Junortoun is a community divided, and residents want to see that change.
Cutting the suburb in half is the McIvor Highway, a major route connecting Bendigo to Melbourne, on which cars travel at speeds of 80, 90 or 100 kilometres per hour.
Residents say frequent crashes are a result of the conflict between local and through-traffic, and that the highway poses a risks to pedestrians and cyclists crossing.
Junortoun’s community action group has called for the City of Greater Bendigo to address the challenges posed by the highway, in a submission made on Monday to the council’s review of the planning scheme for greater Bendigo.
Secretary of the Junortoun Community Action Group Kevin de Vries said up to 90 percent of trips for residents involved the McIvor Highway.
To access schools, shops and medical services, people who live in Junortoun must turn onto the highway where it intersects with their local road.
These intersections have seen many crashes between through traffic and turning vehicles according to Mr de Vries.
As the suburb grows the problem has become more severe.
“Cars get collected by fast moving through-traffic that come up from behind them, and get rear ended,” Mr de Vries said.
“There’s been many, many serious accidents, and we would like to see turning lanes, particularly in the areas closer to Bendigo.”
It's not just car safety that’s a concern.
Mr de Vries’ children are now at the age where they want to move around the suburb and visit friends on their own.
But there’s no chance he would let them cross the McIvor Highway on foot, it’s just not safe.
They are among the many residents whose movements are hampered by the highway.
The speed and type of traffic make it a hostile environment for those crossing.
But travel withing Junortoun, residents must go over the highway.
“It really is a very unforgiving road if you’re trying to be a pedestrian,” Mr de Vries said.
“It’s a barrier for people who want to walk around their community, it’s a barrier to cycling, it’s a barrier to people using the O’Keefe rail trail.
“To make our suburb, our community, more enjoyable for pedestrians and cyclists, we really need to look at the vulnerable road users and make it safe for them as well.”
For this reason the community’s action group has called for the installation of safe crossing points along the highway.
In April the state government announced it would spend $3.5 million on upgrades to the highway.
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