Residents calls for pedestrian crossing at Boyd Park amid safety concerns

Brendan Rees

A long-term Southbank resident is pushing for a pedestrian crossing to be installed at an intersection at Boyd Park amid safety fears.

Jannine Pattison, a resident of 16 years, said there was no safe way to cross the intersection of Kavanagh St and Balston St with traffic having increased with a new Woolworths at Melbourne Square and other residential developments.

“Ideally, a crossing at the Kavanagh St end as well as the City Rd end would make the crossing much safer as this would also act to slow down the cars as they travel down Balston St,” she said, adding it was only a matter of time before someone was seriously injured or killed.

“I also believe the council should consider speed humps down Balston St and Kavanagh St as an additional precaution.”

In a statement, the City of Melbourne said it was in talks with the Department of Transport about a pedestrian crossing at Boyd Park.

Ms Pattison, who is also leading a campaign for improved safety at the intersection of City Rd and Kavanagh St, said it was vital authorities considered a crossing at Boyd Park as it became more popular during the warmer months.

“I, myself, have almost been hit many times as I cross the street due to cars in my blind spot, cars driving at an excessive speed for the road or simply a car that pulls out of a parking spot without looking,” she said.

“A pedestrian crossing would draw drivers’ attention to pedestrians and will give pedestrians a safer way to cross the road. There has been a crossing installed at the Southbank Blvd end of Kavanagh St and this does not see anywhere near the same amount of foot traffic as the Balston St end towards the park.”

Ms Pattison said she had not launched a petition at this stage, but had spoken with Lord Mayor Sally Capp and walked her around the area showing her “the dangers faced every day” by the residents of Southbank.

Ms Pattison said she had followed up two emails with the council regarding the issue “with no response of any real commitment to address these concerns”.

She said with another development proposed near Boyd Park “now is the time to act and get this pedestrian crossing installed before we have an accident”.

According to the City Rd Masterplan which was endorsed by City of Melbourne in 2016, new signalised pedestrian crossings have been proposed at Clarke and Balston streets, while a one has already been installed at Alexandra Ave (between St Kilda Rd and Linlithgow Ave). The council said the masterplan was on track for a consultation period in early 2022.

Southbank Residents’ Association president Tony Penna said as a concept, a pedestrian crossing at Boyd Park has “got some merit”.

“I don’t see any harm in a pedestrian crossing there. I have no doubt that the City of Melbourne will have some sort of statistics and benchmarks,” he said.

He added it would be difficult to comment “without knowing what criteria the council uses to determine if a place needs a pedestrian crossing”.

Resident Manju Vagh, who moved to Southbank last month and takes her eight-month-old daughter to Boyd Park every day, said she welcomed the idea of a crossing as traffic could be “confusing” at the intersection, not knowing if cars were “coming or going”.

A Department of Transport spokesperson said it was working closely with the City of Melbourne in examining ways to improve safety for pedestrians and road users, including around Southbank’s Boyd Park.

“We will continue to monitor traffic and safety on our arterial roads in the area, and we are always exploring ways to make our network safer,” the spokesperson said.

The department said it was currently assessing plans for a pedestrian-operated signal crossing from Hannah St, next to Boyd Park, which the City of Melbourne has proposed.

This proposal also involves changes for cyclists along Hannah St and under the Kings Way underpass •

 

Picture: Cameron Grant.

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