By Kyra Gillespie

Cardinia Shire Council is welcoming community feedback on the proposed closure of the intersection at Railway Avenue and Racecourse Road, Pakenham.

Railway Avenue runs along the railway line on the north side of the train station, between Main Street and Racecourse Road.

The proposal recommends to permanently close Railway Avenue at the intersection of Racecourse Road in Pakenham, once the traffic lights begin operating at the intersection of Henry Street and Racecourse Road.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Cr Collin Ross said council is doing a lot in this area to manage growth and future traffic and the proposed closure is one part of the broader picture to improve road safety and traffic within the Pakenham town centre.

“The proposed closure would provide many benefits and also ties in with the development of the Pakenham Parking Plan and a great deal of advocating to the Victorian Government and VicRoads for improved road and rail network conditions around Pakenham,” Cr Ross said.

The recommendation has come as a result of investigations into the road safety and traffic flow at the site and addresses the longstanding concerns of road users.

“The proposed closure, along with the new traffic lights at Henry Street and Racecourse Road, will greatly improve safety for road users. Currently the intersection’s poor sight lines make it very difficult for motorists to safely navigate through the intersection, particularly at busy times and when the railway crossing is in use.

“It’s scary, but we’ve actually heard reports of motorists driving on the wrong side of the road to access Railway Avenue when the level crossing boom gates are down. Unfortunately, common sense doesn’t always prevail when people are time poor and frustrated.”

Developers, in consultation with VicRoads, are currently installing traffic lights at the new Henry Street and Ascot Park Drive intersection.

Henry Street will be opened to traffic at Racecourse Road once these signals are operational.

This is expected to occur by the end of 2018.

Cr Ross said the upgraded Henry Street intersection will provide improved access into Pakenham town centre and better safety for motorists, as well as having the potential to increase public transport reliability in the town centre.

“Henry Street provides a more direct route than Railway Avenue, from the east into Pakenham town centre. It also has the capacity to accommodate Railway Avenue’s current traffic and additional traffic from future developments because it was specifically designed to act as a collector street, diverting traffic from local streets to arterial roads.

“Under the proposal, the bus services currently using Railway Avenue will use Henry Street as well, which would better regulate the routes and increase public transport reliability.”

Cr Ross said the closure of the Railway Avenue intersection would also enhance Council’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the community for the removal of the level crossing at Racecourse Road.

“Council has been advocating to the Victorian Government on behalf of the Pakenham community for the removal of the Racecourse Road level railway crossing. These efforts would be bolstered by the closure of the Railway Avenue intersection, as this is likely to be required before the level crossing removal could occur anyway.”

Visit www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay for more information, and to have your say before consultation closes at 5pm, Friday 7 September 2018.

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