Slow points hit first speedhump

SLOW points may be on the way for North Perth under a new Vincent council traffic-calming plan.

However long-term traffic petitioners have already panned the initiative as making little sense. 

Cars snaking through every little residential street has been a long-time concern in the inner-city suburb. 

Back in 2017 residents called on Vincent council to run a proper consultation session to hash out ideas on how to keep heavy traffic on the main roads and out of small streets, coming at it holistically instead of the old approach of sticking a speed bump in one street and waiting to see where that diverts the rat runners.

Resident Geraldine Box put in a formal petition in 2018 requesting council “engages with residents to develop acceptable measures to make these streets safe and more liveable”. 

Ms Box says “the residents asked for some proper sit-down consultation with both council admin officers and some councillors there to talk through what the full options could be for some kind of low-traffic neighbourhood. We didn’t want one street receiving treatment and some others left.”

She says that’s yet to happen: Instead the council seems to come up with a plan first and ask questions later, and it’s happened again with these slow-points.

“What they’ve put in this proposal doesn’t make any sense for traffic calming,” Ms Box says, especially in relation to long roads like Claverton and Alma which just have one slow-point in the middle. She predicts that may do little to lower speeds and neighbours have expressed concern it’ll just increasing noise as hoons slam on the breaks on approach and then rev their engines to jet away. Hitting the kerb is optional, but a popular option, based on the thick rubber marks on existing slow-points around town.

Ms Box doesn’t claim to have all the answers and says that’s why a proper workshop is ideal, but she suggested some ‘street-filtering’ such as restricted turns on minor streets to encourage only local traffic to use them.

Instead of calming the homely streets they got the controversial 12-month trial banning right hand turns from Fitzgerald onto View Street. Since it started early this year the Voice gets a call or complaint about it every fortnight on average. 

That kind of street-filtering is meant to be used on the small streets, and putting it at View Street has diverted traffic into the little surrounding roads that residents wanted to be calmed in the first place.

“We’ve certainly noticed an increase in the amount of traffic” in those smaller streets since the closure, Ms Box says.

The slow-point plan is out for consultation via imagine.vincent.wa.gov.au until May 27. 

The council says slow-points, which can either reduce traffic to one lane or just give them a “blister” style island to navigate around, “are effective at slowing traffic”, but usually cost four parking bays of space.

They’re also keen to hear what people think of the View Street trial so far.

Ms Box says she hopes the slow-point plan gets put aside until the proper consultation can be run, and not the current approach of “a tick-box that says ‘this is what we’re planning to do ‘what do you think?’ 

“Bring people in earlier on.”

by DAVID BELL

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