Footpath absence cause for concern

Traralgon resident Cherie Stone is calling on VicRoads and Latrobe City Council to make Traralgon more wheelchair friendly.

The 44 year-old, who was born with Facial Scapular Humeral Muscular Dystrophy, shares the same condition as her father, Bill Stone.

The pair, who both get around town in motorised wheelchairs, often travel on roads or miss out on their favourite shopping locations because there are no footpaths.

This is a concern particularly for Bill, who was hit by a car while in his wheelchair on Seymour and Kay streets in October last year.

“I’m more cautious now and a little bit timid,” Mr Stone said.

“I do a double-take now.”

Their areas of concern include the lack of footpaths at the end of Gwalia Street near Harvey Norman, on the highway between Fantastic Furniture and Bunnings Warehouse and no crossing opposite the Traralgon Fire Bridge and nearby bus stop.

Without a footpath, Ms Stone said her wheels had been bogged in the grass.

“They certainly need to be doing something about it. It’s not just for us in wheelchairs, but other people travelling up there, for example mothers with prams. Not everyone likes travelling like that,” she said.

Ms Stone said the leaders of the community had an opportunity to make Traralgon and surrounding towns a place for people with disabilities to access.

“It’s not for us to think, ‘Oh, I just can’t go there because I can’t get to it’,” Ms Stone said.

“Here is a challenge, put yourselves in our shoes for a day or two.

“There are more and more disabled people around now and we need to address these problems so that it will be a better future for others.”

VicRoads acting regional director Raymond Paterson said the roads authority would investigate the need for a crossing near the Traralgon Fire Brigade based on criteria.

Mr Paterson said all requests were prioritised for funding, according to traffic volumes, pedestrian activity levels, nearby land uses, the historical safety record of the site, the effectiveness of proposed treatments to improve pedestrian safety and implementation costs.

“Requests for footpaths or crossings on local roads should be addressed to council,” Mr Paterson said.

“VicRoads would be happy to be involved in any discussions with council about footpaths or crossings in the area.”

Council failed to respond to

The Express by time of print.