The results of the State Government’s Customer Satisfaction Survey and strong feedback from residents shows that traffic and parking management are major issues facing Glen Eira and that increasingly residents are dissatisfied with Glen Eira Council’s performance on these issues.
Council’s website states
“Council is responsible for the movement of trafﬁc within and around the City. To ensure trafﬁc moves efﬁciently and safely, an external parking and traffic expert has been commissioned to undertake trafﬁc management on behalf of Council. This includes:
- Strategic trafﬁc management planning — ongoing strategic research and development of community responsive strategies with respect to the broad range of transportation and urban infrastructure issues relevant to Glen Eira.
- Internal trafﬁc management advice — ongoing trafﬁc management surveys, analysis and advice.
- Local area trafﬁc management — preparation and design of trafﬁc management schemes and management of associated public participation processes.
- Parking management and control — servicing, investigating and amending parking conditions and controls on all road networks and in public car parks where Council is authorised to control parking.”
Note: The bold highlight is our emphasis
Admirable aspirations which, however, are not supported by the reference documentation. At the time of this posting, the referenced document is the Glen Eira Road Safety Strategy 2007/2008 -2011/2012 written in December, 2006, by Council’s consultant. One wonders where the Strategy of 2011/12 – 2015/16 (and intervening years) is and what public participation was involved in it’s development.
The focus of the 2007/8- 2011/12 Strategy is clearly stated – “The primary objective of any road safety strategy should be to reduce road trauma. Convenience, amenity and property values are secondary considerations.” Traffic management decisions rely heavily on the VicRoads CrashStats Database, which at any given time, is approximately 6-12 months out of date.
Whilst GERA applauds the aim of reducing road trauma (a.k.a. casualty crashes/collisions), GERA regrets that the Road Safety Strategy emphasises arterial roads (high volume of traffic = higher incidence of road trauma) and pays scant attention to local/residential streets. Page 1 of the Strategy – “Most traffic and safety concerns expressed to Council are in relation to local streets, these in fact have comparatively few casualty crashes… available resources need to be targeted so as to achieve the greatest overall reduction in crashes as distinct from throwing money at what is perceived to be “a problem”
With the growth of population, both within and outside the Glen Eira boundaries, comes increased residential, commuter and visitor traffic. Increasingly “rat runs” (usually above the speed limit) are made through residential streets to avoid congested areas. Council’s focus on arterial roads without considering the flow on impact on local/residential streets is not good traffic management and does little to address this growing “accident waiting to happen” concern.
Requests for installation of traffic calming treatments (which reduce speeds and through traffic) in residential streets are being met with comments of “Council’s budget only allows 4 – 5 such treatments a year … and your request has been prioritised as 295”*. GERA accepts that a priority system is required as Council does not have the resources to satisfy every resident request. However, GERA argues that, given the increasing number of traffic issues experienced in local residential streets, Council needs to increase it’s budget to provide for more traffic calming treatments in local streets and needs to conduct proper community consultation when budgeting the appropriate number of treatments to be completed annually.
GERA will focus on this growing issue and will be urging Council to
- Live up to its website claims for community responsive strategic traffic management planning
- Increase budget funding for the Traffic Management so that traffic calming treatments can be progressively introduced in residential streets which residents and Council have jointly identified as a problem
- Identify a means of measuring effectiveness of actions and monitoring results
- Identify monitoring and evaluation strategies that will monitor the success / determine the success of actions delivered
- Be explicit to the community about how Council will tackle road safety as an issue, particularly, with regards to residential streets
- Switch Council’s focus from “roads are for cars”, by adopting the approach that places pedestrians’ needs as the foremost priority followed by bicycles, public transport users and finally cars and trucks. Using this approach provides improved facilities for pedestrians, reduces exposure for all road users, and overall vehicle volumes and traffic volumes are reduced
*Quoted from letters sent to an Eskdale Road (between Bambra and Kambrook Roads) resident. Council’s 25th May, 2011, traffic count shows that, within 100 metres of crossing the speed humps located in this section of Eskdale Road, 246 vehicles per day exceed the 50 km/h speed limit. The speed humps and road service are gouged.