Monash school crossings face cuts

MONASH Council has accused the state government of playing Russian roulette with the safety of schoolchildren following proposed budgets cuts to supervised crossings around the city.

Parent groups have also criticised the move, which has been labelled "detrimental".

Ten of the 84 supervised school crossings in Monash could lose funding for 2013-14.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are school crossing supervisors necessary, and if so, who should pay for them? Post a comment below.

Monash Council has applied for all its crossings to be funded but was told by VicRoads that up to 10 crossings "may not meet their criteria for funding" because of a fall in the number of pedestrians.

"We have asked VicRoads to provide us with formal written advice if they are going to withdraw funding for any of our crossings," Monash mayor Micaela Drieberg said.

Local councils are responsible for measuring traffic and pedestrian numbers using the crossings. But while Cr Drieberg conceded there had been fewer children using some of the city's crossings, she said that funding used to appoint supervisors should be maintained.

"My view is that whether it is three children or 30 children, they should be supported as they walk to school," Cr Drieberg said.

"The state government should find better ways of cutting its spending rather than zeroing in on a program that helps children stay safe."

VicRoads would not confirm which crossings in Monash were at risk of losing funding, and would not comment on whether the proposed cuts would affect student safety.

Director of road safety strategy Julian Lyngcoln said VicRoads asked councils to apply for crossing supervisor subsidies every year.

"Council allocations are determined using criteria based on the number of child pedestrians and vehicles at a crossing," he said. "All crossings that meet the eligibility criteria receive a subsidy."

He said the crossing bids were currently being assessed.

Victorian Parents Council chief executive Christine Delamore shared the concerns of the council.

"[Students have] a far greater chance of crossing safely with somebody supervising them because even with the 40km/h limits around these areas, some people do not obey the 40km/h limits," Ms Delamore said.

"When you see a supervisor, it really alerts you even more than the 40km/h limit."

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