By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Crossing at a notorious Stud Road pedestrian black-spot has been compared to a perilous game of ‘Frogger’.
Just like the video game, pedestrians crossing between Cheam Street and the Dandenong Basketball Stadium must navigate across six lanes of fast-moving traffic.
The 80 km/h road is what’s between an established residential area and a vast network of walking and cycling paths, wetlands, a bus stop and the basketball stadium.
It is more than a kilometre from signalised pedestrian crossings north at Bradys Road and south at Heatherton Road.
On 9 July, Greater Dandenong Council confirmed it was advocating to VicRoads to install a signalised pedestrian crossing.
Acting engineering services director Craig Cinquegrana said the crossing would improve pedestrian safety and encourage public transport use for basketball stadium patrons.
Since 5 April, the spot has become imbued with tragedy. A woman in her 50s was fatally struck by a vehicle as she crossed the road that afternoon.
Dandenong North resident Lana Formoso wrote to Greater Dandenong Council’s public question time about the issue.
She has vivid memories of her first attempt to cross Stud Road with her two young children to go for a bike ride in Dandenong North’s wetlands.
Shocked by the heavy traffic, she carried her children one-by-one across the service lane and road, took them to a safe-point at the basketball stadium and then hauled their bikes across.
“It was like a game of Frogger.
“I now use the car to drive just 200 metres – just to get across.”
Ms Formoso said it was unrealistic to expect residents to make a two-kilometre detour to use the nearest crossings.
Dandenong Basketball Association general manager Graeme Allen said the stadium supported the need for a crossing, together with a signalised intersection for vehicles at McFees Road.
He said there were regular collisions between cars attempting to enter and exit the stadium on Stud Road.
“Losing one life is one life too many.”
According to VicRoads, in the five years before the 5 April crash there were no pedestrian-related crashes on Stud Road between Cheam Street and McFees Road.
Its regional movement and safety manager Sasha Yarwood said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of life and our hearts go out to the family and friends of those involved in this crash.
“Following every death on our roads, VicRoads reviews the site and works extensively with Victoria Police on their investigation.”
In assessing funding requests, VicRoads considers factors such as crash history, traffic volume, cost, type of road users and the affect on the wider road network.