A GROUP of Mt Eliza residents wants Mornington Peninsula Shire to build a footpath along Baden Powell Drive between Humphries Road and Nepean Highway to make “this treacherous piece of road” safer for pedestrians.
Spokesperson Mandy Barr said the footpath would link the Baden Powell side of Frankston South and Canadian Bay Road footpaths, leading to schools, community centres, Mt Eliza village and, eventually, to Mornington “when the footpath is completed along Nepean Highway”.
“This pathway needs to be an immediate priority under Mornington Peninsula Shire’s pedestrian access strategy as it is clearly a strategic investment,” she said. “It takes into consideration pedestrian safety, connection to facilities, community requests as well as environmental, social and economic impacts.
“It would link up a strategic network of connected paths that would encourage people to walk, run and pursue other outdoor activities.
“It should be considered as an integral part of the path network for the Mt Eliza township and the shire overall.”
The group is frustrated that Baden Powell Drive is not included in the shire’s draft pedestrian access strategy even though it a “major thoroughfare”.
Ms Barr described it as a “connector road for cars, trucks, buses from Nepean highway through to Frankston”. She said it was a shortcut and a service road used when Nepean Highway is closed due to accidents anywhere between the base of Olivers Hill, Frankston South, up to Canadian Bay Road, Mt Eliza.
The road is the continuation of Kars Street, Frankston, meaning traffic also comes up the back way to cut through to Nepean highway.
“The path would increase safety for all residents, especially younger children, the elderly and the disabled, who currently can’t safely use this stretch of road,” she said.
“It is only a matter of time before someone is hit by a car, injured or even worse given the narrow shoulders, and poor lighting on the windy road from Nepean Highway along Baden Powell Drive.
“Children currently have no way to commute (supervised or otherwise) to the many facilities available nearby.”
Ms Barr said “despite multiple inquiries by residents before the strategy was published, together with 200 signatures gathered in 72 hours, the council had again left this important link off its future plans”.
The group met with council officers recently who suggested they beautify and clean up the reserve alongside Baden Powell Drive. “They said we should start volunteer groups which could give us access to council grants,” Ms Barr said.
“Then our footpath proposal would be more appealing to the council as we all chip in and make it a friendly environment.
“Community safety is our main priority on this connector road,” she said. “We are ratepayers who pay a high premium to live on the peninsula.
“We have no direct bus service to Mt Eliza so if we do not drive we have to take to the street to get to public facilities and village. My kids walk home from the village bus stop at their own risk crossing a busy highway and along a bustling Baden Powell Drive.”
Transport for Victoria told the group that Mt Eliza presented a “significant challenge for effective service planning, as potential bus routes are obliged to take winding, circuitous steep roads that result in increased journey times for passengers as well as significantly increasing service delivery cost”.
Ms Barr countered: “Five days a week numerous private school buses go up and down Humphries Road and Baden Powell Drive in peak hour.”
Mornington Peninsula Shire was contacted for comment.