9 December 2020

Shoppers forced to play chicken on Mogo's main street

| Kim Treasure
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Two women walking on footpath at Mogo Village.

Mogo Village has had a tough 12 months, but tourists are coming back and they need a safe place to cross the highway. Photo: Kim Treasure.

How does the chicken cross the road? In the NSW South Coast village of Mogo, it doesn’t.

The popular tourist town is split down the middle by the Princes Highway, making crossing the road for shoppers – or chickens – a difficult process.

Transport for NSW is currently exploring ways to make Mogo safer for pedestrians, to help local businesses, support tourism and allow residents to easily access the town centre. It has launched an online survey to get public input into what can be done to improve safety and connectivity in and around Princes Highway.

Some business owners favour a pedestrian crossing, while others fear that will simply create a roadblock on a highway that is already under severe stress during peak periods. Instead, they are pushing for a set of timed traffic lights to control the flow of foot traffic across the road.

Without doubt, something needs to be done – and quickly.

Devastated by bushfire and knocked about by COVID-19 restrictions, Mogo businesses have had to be resilient to survive 2020.

The Black Summer bushfires destroyed all but five shops on the creek side of Princes Highway and now shoppers are reluctant to cross the road because of traffic. With a bumper Christmas holiday period on the cards, it’s only likely to get worse.

Shop sign among burnt trees in Mogo.

Parts of Mogo were devastated by bushfire and then remaining businesses were hit by highway closures and COVID-19. Photo: Alex Rea.

Amanda’s of Mogo is one of the oldest businesses in the town, having operated for 22 years. Amanda’s mother, Stephanie, says it’s important the government acts quickly before there’s an accident.

“I’m quite sure there have been near misses,” she says. “People come in and say, ‘I thought I was going to get run over.’

“There is so much traffic coming through now. It’s always been a problem in holiday time, but now it’s all day. You see little old ladies trying to get across and it’s really quite scary.

“It’s like hitting your head against a brick wall trying to get something through the state government. I know they hate putting pedestrian crossings on highways, but there’s one in Milton and in Ulladulla now so there’s a precedent for it.”

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Linda Pawley, owner of Indo Direct, says she’s not sure what the answer is but knows action needs to be taken, and fast.

“It needs to be some lights or a crossing – whatever keeps the traffic flowing,” she says.

“The Mogo Lolly Shop is across from us and we see people running across the road with kids, and dangerous trucks are coming down the road. And older people can’t run across the road.

“The roads are just busier all the time now. I think it almost needs a man with a lollipop sign in holiday periods.”

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Brad McNeish3:32 pm 10 Dec 20

So, allocating $3 million towards a ” proposed ” mountain bike hub in Mogo which is expected to deliver an additional 45,000 people a year ( their estimate, not mine )to a town with currently insufficient parking, infrastructure and pedestrian access is going to alleviate the problem isn’t it?

Dorothy Kauffman2:49 pm 10 Dec 20

We really need a by-pass. the traffic is to heavy for a crossing or lights, as a local even to get out of our property is a night mare, we have no foot paths, we have a 50 zone (90 to 50)BUT not many people take notice of, we have seen many accidents on the north side of Mogo (even a death) Andrew I invite you to come sit on my veranda for a day to study. I am handicap and no way would I attempted to cross the highway without help. every second of the day is ever so different. Please look and study before you act and make the wrong call.

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