By HANNAH COHEN
Bayside City Council residents have protested the closure of a Hampton pedestrian crossing where a resident was killed when she was struck by a train in April.
The ‘Make it Safer’ rally took place on Saturday morning, where protestors called for the dangerous Grenville Street crossing to be modified, rather than closed.
They called for a safety upgrade, including the addition of gates and bells to minimise the risk for locals crossing the double tracks.
Resident Stuart Worn led the campaign after he said politicians ignored numerous letters and emails he sent in a bid to highlight the community's safety concerns.
Mr Worn said he hoped the rally would increase the campaign’s visibility and prompt a proactive response from the state government.
“I started a campaign with my neighbours to remind the government that they’d said they would install gates and bells at our pedestrian crossing,” he said.
Mr Worn said he believes the fatality could have easily been avoided had necessary safety precautions been taken.
“Had they lived up to that promise, perhaps our neighbour would still be alive.”
Mr Worn said the rally marked six months since the tragedy to draw attention to the lack of safety residents are subjected to when crossing railway lines.
“We thought we’d give the government a little bit of a target,” he said.
“We are sick of waiting, let’s get on with it."
The state government closed the crossing until late-2020 to investigate upgrades and improvements for the area.
The crossing was used by more than 200 residents each day, and Mr Worn said its closure had sparked further community outrage.
He said its closure delayed safety upgrades while diminishing the walkability of the suburb.
“We think they need to replace the gates and bells now and not wait for the year and a half to do it,” Mr Worn said.
The rally was attended by Public Transport Shadow Minister David Davis and Bayside City Council Mayor Michael Heffernan.
Councillor Heffernan said the estimated $2 million needed to adjust the crossing was a small price to pay for the safety of the Bayside community.
“It’s quite clear that this probably one of the most dangerous pedestrian crossings over a railway line in the whole of Melbourne,” Cr Heffernan said.
Cr Heffernan said the rally was essential to maintain the campaign’s momentum and achieve their goal of receiving a tangible commitment from the government.
“I’d like to see a commitment that [the state government] is going to do something about it,” Cr Heffernan said.
“It’s up to the government, but we’ve got to keep pressing.”