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Council responds to Aussie man's tirade over 'really dumb' sign

The self-described 'council pest' has had a win for pedestrian accessibility – and urges you to do the same.

It's something millions of Aussies would have simply walked past and quickly forgotten, but one man's indignation just couldn't let him do that.

Energy Analyst Matt Katzen, 27, was walking back to work after lunch recently when on the corner of Little Lonsdale Street and Russel Street in Melbourne he spotted an unidirectional hazard marker. The relatively small roadside sign is used to guide traffic in a particular direction.

But the placement of it – significantly impeding the footpath – seriously irked him.

"Walking back to office I had to wait because there wasn’t enough space for people to walk in both directions, and thought that was really dumb," he told Yahoo News Australia. "It's a bit of a nuisance for pedestrians — If you had a pram or wheelchair, it would’ve been difficult to navigate that."

A photo of an undirectional hazard marker on the corner of Little Londsalde Street and Russel Street in Melbourne. A photo of people getting on a tram in Melbourne's CBD.
A Melbourne man complained to City of Melbourne Council about a hazard marker that was creating accessibility issues for pedestrians. Source: Twitter/Getty file image (Twitter/Getty file image)

"I also don’t think it adds much value to car traffic as it's literally on the pavement," he continued.

He posted the hazard marker on social media "for laughs," but instead of letting the issue die, he decided to lodge a complaint to get the council to remove it.

"I remembered there’s this app that people use to get rid of rubbish outside of their house or report other council issues, and it took 20 seconds to fill out the form," Mr Katzen said, referring to the SnapSendSolve app embraced by certain Aussie councils.

City of Melbourne responds to complaint from 'council pest'

Following Mr Katzen's complaint to council, he received a swift reply saying they will remove the sign.

"We have assessed the signage and have added it onto our maintenance program for this financial year," the email read. "Our maintenance contractor (will) remove the sign. You can anticipate for this work to be completed by 30th June 2023."

Mr Katzen said he was "grateful that council were so quick to act on it".

The self proclaimed 'council pest' who is passionate about accessibility and active transport policies said he has contacted them about "more larger issues" and will continue to do so.

According to Infrastructure Victoria, just over a quarter of Melbourne's 1,700 tram stops are properly accessible despite one in five Victorians being disabled.

"Melbourne has poor accessibility and it's good to think about that and make it better," Mr Katzen said. "In other suburbs, particularly around the inner north, theres more of an emphasis on pedestrian and bike safety and they’re widening the footpaths and rethinking how they use the land."

He also encouraged others to be thoughtful citizens and "use their voice if they want something improved" whether it may be big or small.

Yahoo News Australia have reached out to City of Melbourne council for comment.

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