Encounter Lutheran student Taya Forbes pushes for a pedestrian crossing at Middleton

Year 9 student at Encounter Lutheran College Taya Forbes has a survey and petition calling for a pedestrian crossing in the heart of Middleton.
Year 9 student at Encounter Lutheran College Taya Forbes has a survey and petition calling for a pedestrian crossing in the heart of Middleton.

Year 9 student at Encounter Lutheran College Taya Forbes is working on a community project that will hopefully make a difference within the community she lives.

"For my community project, I am trying to advocate for a pedestrian crossing in the main street of Middleton," Taya said.

"I think it is not safe crossing at a main road, especially with all of the school bus stops there and students having to cross the main road.

"As a resident of Middleton, I find that the safety when crossing the main road in Middleton is extremely low. Are you aware that multiple schools around our area have a bus stop on the main road of Middleton?

"When the school children from ages six years to 17 are dropped off at the bus stop, many of them are expected to cross this very busy road, many without parental supervision.

"On Monday, June 22, I undertook a tally of how many school students get on/off the school bus. Keeping in mind it was a cold, wet, winter's day, there were 30 school children getting off the bus after school. A large amount of these 30 children were under the age of 10."

So instead of thinking about a pedestrian crossing and waiting for an accident to occur, Taya is acting by raising awareness. She has even created a survey with the link - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/STQBR5X and petition link - https://www.change.org/makeMiddletonasaferplace

"I have created the survey and would like to gauge community response," she said.

Middleton Pedestrian Safety is on the Alexandrina Council agenda, as it was raised at the council's July meeting by Councillor Bronwyn Lewis.

Cr Lewis asked a Question with Notice for an update on the discussions with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) about the Port Elliot - Goolwa Road in Middleton.

"The need for traffic management and or a traffic management report had been raised many times and even with the Mayor Keith Parkes at the February Middleton Township and Foreshore Association (MTAFA) meeting," Cr Lewis said.

"Currently with the school holidays the matter has been raised again as many feel some kind of 'crossing' is needed near the bakery and hotel. Likewise, there has long been talk about roundabouts at each end of Middleton to slow the traffic down during peak periods.

"A summary of where negotiations are at and what the process is going forward, would answer the queries of many constituents who are concerned for the safety of the elderly and children crossing the road."

Council staff in May met with representatives from DPTI and discussed the need for more pedestrian crossings in Middleton, Port Elliot and Goolwa.

At the meeting it was agreed that council administration would submit a detailed report seeking DPTI consideration on this matter. A detailed report was provided to DPTI on June 26 for review.

Council spokesperson said it was based upon a previous Middleton Pedestrian Facility Study Concept Design Report prepared by engineering consultants.

"The report provides a detailed review of the existing transport network, observations of major pedestrian and parking nodes, parking and pedestrian reviews, warrants for formal crossings, traffic impact statement and further recommendations," the spokesperson said.

Three pedestrian crossing locations are recommended in Middleton.

"At the meeting, administration also discussed the opportunity for these crossings to be part of DPTI's Annual Program instead of council funding the works. DPTI confirmed they will reassess and determine if a crossing is warranted at the locations," the spokesperson said.

"If supported, DPTI will then undertake design and nominate for funding consideration. DPTI has confirmed the report is still under consideration and will notify administration when there is an outcome."

Council representatives are meeting with DPTI again on August 18, which is part of a new schedule of regular 'catch-ups' to discuss topical issues.

While council and the state government work through the red tape of making the main road in Middleton safe, Year 9 student Taya Forbes will continue her fight for greater community support and feedback.

"On the weekends, school holidays, and public holidays Middleton is very busy. During our peak seasons, the bakery, surf shop, and other local café's and pubs are extremely hectic, especially with tourists," Taya said.

"During these peak times, many people need to cross the road, often it is quite unsafe. By having a pedestrian crossing in the main street of Middleton everyone would be able to cross the road carefree and safely.

"It would benefit our community greatly if you could please take a few minutes to sign my petition, and/or complete my survey.

"It would be so tragic if an accident occurred and I do not want to see that happen and want something done about it.

"A tragedy is waiting to happen if nothing is done."