From cheers to ‘disappointment’: Stud Rd crossing let-down

December 2023 saw the second life lost on Stud Rd. 380241_03 Picture: GARY SISSONS.

by Sahar Foladi

The details behind the State Government’s announced Stud Road safety improvements have “disappointed” Greater Dandenong Council mayor, Lana Formoso.

At a 13 May council meeting, Cr Formoso voiced her discontent after finding the much-needed $16.5 million funding for the traffic-light-controlled pedestrian crossing at Stud Road, Dandenong North was in fact shared across several metro roads projects.

Also, the funds will be spread across a three-year timeline, falling short on the community’s sense of urgency to fix the six-lane blackspot, according to the mayor.

The funding was announced at the State Budget last week on Tuesday 7 May, initially embraced by a joyful mayor.

“This is a first time we had a commitment to the funding and delivering of the project from the state government, so this is a huge step forward,” Cr Formoso said on 13 May.

“I was pleased the Minister for Roads, and our local Greater Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams visited us to discuss the matter.

“They heeded the calls from our community, but the State Government’s sense of urgency is sadly still missing.

“We’re disappointed that the funding is phased over three years. We also note the funding commitment is across three metropolitan road projects and seems to fall well short of the amount required.

“We understand that the funding in Year One is to finalise the design, our officers are most willing to work with the department to finalise the project and we’re very close to having it shovel-ready ourselves.”

The funding will help secure and improved signalisation and add a pedestrian crossing at the notorious intersection of Stud and McFees roads.

The mayor reinstated her strong stance on the major safety issue saying she will personally advocate “very strongly to see” the project delivered by 2024-25 “as a matter of urgency” and “in hope that future tragedies may be averted.”

As reported previously by Star Journal, Ms Formoso has spent more than a decade advocating for signalised pedestrian crossing at the notorious Stud Rd where residents including children dash to the other side to access bus stop into Central Dandenong, Dandenong Basketball stadium, playground, and floodplains parkland.

“It is harrowing to watch people with prams, small children, mobility scooters and cyclists trying to cross along the 800m stretch of road with no traffic lights or pedestrian facilities,” Ms Formoso said.

The Dandenong community and beyond were devastated at the shocking death of a two-year-old on the same road, in an attempt to cross the road with his father.

A SES volunteer, Ms Formoso was one of the first to be at the scene, saw the grief of the family first-hand and was left traumatised by what she had experienced.

In April, the 80km/h Stud Road speed limit was reduced by the State Government to 60km/h as an interim step.

In 2018, VicRoads had pledged to install pedestrian lights and review the speed limit after a pedestrian in her 50s was fatally struck while crossing to a nearby bus stop.