Sit in protest cancelled

Sit in protest cancelled

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Sandra Hawkins planned protest is no longer on the cards, after discussions with the SJ Shire. Photograph – Richard Polden.

A Whitby resident who planned to stage a protest over pedestrian safety at Keirnan Street has cancelled the demonstration after the Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire advised they are considering options for a pedestrian rail crossing.

Sandra Hawkins first told The Examiner of her protest plans back in January, following the Shire’s community consultation to improve the pedestrian network south of Whitby Estate, and subsequently set a date for the protest of February 25 in a letter to stakeholders and media outlets.

“I wish to bring to your attention that I will be staging a peaceful protest on and around Keirnan Street rail crossing in Mundijong WA. It is scheduled for February 25,” wrote Ms Hawkins.

But following a meeting with the Shire CEO and Shire Director of Infrastructure Services on Wednesday, February 23, Ms Hawkins reneged on the demonstration.

Shire President Michelle Rich said the Shire shares Ms Hawkins concerns around pedestrian safety in Whitby, specifically the Keirnan Street rail crossing, which is currently only useable by vehicles.

“In the past the Shire has advocated to the State Government, Main Roads WA and Public Transport Authority for a dedicated pedestrian rail crossing at the location,” President Rich said.

While the placement of the potential pedestrian crossing will not be at Keirnan Street as Ms Hawkins requested, the Shire is considering the possibility at another nearby location, in the vicinity of Court Grammar School.

Following the meeting, Shire CEO Paul Martin emailed Ms Hawkins to advise of the Shire’s undertakings, which include – pending approval from Main Roads WA – the installation of “traffic calming devices and signage on the approach to the rail crossing on Keirnan Street to improve safety in the area,” and potentially installing signage on other approaches to the Keirnan Street and Soldiers Road roundabout.

Additionally, the email advised, “the Shire will engage with the developer of Whitby Estate regarding opportunities see if a track from the northern end of the estate to a location near Court Grammar School could be installed, in conjunction with a pedestrian crossing in the vicinity of the school.”

“All of this is subject to the necessary approvals and funds being available, and would require further discussion with the developer, Council and/or the State Government,” said Shire President Michelle Rich.

“It goes a long way to improving the safety of the crossing, I’m happy about that,” said Ms Hawkins.

“I have requested The Shire look into widening Keirnan Street at the approach to the rail crossing to make it safer for pedestrians, and they said they will get back to me on that,” she said.

Shire President Michelle Rich said the Shire will present the pedestrian connectivity project to council as part of the 2022/23 Budget setting process, following consideration of the community consultation.

“The Shire has already, and will continue, to seek State Government funding for the upgrade of these paths,” she said.