AS MUCH as he loves the $5.4 million makeover for Bair Street, Leongatha Business Association President Anthony Walls does have one gripe.

And it’s a personal one just as much as it is of concern to many other visitors to the Street.

“If I just had my head down and crossed on the pedestrian crossings in Bair Street, thinking I had right-of-way, I would have been run over 15 times by now, fair dinkum,” said Anthony Walls today as he watched shoppers and lunchtime workers cross the newly refurbished main street of Leongatha.

“A bloke driving a van the other day, he looked up at me, made eye contact just as I was stepping out on to the crossing and he just drove straight through, didn’t look back.

“And I see that happening all the time with lots of near misses.

“I tell my kids and my customers to be careful, have a good look before you cross.”

Mr Walls said he believed the pedestrian crossings were properly set up for pedestrians to have priority but it didn’t seem to be clear to the drivers.

A spokesman for the Leongatha Police confirmed pedestrians had priority.

“Absolutely, I have seen a few issues there but definitely, the pedestrians do have priority to cross and the drivers must stop but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a good look first before you cross,” said a spokesman for the Leongatha Police.

Another local, contacted in Leongatha this week, said he believed there was an issue with the crossing at the eastern end of Bair Street, the BP Service Station end, where the ‘A Pillar’ in some cars partially blocked vision of the crossing as you entered Bair Street from that end of town.

But it’s no excuse. Drivers have to be prepared to stop at the Bair Street crossings, and to always give pedestrians right of way.

“I don’t know if they can put up some extra signs or even some flashing lights but someone is going to get hurt the way it is if there isn’t a better awareness that it’s pedestrians first and cars second at the new pedestrian crossings in Bair Street,” said Anthony Walls.

Crossing at the McCartins Hotel end of Bair Street Leongatha (file photo).