THE numbers don’t lie and right now Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said the numbers don’t add up.
And he said ongoing indecision around the numbers is putting local schoolchildren at risk.
Mr Walsh stood up in Parliament this week in an urgent bid to save the Echuca East Primary School pedestrian crossing.
“According to VicRoads supervised children’s crossings are eligible for subsidy if the following condition is met – where the number of children (minimum 20) multiplied by the number of vehicles in the hour (minimum 100) exceeds 5000,” Mr Walsh said.
“Student safety is being put at risk by the closure of the Eyre St school crossing in Echuca’s east,” he said.
“A decision based on outdated data from July 2018.
“A recent count by school staff – which was videoed as supporting evidence – shows the crossing not only meets the criteria to be kept open; it has blown the figures off the charts.
“This crossing must be kept open for the safety of those students, and it would be a totally irresponsible decision if it was closed.”
Echuca East Primary School staff conducted the unofficial count – for 30 minutes, not the department’s one hour.
In that time their video showed motor vehicle traffic in that stretch of Eyre St has soared in the past two years.
The counts were:
- Wednesday 10 June: 82 students and 131 vehicles (PxV 10,742)
- Thursday 11 June: 57 students and 108 vehicles (PxV 6156)
- Friday 12 June – 70 students and 105 vehicles (PxV 10,500)
“And remember, those figures are for 30 minutes, even if you only double them to match the VicRoads one hour, the lowest traffic day more than doubles the funding benchmark,” Mr Walsh added.
“The school strongly feels these numbers warrant further assessment – and before the removal of this crossing, not after – because the school shows it and the wider community are right about this case, it must stay,” he said.
“Without the VicRoads funding, the retention of this crossing will cost Campaspe Shire $16,752 – you have to wonder at the financial impact of removing the crossing infrastructure considering the likelihood it will certainly require reinstatement.”