‘A little risky’

Mini roundabouts: Good for cars, but maybe not walkers like Andrew Main or riders like Bike Friendly Vincent’s Geraldine Box. Photo by David Bell

A PROPOSAL for an extra nine roundabouts in North Perth has walkers and bike riders fearing it’ll end in tragedy.

Nine intersections on Vincent Street between Fitzgerald and William Streets are under consideration for a Main Roads “mini roundabouts” pilot project.

They are meant to make driving safer as vehicle collisions happen at glancing angles instead of a jarring 90-degree t-bone.

Vincent councillors voted to put the idea out for consultation, and the state government will pay the bill if gets the go-ahead. 

North Perth resident Andrew Main says it makes no sense to introduce roundabouts on local roads with high numbers of walkers and riders. 

“What they are proposing to do is cheap and dangerous,” he says.

Roundabouts

“Roundabouts are dangerous for active transport users and only assist drivers. There are no crash statistics that seem to justify introducing the roundabouts either.”

Councillors weren’t provided numbers but were informed the area’s had some “low grade traffic incidents” resulting in property damage across the past five years.

The RAC straight up advises pedestrians not to cross near roundabouts, as does Victoria’s road department Vic Roads.

The Road Safety Commission says roundabouts should have separate cycle and walking lanes if they’re to be safe for riders and walkers ‚Äî and these mini roundabouts won’t.

Cr Dan Loden raised the safety issue when the council voted to advertise the idea. “I am concerned about cyclists in this context,” he said. “The issue is with the mini roundabout, you create less space in that junction, and so it then actually makes it more difficult for cyclists to get through.”

The council’s own draft “Accessible City Strategy”, meant to encourage people to drive less ‚ also warns against roundabouts as “increasingly problematic”.

“They were flagged as a consistent risk for cyclists during consultation,” the strategy reads.

“Roundabouts are generally designed to support the high-speed movement of cars in all directions, and the high-speed design of these facilities can adversely impact pedestrian and cycling safety.”

The strategy says compact roundabouts can be made safer if the road speed is reduced. But there’s no guarantee that’ll happen: Main Roads will apparently “consider” dropping the speed to 40kmh as a quid pro quo for Vincent playing guinea pig, but actually getting people to obey the limit involves a lot more changes to roads than just changing the signs.

Vincent mayor Emma Cole says the mini roundabouts “are a traffic calming device that reduces the speed of motor vehicles” making street safer for everyone.

“Traffic volumes and speed are a daily concern for our community,” Ms Cole said.

“We’re trying a number of different measures to slow down drivers on our inner-city local roads, which are often used for rat running.

“A mini roundabout is essentially a small mound in the middle of the road. They force cars and light vehicles to slow down and go around the roundabout. Bigger vehicles, such as rubbish trucks, can safely mount mini roundabouts but again at a lower speed. They are a small-scale, low-level intervention that can be installed on a narrow road.”

The roundabouts would go in at intersections between Raglan, Grosvenor, Chemsford Roads and Ethel, Norfolk and Hyde Street

They’re up for consultation until April 12 at imagine.vincent.wa.gov.au

By DAVID BELL

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