Peter Gregory (pictured above) has very limited vision of approximately 25 per cent and can no longer drive, but that doesn’t stop him overcoming his safety concerns and walking into Snug from Lower Snug 3-4 times a week to buy the newspaper and go to the post office, the chemist or the doctor.
Apart from having trouble judging distances to cars when crossing the road, Peter’s biggest problem is the narrow road verge and uneven surfaces underfoot.
The highway verge is tight, but even tighter on the bridge across the Snug Creek where it means Peter is virtually rubbing shoulders with fast moving trucks and cars travelling at 80 km/h.
He could walk up the Old Channel Highway, but that means crossing the busy main road twice.
“It would be great to have a safer walkway between Lower Snug and Snug because we would see a lot more people out there using it if there was,” said Mr Gregory.
“We also need shared use signage on the local roads in Lower Snug and Coningham to make it safer for all the users due to the lack of footpaths.”
Richard Mount of the Coningham and Lower Snug Community Association (CALSCA) says it’s not only Peter using this road edge and several other people also frequently walk to Snug along this pathway.
“That is a significant risk for these people,” said Mr Mount.
“It also means that, due to those safety concerns, everyone else is driving their car even when moving short distances.
“There is growing public awareness of the damage this physical barrier makes to creating a healthy happy community and there is now deepening interest in plans to create change with relatively little effort and cost,” Mr Mount remarked.
“To this end, CALSCA is actively consulting the 2000 people in the greater Snug area about their experience moving between neighbourhoods without a car,” Mr Mount continued.
“The early results of the consultation are stark.
“About 90 per cent of respondents feel unsafe or very unsafe walking or cycling on the roads.
“Car drivers indicate the same high levels of concern when passing walkers or cyclists,” Mr Mount said.
CALSCA has also completed a geographic analysis into the issues and potential solutions which found that there are no safe ways to walk, run or cycle between Snug and Lower Snug and into Coningham due to narrow roads and verges, high traffic volumes, blind corners and lack of footpaths.
Mr Mount remarked that particularly for children, older and less able r residents, the risks are higher but noted the extensive track and trail network through the area which could make the area more accessible and allow for safe travel by closing gaps between tracks.
In a letter of support, Ange Andrews at the Snug Primary School, explained that all the staff are fully supportive of better bicycle and walking tracks to Lower Snug and Coningham after seeing the benefits of the shared pathway running through Electrona to Snug, with greatly increased use of the pathway by the students and their families to get to and from school.
According to CALSCA, local services and businesses including the Snug Tavern and Matt Baxter of Baxter’s IGA, are also very supportive of improved non-car access in and out of Snug.
To discuss the issues and solutions, CALSCA hosted a public meeting on Saturday, February 22, at the Snug Hall.
Attended by about 25 people including Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter, and Cr Gideon Cordover, the meeting showed that there was interest in improving the connections between the local communities.
Mayor Winter commented that the forum was brilliant and it would be natural to extend the shared path further.
“We are so proud of the shared path between Margate and Snug,” Mayor Winter commented.
“We are seeing more kids and families walking or riding between the towns and that’s a fantastic outcome.
“It is not surprising that the success of this has led to calls for its expansion.
“We have been working with the State Government around the expansion of the shared path north from Margate to Kingston, but it also makes sense to expand it further south.
“It was great to hear local people talking about transport challenges and opportunities.
“I like the idea of treating Snug, Lower Snug and Coningham as a single catchment and building better links between them.
“Over 2,000 people live there and their case is being well made by the Coningham and Lower Snug Community Association,” Mayor Winter concluded.
According to CALSCA, the highest priority work identified at the meeting was an extension of the shared walking and cycling pathway from Snug to Lower Snug, although some at the meeting expressed concerns that future work would need to be sensitively done to minimise environmental or social impacts.
CALSCA believes the next step is to conduct a feasibility study that identifies specific pieces of work and their costs that systematically address the black spots and bridge the gaps in the existing, extensive track and trail network.
More information is available at the Coningham and Lower Snug Community Association website and the CALSCA survey is still open and available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cnocar