THE Esplanade through Mount Martha and south past The Pillars has been described as “a death trap” for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
The issue is not new, with Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and the state government have been debating for years on how to manage traffic and parking on the narrow road around The Pillars and Mount Martha village.
The shire last year asked the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to pay for a study into building a pedestrian boardwalk to The Pillars “based on the outcomes” of a yet-to-be completed report.
But Mount Martha resident Andrew Postregna said the time for talking was over.
He said that since moving to the areas 13 years ago, he and his wife had seen an increase in traffic, cyclists and pedestrians around the village and The Pillars, and had witnessed “countless” accidents and near-misses.
“I’m sure one day there will be a fatality and maybe only then will the council or government do something about it,” Mr Postregna said.
“Reducing the speed limit is not the answer but improving the road and access to The Esplanade and Pillars is the answer.”
Mr Postregna suggested widening The Esplanade between Mount Martha village to Safety Beach to cater for cyclists, and a continuous, dedicated bike lane in both directions from Mornington to Portsea.
“A boardwalk from Mount Martha to The Pillars would also cater for pedestrians who walk along The Esplanade to get there,” he said.
“In the short term a quick fix would be to trim the shrubs … [to take] pedestrians off the road and give them space to walk along the tight shoulder.”
The narrowness and danger of the road was highlighted last week when a stretch limo driver stopped and blocked traffic near The Pillars and was fined by police.
Over summer police and shire local laws officers are kept busy booking motorists parked in no standing areas or banked up opposite double lines near the well-known cliff-jumping spot.
Despite this, it seems unlikely any changes are going to come soon.
Vince Punaro, executive director Metro South-East, Department of Transport, said the department was monitoring The Esplanade in Mount Martha, and working with the shire “to ensure it remains safe”.
“All road users have a responsibility to ensure safety on our roads, we urge all road users to share the road, be patient and give each other space”.
The road was too narrow for bike lanes.
Under Victoria’s mandatory minimum passing laws, motorists must leave a minimum one-metre distance when passing cyclists along this road, where the speed limit is 60kph.
Mr Punaro said roadside maintenance by the department included vegetation management, litter collection and graffiti removal.
However, The Esplanade is considered an urban roadside, and as such, the roadside vegetation is the responsibility of the [shire council}. Therefore, any decision about a boardwalk would also be a council decision.
The shire was contacted for comment but did not respond before deadline.