president Tony Penna said he was delighted the crossings had been installed after the issue was raised before the pandemic.

The City of Melbourne’s 2023–24 budget includes more than $12 million to renew and maintain roads and footpaths across almost 80 locations, including $4.2 million to fix potholes and improve road surfaces. Upcoming projects in the council’s footpath renewal program in Southbank include Whiteman St (between Clarendon St and Cecil St), as well as Cecil St (between Whiteman St and “SM0337”, an unnamed laneway alongside Yarra Crest apartments).

In other projects, the City of Port Phillip has recently completed works to upgrade the footpath on City Rd between Cecil St and West Gate Freeway overpass/Ballantyne St.

“The footpaths were due for renewal and work entailed reducing the footpath width from approximately six metres wide to three metres wide to support the installation of new garden beds as part of our Greening Port Phillip Strategy, as well as the removal of crossovers which are no longer in use,” Port Phillip Mayor Heather Cunsolo said. •

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