Two deaths at same intersection spark calls for new safety measures
Walking group suggests 40kmh speed limit in built up areas on Melville RoadMark Phillips
THE death of a pedestrian at the start of this month has prompted fresh calls for extra safety measures to be installed at a section of Melville Road where two people have been killed in the past two years.
An 82-year-old man from Brunswick West died in hospital on March 2, a day after he was allegedly struck by a pick-up truck while crossing at the intersection of Hope Street and Melville Road.
The 27-year-old driver of the Ford Ranger stopped at the scene to assist and was subsequently charged with dangerous driving causing serious injury.
Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
A makeshift memorial has been established with flowers laid at the base of a lamp post near the intersection.
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The man was the second person to be killed at the same intersection in the past two years.
In March 2021, a woman died when she was struck by a car late at night.
Further north on Melville Road, near the corner of Brearley Parade in Pascoe Vale, a cyclist was killed on April 13 last year when he collided with a tow truck whose driver allegedly tested positive for methylamphetamine.
A local business owner whose staff witnessed the collision on March 1 this year said the intersection was very dangerous.
The man was hit just metres from the front door of Verity Campbell’s public relations agency on the western side of Melville Road.
She said hazards for pedestrians and bike riders were both traffic speeding along Melville Road and hurtling northbound out of the corner of Hope Street. Melville Road has a 60kmh an hour speed limit, while the limit in Hope Street is 40kmh.
“It’s a busy corner with a school crossing and a busy tram stop on the other side of the road,” she said.
“There’s very little road safety treatment, no raised pedestrian crossings there and no visibility to show drivers this is an important place here to slow down and take care. It’s just a standard intersection and slower speeds would make a huge difference.”
Road safety advocates say relatively modest changes could make Melville Road safer for pedestrians.
These include installing ‘Give Way to Pedestrians’ electronic signs at all intersections, reprogramming traffic lights to provide an early start for pedestrians and cyclists before motorists, ensuring all traffic lights have mast arms so they can be clearly seen by drivers from a distance, and marking pedestrian crossings with yellow paint.
Andrea Bunting from Walk On Merri-bek said the speed limit of 60kmh on Melville Road should also be reduced to at least 50kmh and even 40kmh in shopping strips on both Melville and Grantham roads.
Ms Campbell said after she was hit by a car while on her bike 18 months ago, she avoids riding on Hope Street because it is not safe for cycling. She said speed bumps should be installed at the Melville Road end to slow traffic on Hope Street.
“I think all the streets around here need to be 40kmh and we need to prioritise the safety of the most vulnerable in our community which is the elderly, children on bikes and walking and people with a disability,” she said.
Brunswick MP Tim Read has asked the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Melissa Horne, to review the intersection and to make Melville Road safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
“I do not know the exact circumstances of this accident, but traffic moves fast on Melville Road and I am concerned about speed and the risk to people who walk or ride,” he said in State Parliament last week.
“As well as lowering the speed limit on this road, there may be other ways of protecting vulnerable road users, like pedestrian priority lights, flashing signs reminding drivers to give way to pedestrians, mast arms to extend traffic lights and make them more apparent to drivers and yellow paint to make pedestrian crossings more visible.
“Measures like these would bring the intersections on Melville Road in line with other safer intersections in the Brunswick area.”
Dr Read told Brunswick Voice that people who were concerned about safety on roads in his electorate should write a short submission to a newly announced parliamentary inquiry into the impact of road behaviours on vulnerable road users.