Tag Archives: Traffic

Residents’ Traffic and Parking Forum

‘Rat Runs’ and No Parking

A feature of life soon!

What’s the alternative?

 

      Date:            Wednesday, 11th July, 2012

      Time:           7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. start

      Venue:         St. Mary’s Anglican Church, 281 Glen Eira Road,  Elsternwick

       Speakers:        Dr. Bruce Corben  (Monash University)

 Cr. Narelle Sharpe  (Moonee Valley Council)

  Cr. Serge Thomann  (Port Phillip Council).

      Admission Fee

            Members:                        No charge

            Non-Members:               Small Gold Coin Donation  

Are you concerned about –

  • The increasing incidence of ‘rat runs’ in quiet residential streets?
  • The lack of on street parking in residential streets?
  • The lack of pedestrian and cyclist safety?
  • Council’s lack of response to these issues?

If so, then come along to our community forum and hear about the latest research, what can be done, and how other councils approach these problems.

Glen Eira Council is responsible for traffic management within and around the municipality, Council’s general aim of traffic management “is to ‘calm’ traffic in local streets and direct through traffic to the more major roads”.  However, the reality is that Council

  • Focuses on main roads
  • Adopts a re-active stance rather than a pro-active (Road Safety Strategy – requires 3 casualty crashes before safety issues are considered)
  • Does not practice community responsive strategic traffic management.  When was the last time you were consulted about traffic and parking in your Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) scheme?
  • Doesn’t consider flow-on impact of traffic in local streets when changing conditions in main roads (eg. McKinnon Road speed cushions, decreased speed limits on Glen Huntly Road and Centre Road,  Kooyong and Alma Roads intersection trial bicycle design received a petition signed by 243 residents soon after the start of the trial)
  • Only budgets for 4-5 traffic calming treatments (speed cushions) per annum in local streets
  • Describes residents’ concerns with increased traffic volumes and speeds as “perceived concerns”

What are other Councils doing, what can be done?

  • When addressing traffic issues the focus is shifting away from vehicular movement to focussing on the safety of the  most vulnerable road users (pedestrians/cyclists)  The Road User Hierarchy ranks various road users.
  • Goal is zero casualty crashes – if road users persist in unsafe habits (eg speeding), then the road design needs to include traffic calming treatments.
  • Address specific neighbourhood needs ie. systematic approach to particular traffic and parking challenges.  “Numerous criteria are considered – ranging from resident and community concerns, traffic volumes, traffic speed and accidents, to more proactive criteria such as the number of activity centres and number of facilities that generate a lot of pedestrian and car traffic like railway stations, schools and community centres” – Moonee Valley Council
Advertisements

Traffic

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.

Traffic Management

Council has turned the cheek on this major concern of residents, by diverting attention into something vaguely called Road Safety Strategy. This stratagem allows council to by-pass its responsibilities over 95% of Glen Eira – our local streets, by pretending the only real problems are on the 5% – the major and arterial roads.

But safety on major roads is the concern of the police, and the major road and arterials themselves are maintained by Vic Roads. Council has little role to play in their upkeep. On the other hand, safety works, roundabouts, car parking, in Glen Eira’s local streets are the province and responsibility of Glen Eira Council. By emphasizing main roads, at the expense of local streets, Council is simply cost-shifting.

Council claims that protecting our local streets to the level needed by local residents is “throwing money at what is perceived to be the problem”. Council’s budget only allows for 4 – 5 treatments a year. We must be more serious about traffic safety. Such an appallingly inadequate level of safety works means that it takes at least several years of Budgets to finish the needed works for just one LATM (Local Area Traffic Management) scheme. There are dozens of such areas across Glen Eira screaming out for urgent safety works. GERA believes it is time Council greatly expanded its LATM program.

Glen Eira Council gleefully accepts millions from property developers who pay Council to provide better local facilities for the ever-increasing numbers of residents that Council is encouraging. The need for better car parking at shopping centres is obvious. Council collects huge extra commercial rates but fails to use that money to improve street parking.

GERA believes that increased funding is critically needed for Traffic Management and Safety. The planning of the local LATMs should take higher priority at council meetings.