Death of Mayor’s aunt sparks call for safer crossing
Kingston Mayor Arthur Athanasopoulos has vowed to campaign for a safer crossing at the railway line at Centre Road, Clayton after his aunt was hit and killed by an oncoming train on April 1.
Fotoula Apostototoulos, 81, was crossing the railway line on the way to the shops and because one train had passed, she thought it was safe and proceeded to cross.
“But a train coming the other way hit her and her life was tragically cut short,’’ said Athanasopoulos.
“From a family perspective we are all devastated and saddened with the loss but hopefully through my role on the council, I can do something about it to lessen the chances of this happening to someone else”.
Athanasopoulos said that he immediately wrote to the Transport minister Lynne Kosky to raise his concerns.
“At the moment there are no safety or boom gates, just an enclosed barrier which allows you to walk through in a staggered manner. There have been a number of cases of death or injury in this location and we have highlighted this before with the transport minister and we want to emphasise again that what is really needed are lights and boom gates at that crossing.”
He goes on to say that, “We would also like to highlight the urgency for all levels of Government to put in safety measures, not just at crossings but at intersections where there is a lot of traffic.”
However a Victoria Government spokesperson said that while they are deeply concerned about any railway crossing incident, the crossing on Centre Road has not been identified as being a high priority for upgrading.
Athanasopoulos believes that the safety measures he proposes also apply to the Clayton South shopping strip on Centre Road where an elderly Greek woman, Ms Anna Tsavasilis, 79, was killed in August last year while on her way to the church.
Residents and traders have campaigned for pedestrian traffic lights at the Centre Road strip since 2000, which intensified into a petition following Ms Tsavasilis’s death, and the relocation of the pedestrian lights near Frank Avenue (closer to the church) to Cooke Street last year.
While their requests for a pedestrian traffic light installation on Knight Street were temporarily appeased in November last year by a VicRoads announcement to install a pedestrian crossing, residents and traders have not received a response on the progress of negotiations thus far.
Harry’s Factory Outlet owner, Toula Laspas said she felt let down by the lack of communication between the responsible authorities and the community.
“They (VicRoads) were meant to meet this month with the council and send a proposal to the shopkeepers but we’ve heard nothing,” said the anguished woman.
“I don’t know how many more accidents have to happen. I’m sick of calling 000 all the time and with the Greek Easter period, which will make the strip even more congested, it’s a death trap.”
Yet when contacted a second time, Mayor Athanasopoulos confirmed that the consultation process has commenced, following discussions between the Monash Council offices and VicRoads.
“Residents will be sent a letter in about two weeks informing them of the proposed location and will be invited to make comments. VicRoads plan to proceed with the installation following the public consultation process”.
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