Four Epsom Primary School students, concerned about the safety of their classmates, are leading the charge to have a crossing supervisor reinstated at a major intersection near their school.
Grade six students Marnie Whitfort and Skye Webb, along with grade two pupils Grace Storey and Ava Dangerfield, have written and distributed a petition to gain public support to have a ‘lollypop person’ stationed where Howard Street crosses the Midland Highway.
They will present their petition and their concerns to the City of Greater Bendigo at next week’s ordinary council meeting.
But there is some hope on the horizon: City of Greater Bendigo engineering manager Brett Martini has confirmed the council plans to submit a funding bid for a supervisor for the 2018-19 financial year to VicRoads shortly.
Councils share funding responsibility for crossing supervisors with VicRoads.
There was a crossing supervisor at the intersection, but they were moved to Goynes Road in 2015.
Students walking or riding to school from the east of the highway must cross the busy road.
Ava said the green man signal changed to red “pretty quickly”, while Marnie added that vehicles tended to speed up when the lights changed to amber.
“I wanted the traffic lights over there to be safe and the students to be safe when crossing the road,” Ava said.
The students believe more of their classmates would be allowed to walk to school, if such a risk was addressed.
Skye and Marnie had thought to write to principal Lyn Coulter on their concerns about the intersection as part of lessons on letter-writing, but when Councillor Andrea Metcalf joined one of the school’s ‘walking buses’ last week, she suggested they start a petition.
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Since then the four girls have delivered petitions to several local businesses in a bid to procure support for their idea, including Epsom Woolworths, Epsom Milkbar, Coles McIvor Road, the Reject Shop, the Epsom Post Office, the BP service station, and McIvor Road Fish and Chips.
Skye said they had attracted 143 signatures within about three days from one location alone.
The students’ campaign has the backing of the school, which shares the concerns about the intersection.
“It’s only a matter of time until someone gets hit,” Mrs Coulter said.
Making it safer for children to walk or ride to school, she said, would also support the city’s vision of building a healthy community.
Mrs Coulter said the school was growing, so it would only become more of an issue.