Bell Street, Heidelberg West: median strip

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I wish to raise my concerns about the government’s failure to deal with the decision of VicRoads to close the access from Bell Street to the Mall shopping centre and the local TAFE in Heidelberg. I point out that the closure of the median strip at the intersection of Bell Street and Coomalie Crescent will force cars used by students and Mall customers to drive along suburban streets such as Altona and Tarakan streets and Tobruk Avenue. Delivery trucks will also use this route. This area has 40-kilometre-an-hour speed limits because of the proximity of the local primary school. Despite 18 months of opposition to the proposal, VicRoads has belligerently and doggedly pursued its agenda, for which there is no community support.

I raised this matter with the Minister for Public Transport in the adjournment debate on 3 May. He said what he would do for the member for Ivanhoe was arrange a briefing on this issue and he would be more than happy to have a discussion with the member for Ivanhoe about other solutions that could be put into place. I have had no further response.

Last week VicRoads wrote to traders to tell them that the works were going to begin. VicRoads is going to impose this solution on the community. We met with VicRoads senior management last week. They did not want me at the meeting; they only wanted to meet with the traders. I attended the meeting anyway, at the traders’ request. I received another call this morning informing me that VicRoads had decided to pursue these roadworks at a cost of $800 000.

It has refused to look at any of the other solutions that have been put forward by the community and has refused to provide any of the information it committed to provide at the meeting last week.

I note that the Ombudsman’s report this year states that complaints about VicRoads account for 5 per cent of the total number of complaints received.