THE unpopular diagonal diversion cutting a North Perth neighbourhood in half will be removed early after it pushed traffic into quiet streets and nearby laneways.
Vincent council installed the road block in February for a six-month trial to stop traffic diagonally at the Alma Road and Leake Street intersection, following requests from nearby residents to reduce traffic speeds on their street.
But the stats are now in and have vindicated fears from the wider neighbourhood that it’d just divert drivers into even smaller streets, including sending trucks into laneways which are ill-equipped to handle heavy loads.
A Vincent staff report says “the trial has negatively impacted on adjoining and adjacent roads and laneways with: increased traffic volumes, increased speeds, increased heavy vehicles”.
Along with local drivers having to make lengthy detours to get to their shops, it’s been rough for walkers and riders too: the refuge islands were removed from Alma and Leake Street to make room for the diversion.
Resident Leon Firios, who’d organised the Save North Perth Streets Action Group, told councillors at the May 16 meeting that while the exercise was useful in providing data, “that trial has revealed serious safety issues that were just not anticipated when the decision was taken by the council to proceed with the trial.
“These issues are concentrated not only at the site of the diversion itself, but they fill into the surrounding streets, into the laneways, and even into Charles Street itself.
“Alongside these safety issues we’ve seen widespread community opposition to the diagonal diversion; it’s got no serious support among the large majority of the constituents.”
Councillors voted to replace the diagonal diversion with a raised traffic-slowing plateau like those installed at other nearby intersections, and the council has state road safety funding to pay for it.
Mayor Emma Cole said at the May 16 meeting: “The plateaux have proven, through data, to slow traffic in the area, and to be frank, it’s free, Main Roads are paying for it.”
Ms Cole along with councillors Alex Castle and Ashley Wallace were against the diagonal diversion, but were outvoted last year.
“My view is consistent,” Ms Cole said, “As it has always been, I fully support the removal of this diagonal diversion. I do regret the cost.”
The trial was initially estimated to $35,000 to $60,000, and it’ll cost $10,000 to $20,000 to remove which will come out of that original project budget.
“We should grab with both hands the offer from Main Roads to reinstate the idea of having the plateau there to provide that consistent road treatment throughout this particular precinct of North Perth,” Ms Cole said.
Just a few clarifications to statements being made about this matter. I have lived on Alma Road for 35 years, When I arrived in the area, it was an era of no Google Maps and algorithm way-finding systems. The large delivery trucks to the North Perth Plaza used the main roads and local distributers to access and leave the area. I know this, as I have spoken to a driver of such vehicles who actually lives on Leake Street. He joined myself and other residents some years ago when we met with a CoV Engineer to discuss the increasing use of Alma Rd by these large trucks. The driver’s words were that of course drivers are now using Alma Rd, as Council had made such changes to the two distributers Angove (a Distributer B) , first and then View (a Local Distributer), that they then moved their route onto Alma Road.
We residents who have been meeting with Council Admin and elected members over at least 6 years did not demand that road closure ought to occur at Leake and Alma. Our original request was for a precinct-wide approach from Council to the increasing use of our local streets by rat-runners and heavy trucks – the heavy truck problem was mostly centered on Alma Road. The main issue was not speed – it was heavy truck and rat-running. We wished to avoid shifting the problem! We did not set down a solution we asked Council to look at solutions. The design of the Diagonal Diversion was made by CoV Admin staff. We also had asked for improvement in the pedestrian crossing areas there – this did not form part of the Council Admin’s final design.
The Diagonal Diversion Works
The works started on the Diagonal Diversion on 13 February 2023. Prior to and following the establishment of the Diagonal Diversion no warning signs were erected at Charles, Vincent or View to advise drivers of the redirection. The only signage which went up was right at the intersection. It is no wonder there was anger, confusion and dismay. A little more preparatory work by Council Admin, a short video, highlighting positive outcomes regarding health, the environment, safety and resident amenity would have helped.
Signage was finally erected, 10 weeks after the closure. By the 29th April on Alma and Leake signs appeared near the intersection, advising that there was a Trial in place and that this Trial would last until August 2023. The sign indicated that Feedback was being accepted at the Imagine Vincent site.
As a resident I thought I would wait until the Trial had been in place for a period of time, to allow for drivers to settle into new routes, and then submit my Feedback to the CoV. With this decision by Council to end the Trial early, I have lost any opportunity to provide feedback. Also regarding numbers of vehicle movements, where and when were recent measurements made? Certainly not in my area.
I have attended a number of Council meetings over many years; have been a member of the City’s various Transport Advisory groups, and have spoken at Council Meetings. At no time during this six years plus, when this matter has come up before Council, which it has done several times, has anyone spoken against trying to resolve the traffic issues on our local streets. People have made suggestions and submitted varying ideas for resolution but the debate has remained respectful, up until this semi closure of two streets.
The proposed raised plateau at Leake and Alma will not ensure truck drivers and rat runners use the main roads. We have these plateaux currently on Alma and other streets and they do not deter truck drivers, nor rat-runners.
By the way Alma Road is an Access Road, along with Leake, Camelia, Claverton, Alfonso, Persimmon and Vine.
Definition of an Access Road (MRWA) “Access Roads : Provide access to abutting properties with amenity, safety and aesthetic aspects having priority over the vehicle movement function. These roads are bicycle and pedestrian friendly. They are managed by local government.”
Click to access road-hierarchy-criteria.pdf