Improvements a-plenty for the east side, but the wait for footpaths will continue

Mitchell Avenue homeowners have mixed feelings over the announcement of works by the Murray Bridge Council.

The first stretch of road on Mitchell Avenue that is yet to receive foot pathing and wider lanes like those closer to the Old Princes Highway. Photo: Kurt Miegel.

Among the projects planned by Rural City of Murray Bridge Council for Eastside, the absence of a good footpath strategy still needs addressing according to Councillor Wayne Thorley.

A comprehensive list of planned works for Murray Bridge East was presented at this month’s RCMB Council meeting to be undertaken across the next 12 months.

These include riverbank stabilisation works at Avoca Dell and Thiele Reserve, road works on Long Flat Road, Lookout Drive and Bow Hill Road, along with an upgrade to the pitch area at the Showgrounds.

While some planned works were notably well received - Councilor Karen Eckermann commented favourably on seeing a planned uplift for the Welcome Garden Bed - it was the absence of a footpath strategy which caused the most discussion.

Councillors raised with CEO Michael Sedgeman that footpaths, particularly on Mitchell Avenue, have often been enquired about by the public.

“Footpaths have been the biggest single thing raised to me by Eastside residents,” Cr Thorley said.

In response Mr Sedgeman commented that appropriate drainage systems needed to be in place before council could lay a footpath.

A stormwater management upgrade is currently slated for 2022/23.

Mixed reactions from Mitchell Avenue homeowners

The development of better footpaths was presented as a priority to council by community members ahead of the finalised budget a month ago.

When speaking with several homeowners on Mitchell Avenue about Eastside developments, particularly on the issue of footpaths, there was a mixed response from homeowners.

When asked for opinions on the works included in the Councils plans they were received favourably by homeowners interviewed, particularly road developments.

And while there was a desire for good footpaths, particularly for pushing a pram or walking in bad weather, residents were hesitant based on experiences of neighbours.

The recent works have had mixed success according to residents which is prompting those without developed frontages to have indecisive feelings. Photo: Kurt Miegel.

Recent works completed closer to the Old Princes Highway have apparently still had issues with drainage in heavy rain, and the curbing has meant that the country style of parking wherever you like is no longer possible.

It was that divide between having city style sidewalks and the relaxed country frontages that split residents.

“If they’re going to do it, I’d want them to do it well so we don’t give up being able to park anywhere,” a mother of one said.

“I’ve grown up on the Eastside and like that nice relaxed country feel so I’m not rushing to have footpaths put in,” another parent of two kids added.

The issue of wider roads with bike lanes out to Avoca Dell was raised as more of a concern by homeowners interviewed.

“It’s great having the wider road with a bike lane but then it just stops so kids end up cycling on the road anyway,” the mother of one said.

While residents are quite happy with the expansive parking at the front of properties, having a wider road would be desirable. Photo: Kurt Miegel.
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