Road Safety / Opinion

It’s time for a lower speed limit along the 58 tram route

State government inaction is putting lives at risk, writes Andrea Bunting from Walk On Merri-bek
Friday, April 26, 2024

HUGO and Gilbert Berry live on Melville Road in Brunswick West and ride, scoot or walk to their local Brunswick schools.  

Recently an out-of-control motorist crashed into their neighbour’s yard, narrowly missing a bedroom.  

Their Mum, Emily Myer, is concerned about speeding motorists. The evidence on Melville Road is that she is right to be concerned. 

Around 30 people are killed or injured each year along Melville Road, Dawson Street, Grantham Road, which together make up the tram route 58 through Brunswick. 

Since 2022, two people, on foot or a bicycle have died. Pedestrians are particularly at risk, with one-in-eight of Merri-bek’s pedestrian injuries occurring on these roads.  

Hugo and Gilbert Berry near their home in Melville Road.

How can we get more action on road safety along Melville, Dawson and Grantham from the state government? We examined Merri-bek Council’s detailed investigation into crashes on Melville Road between Victoria and Albion Streets, as well as five years (to August 2023) of death and injury crash data 

Slowing cars down will help. Many motorists accessing the northern suburbs drive through Brunswick and Coburg. Some are avoiding Citylink tolls by using Melville, Dawson and Grantham, the only north-south route south of Bell Street with a 60 kmh speed limit. 

There are several small shopping strips along this route used by local residents. Despite this, they are ineligible for 40 kmh speed limit, for which VicRoads requires 400 metres of continuous shops 

Merri-bek Mayor Adam Pulford notes: “A lower speed limit means drivers have more time to react when something goes wrong, leading to fewer crashes. A car travelling at a lower speed is also less dangerous for anyone hit. This will potentially save lives and reduce the number and severity of injuries”. 

Merri-bek Council has asked the state government for a lower speed limit on Melville Road south of Moreland Road. But there have been many crashes resulting in injuries further north, particularly near the bends north of Lever Street. Speed often contributes to these mid-block crashes. A lower speed limit along the length of Melville Road, Dawson Street and Grantham Street would improve safety. 

It is also important to improve safety at the signalised intersections. These are where most pedestrian road trauma occurs, the worst being Grantham and Dawson, Albion and Melville, and Hope and Melville. At Grantham and Dawson, used by many Brunswick Secondary College students, all injured pedestrians were hit by a driver who was turning or while alighting a tram.  

At the intersection of Melville Road with both Albion and Hope streets, all injured pedestrians were hit by a driver turning right. Council is now advocating for the installation of flashing LED “Give Way to Pedestrians” signs at both these intersections, but changes in road design could also help drivers pay more attention. 

Read more:

Walking group suggests 40kmh speed limit in built up areas on Melville Road.

Walking group suggests 40kmh speed limit in built up areas on Melville Road.

In terms of safety for all road users, the Melville and Albion intersection is by far the worst. Last month, a woman was critically injured after her car was hit by an alleged dangerous driver. While police have advised the council that in this case intersection design was not a contributing factor, the significant crash history at this intersection shows it needs urgent attention. One problem, highlighted by council officers, is that the traffic signals here have poor visibility, something that could be improved with mast arms to hold the signals across the road.  

Melville, Dawson and Grantham are all arterial roads, controlled by the state Department of Transport and Planning. They cross the two state electoral districts of Brunswick and Pascoe Vale.  

“It’s long past time for the state government to take action on road safety in Brunswick West,” says Dr Tim Read, the MP for Brunswick.  

“We’re seeing too many injuries and even deaths that could be reduced or prevented by bringing in simple, sensible measures like lower speed limits, raised and brightly painted pedestrian crossings, red-light cameras and mast arms at pedestrian crossing lights. … There’s no reason to delay these measures that will help keep people safe.” 

Anthony Cianflone, MP for Pascoe Vale notes: “With so many more young families and elderly residents now living across Pascoe Vale, Coburg and Brunswick West, improving road safety and vulnerable road user safety remains an ongoing priority, including along the Melville Road Corridor.” 

He wants the state government “to consider safer speeds, enhanced pedestrian crossings, increased road safety mitigation and calming treatments – including for Brunswick North West Primary and St Joseph’s Primary families – improved tram safety, and greater police enforcement”. 

Residents concerned about road safety on Melville Road and Grantham and Dawson Streets can write to the Minister for Roads and Road Safety about their concerns by emailing

 Andrea Bunting is a Brunswick resident and convenor of Walk On Merri-bek