Road works welcome but safety campaign not over
Speed humps will be installed this month in a bid to reduce speeding on the dangerous stretch of road in Brunswick East
Monday, February 14, 2022
BRUNSWICK East residents will continue pushing for major and permanent changes to the dangerous Nicholson-Albion bend even after new traffic control measures are put in place this month.
Speed humps and other traffic control measures will be installed in the notorious stretch of road near Brunswick East Primary School in a bid to reduce regular car accidents in the area.
The new works follow months of campaigning by the BEsafestreets group which has warned of the likelihood of a fatal accident if greater action isn’t taken to reduce speeding on the bend.
A Department of Transport spokesperson confirmed that the safety improvements will include the installation of rubber road cushions, otherwise known as speed humps, on both sides of the road near Lyndhurst Crescent and Glenmorgan Street, upgraded warning and safety signs, and pavement marking improvements.
The upgrades have been approved following further investigations by traffic engineers and build on previous measures to encourage slower speeds and improve safety in the area, including installing dragons teeth road markings, as well as zig-zag lines and warning signs to provide motorists with visual cues when approaching pedestrian crossings.
“We are always looking at ways to ensure our network remains safe for all road users, including where Nicholson St meets Albion Street,” the DoT spokesperson said in a written statement sent by email.
“These new measures will encourage drivers to slow down and remain alert when approaching the bend.
“We will continue to listen to the local community and engage with our road safety partners to determine how best to improve the road and look at further ways to improve safety at this location.”
While falling short of what had been hoped for, residents have hailed the action by the DoT as an important step towards reducing the high rate of accidents.
But at the same time, they will continue campaigning for a permanent road redesign to bring traffic to a complete halt as it rounds the dangerous bend.
BEsafestreets spokesperson Caterina Cinanni said the new modifications were a pleasant surprise but residents were unclear about what effect the speed humps would have as there had been no communication from the DoT apart from the letterbox drop.
“We don’t know if it will make a difference,” Ms Cinanni said.
“They have informed residents that they will be installing rubber speed humps on the bend. We welcome that they are doing something but we will keep campaigning if they are not effective.
“More also needs to be done around the school crossing and along Albion Street. The bend is a crash hotspot but the whole stretch of road from Blyth to Holmes requires measures to improve pedestrian and cycling safety especially for families cycling and walking to the local school.”
The bend has been in the spotlight since a spate of accidents in autumn last year when the front fence of one house was hit by cars twice in a little over a fortnight.
This led to the case for road safety being taken up by Brunswick MP Tim Read and by Moreland Council, which met with senior advisers from the office of Roads Minister last July.
But the campaign for road safety near the BEPS has been underway for more than half-a-decade since safety barriers were removed along the footpath on the southern side of the bend.
Over that time, residents have catalogued dozens of accidents in a stretch of just a few hundred metres, including cars coming in opposing directors colliding, parked cars being hit, and cars veering off the road into nearby Jones Park.
The campaign had achieved some minor changes including a lowering of the recommended speed limit to 25kmh, but seemed to have hit a brick wall when the department refused to commit to any further improvements after last year’s meetings.
Ms Cinanni said the announcement about speed humps would not prevent the campaign from continuing for a complete redesign of the bend.
“There needs to be a redesign of the road into an L-shape or something that actually makes the traffic slow right down and forces a left or right turn,” she said.
“It could be a roundabout or lights or something that will force a stop so there’s safe turning into and out of the Nicholson-Albion bend; and also safe passage for pedestrians because people cross and children use their bikes on the bend to get to and from the school and park.”
Ms Cinanni said the installation of the speed humps showed that community pressure could result in positive change, and this would encourage her group to keep campaigning.
“A few years ago, the VicRoads engineer [dealing with the case] was blue in the face insisting that there would never be speed humps on an arterial road. I think the campaign has proven that when people come together and campaign for pedestrian and cyclist safety that anything is possible,” she said.
“VicRoads have also said they can’t redesign the road but this latest announcement gives hope that if we keep campaigning and make the case on safety issues, that community pressure can change policy.”