By Jed Lanyon
Mount Evelyn Primary School’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Girls group are in the process of campaigning for a three dimensional pedestrian crossing that aims to slow drivers down when they pass the school.
A potential crossing design of a platypus was revealed at the entrance of the school on Monday 13 May that had been chosen by students hoping to raise awareness for road safety.
Students were quick to name the platypus featured on the crossing as Safety Pete.
Artist Jenny McCracken painted Safety Pete and said that she hopes to come back in September to complete a design over a pedestrian crossing in the school’s car park.
“I was invited here to do a 3D image, which is the first of hopefully many that will deal with traffic calming, control and management to hopefully slow people down when going through.
“The 3D platypus is an optical illusion and an anamorphic image using single point perspective,” she said.
Ms McCracken is a renowned street artist and has had her award winning artwork seen around the world.
“It’s a visual illusion of something floating above the road, which definitely gets people to slow down.”
Ms McCracken is no stranger to this type of artwork, having completed two permanent 3D pedestrian crossings in Dunedin, New Zealand.
“That was the first permanent installation of a 3D crossing. Other people have done them but I think they have just been with normal paint, where this was full road safety paint, non-slip resin that ideally would last 20 years.”
Mount Evelyn Primary School teacher Trish Rathmell said the project was inspired by a group of students who are helping campaign for road safety.
“We have a lovely group of girls that collaborate with other girls in the community that focus on the STEM curriculum to make positive community changes and at the moment their project is to help make the roads safer.”
In this case, Mount Evelyn Primary School’s STEM Girls have collaborated with a STEM Girls group from Lilydale High School.
Ms Rathmell said that the school is grateful for VicRoads funding their Safer Speeds Challenge application and is hoping to have a 3D crossing in place at the school by September.
“Research shows that it slows drivers down and makes them more aware. We want drivers to be present while they are in the car,” she said.
Some of the STEM Girls other interventions aimed towards slowing traffic include their new STEM girls website, visual props, road signage and a #sounds4safespeeds campaign coming to Spotify to raise awareness about road safety.
Ms Rathmell said some of the issues the school has is the lack of awareness or acknowledgement of a 40km/h zone on Monbulk Rd and Clegg Rd during school times.
The school was unsuccessful in their push to have a 3D crossing placed outside the school entrance across Monbulk Rd and at the intersection across the end of Clegg Rd.
Instead, they are hoping to have a permanent 3D crossing painted across their car park entrance, similar to the artwork painted by Jenny McCracken.
Visit the Mount Evelyn Primary School STEM Girls website for updates on the project: https://stemgirls.com.au/