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Protest for safety

Providence Village resident Sylvia Merry (centre) and Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King (far right) with fellow Providence residents, who are protesting for a pedestrian crossing out the front of the residence in Griffith St. Photo - Meg Kennedy

By Meg Kennedy

All residents of the Providence Retirement Village want is to safely cross a road outside their home.

Angry protestors gathered outside the Griffith St residence in Maddingley last Thursday, to discuss options with local and federal government representatives for a potential lighted pedestrian crossing at the adjacent bus stop.

Providence Village is located on the south side of the busy thoroughfare, leaving elderly residents struggling to find a safe space to cross.

The road has seen an increase in traffic in the last few years following the development of the Stonehill Estate, as well as the nearby Bacchus Marsh College and Industrial Estate.

Representatives of Moorabool Shire Council, including Mayor Cr Paul Tatchell, Infrastructure General Manager Phil Jeffrey, Deputy Mayor Cr John Keogh and Cr Tonia Dudzik and Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King, heard from concerned residents about their need to safely cross the busy three-lane Griffith St road.

Ms King said for the residents of Providence Village to get into town, they have to cross 3-lanes of traffic – without lights and without a pedestrian crossing.

“This is not good enough,” she said.

“It’s not every day you see 90-year old aged-care residents standing outside on a cold winters day protesting, and I will continue to support these residents in any way I can as they keep up their campaign for Moorabool Council to provide the facilities they need.”

Although a traffic island is currently located on Franklin St, residents say it is too far away from the village, creates an uphill journey for elderly residents when returning, and is uneven ground for those who use scooters.

Potential interim options discussed included changes to the bus route, cutting out the road’s centre lane and an increase of speed cameras in the area.

Infrastructure Manager Phil Jeffrey told residents that a “full upgrade” of Griffith St was “in the pipeline” but emphasised a signalled pedestrian crossing outcome would “need more research”, highlighting criteria such as traffic numbers and the number of pedestrians per hour on the road.

“Yes, pedestrian safety is paramount, we don’t deny that, but also we need to think about the other traffic movers as well,” he said.

Protest organiser Sylvia Merry told the Moorabool News the ultimate goal for the protestors is to see a lighted pedestrian crossing located out the front of the village, so residents can safely catch the bus into the town centre.

“Moorabool Shire Council has put an interim refuge in Franklin Street, and that’s unacceptable to us. It doesn’t help our situation, we need something up here,” she said.

Ms Merry said the group has been protesting for seven years and that “we have tried several times, the Social Club of Providence Village has been trying to get it to happen, now we are taking a further stand.”

As for her message to government bodies who are in-charge of the area, Ms Merry said they need to “think about the elderly and give us something, because we need it.”

“We will take whatever measures we need to make it happen,” she said.

Mr Jeffrey confirmed to the Moorabool News that Griffith Street is a local road and Moorabool Shire is the responsible authority.

“Any traffic investigation, design and physical works will need to be funded by Council although we will look at opportunities for external funding of any proposed project on the road,” he said.