By CASEY NEILL
Cash is now the only thing holding back life-saving traffic lights at Robinson Street and Princes Highway in Dandenong.
Greater Dandenong Council’s business group manager Paul Kearsley told the Tuesday 14 June council meeting that he’d recently met with the VicRoads’ regional director.
“Whilst there was no funding available in the state budget recently, they are very confident that the project can proceed,” he said.
“We are now chasing down officers within VicRoads to meet with us … to actually get it started and get it rolling.
“This council has worked very hard in the past couple of years.”
Councillor Jim Memeti said there had been deaths at the corner.
“That will save lives. I’m really happy about that news,” he said.
Mr Kearsley later told the Journal that as central Dandenong continued to be redeveloped the intersection would become more heavily used.
“Signalising this intersection will result in improved motorist and pedestrian safety and will improve access to Dandenong’s central business district,” he said.
VicRoads metro south east regional director Aidan McGann confirmed that VicRoads had developed a proposal to install traffic lights at the junction.
“The proposal includes a fully-controlled right turn into Robinson Street and signalised pedestrian crossings across Robinson Street and the Princes Highway,” he said.
“The proposal would improve access and safety for all road users and support the Revitalising Central Dandenong initiative.
“VicRoads will continue to work with the council on this proposal and funding for its implementation.”
Tim Dionyssopoulos, a road trauma lawyer at Maurice Blackburn in Dandenong, told the Journal in September 2013 that the site would “claim more victims” unless VicRoads rectified driver confusion.
He said VicRoads documents showed there were 14 reported accidents at the intersection between July 2004 and July 2009 and his legal team had spoken to more accident victims since the study.
He said the lights there were pedestrian signals with a timing anomaly that meant people turning right into Robinson Street from the highway wrongly assumed oncoming traffic had a red light.
He also said drivers exiting Robinson Street saw traffic on the other side of the highway stopped at a red light and often incorrectly assumed oncoming traffic on the Robinson Street side was too.
Mr Dionyssopoulos welcomed the latest news from VicRoads “as a driver in the area, as well as a pedestrian, as well as seeing the impact on the people who’ve been involved in accidents there”.
The now-defunct Dandenong Retail Traders’ Association (DRTA) also championed the cause.
“The intersection is increasingly being used and on many occasions I have seen near-misses of both cars and pedestrians with confusion with the current light set-up, impatience of both people and drivers and increased traffic flow,” chairwoman Glenys Cooper said in 2013.