ON THE ROAD AGAIN 4th September 2015
Frequently we hear the downside of social media. We hear about trolls bullying people online – we hear about young people squandering their youth staring mind numbingly at computer screens for hours as they scan social media platforms for gossip, information about parties and anything that will keep them up to date with the latest trends. However, there is a good side to social media. It is opening up instantaneous contact with politicians – bringing democracy to your doorstep.
On the 26th of May I put up a post on Facebook asking people to like and share my post if they wanted a Keep Clear sign painted on the road at the intersection of Cave Hill Road and Maroondah Highway in Lilydale. Many of you across the Yarra Valley will be familiar with it as it is a major thoroughfare for trucks, buses and local traffic as it is connected to a major industrial estate, schools and shops.
The post was inspired by a request from a constituent who was growing increasingly frustrated at trying to turn onto Maroondah Highway from Cave Hill Road with motorists failing to give way. The impact of the post was stunning. It reached over 8,000 people, was liked by 168 people and commented on by a further 41 locals.
Seeing that this was a significant issue for many residents, I wrote to the Minister for Roads requesting that a Keep Clear sign be painted on the road. The Minister wrote back agreeing to install the Keep Clear by August. On the 1st of September the Keep Clear sign appeared. I am pleased to say that the motorists have already adapted to the new conditions and are respectfully giving way.
On the 31st of July I then decided to put up a post on Facebook asking whether there were any other road maintenance or road infrastructure issues that residents thought required action by the state government. Well, needless to say I opened a can of worms.
At the time of writing this article, this second post had reached over 43,500 people, had 124 likes, 247 comments and 24 shares. Considering most MPs are lucky to get even a quarter of that response to a post, it was abundantly clear that road maintenance continues to be a major issue for residents of the Yarra Ranges.
Our roads in the Evelyn electorate have never received the priority they deserve given that a number of our roads are part of a major transport and logistics network. So I am confident that when VicRoads does a risk analysis on the many requests, they will see the need is genuine. Requests include fixing potholes along the Melba Highway, Clegg Road, Killara Road and Joy Avenue, installation of animal underpasses along our Highways to reduce wildlife fatalities and more consistent speed limits. Another popular request was for VicRoads to allow the quarterly payment of registration to ease the financial squeeze on households.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the post. I am now finalising the letter to the Minister for Roads for his consideration on behalf of the residents of the Evelyn electorate. It is going to be a big list!