Trapped by the light

A Noble Park man says these lights have trapped him inside his home. 174601 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Casey Neill

A partially-blind Noble Park man says new traffic lights have made him a prisoner in his own home.
Brian Fernando, 68, lives alone in the Athol Road address he’s called home for about 35 years.
“I was looking after mum for 17 years and she passed away a few years ago,” he said.
He said Greater Dandenong Council installed traffic lights outside his Noble Street earlier this year.
“I’m partially blind at the moment because of my diabetes,” he said.
“I have to see the doctor about three times a month.
“I take a taxi.
“They toot or they abuse because the taxis stop there.
“There’s no parking in front of the house.
“If you’re lucky you can get a parking spot on the side road.”
Mr Fernando said it was now difficult to turn into his driveway from either direction.
“I’ve lost so many friends. My friends won’t come to see me now,” he said.
“I can’t get out of the house because of the traffic. They toot you.
“I’m imprisoned in my own house.”
Mr Fernando said a council representative told him that residents received notification of the proposed project by mail.
“I never got a letter,” he said.
“They never consulted us.
“They said it was because of accidents.
“Sure, there were accidents there, but the thing is, the traffic lights are not going to stop the accidents.
“Speed humps, they would have stopped the accidents.
“Traffic lights have nothing to do with the speeding.”
He said the lights remained green at night.
“That doesn’t stop them from drag racing,” he said.
The council’s engineering services director, Julie Reid, said residents were advised of the proposal and invited to comment prior to the council installing the lights.
She said some residents did comment on the proposed project.
“Access to any private property has not been impacted, and the property referred to has on-site parking available,” she said.
Ms Reid said the Federal Government funded the lights.
“It was identified as a black spot with a history of casualty crashes,” she said.
“The project design was assessed by an independent road safety auditor and the result is now a much safer outcome for the community.”
Ms Reid said the council considered a roundabout, and in September 2015 the Journal reported that the Federal Government Nation Building Blackspot Program had contributed $293,000 for just that.
“However due to constraints this was not determined to be the most effective treatment,” she said.