Negotiations on South St: speak out now!

A recent article in the Fremantle Gazette gave the impression that Main Roads has rejected the request to decrease speeds on South St. This is incorrect. The Main Roads spokesperson was simply repeating their previous position and they had not yet received the formal application from city officers.

Negotiations are continuing and I'll keep you posted. In brief; the application is for speeds to be reduced from 60 to 50km/h through the Hilton Village, from 70 to 60km/h from Hines Rd to Stock Rd, and from 70 to 60km/h between Stock Rd and McCombe Ave.

Below is a letter that I wrote in support of the application also signed by Councillors Josh Wilson, Bill Massie and the Mayor. The Hilton and Samson precincts are also writing to Main Roads and I encourage residents to do the same.

Mr John Moore
Traffic Services Branch
Main Roads WA
PO Box 6202
East Perth
WA 6892
john.moore@mainroads.wa.gov.au

Re: Application to reduce speeds limits on South St

Dear John,
We are writing to you in support of the application by the City of Fremantle to lower speed limits on South St through Hilton and Samson. Firstly we would like to convey to you the strength of community feeling on this issue. As councillors who represent the wards concerned, and regularly attend the meetings of the Hilton, Samson, and O'Connor neighbourhood precinct groups, we are in an excellent position to convey to you the overwhelming support for this change in our community.

As you would be aware this stretch of South St has had sufficient accidents to qualify for federal "Black Spot Funding" at both the Paget St and McCombe Ave intersections. This alone demonstrates that community concerns about safety are well founded. We are aware that traffic speed is not the only thing that influences safety, but it is certainly one of them.

Furthermore while safety is perhaps the most important factor motivating this application, it is not the only one. The reduced speed limits would also serve other important objectives, namely: improving the area’s general amenity, community place making and the promotion of sustainable transport.

Our request for reduced speed limits can be broken down into three separate but related components or requests. In outlining these we will explain both the safety and other objectives we seek to achieve in advocating for a decreased speed limit on this part of South Street.

1. The Hilton Village (Carrington St to Hines Rd)
We would like the speed limit along this section of road reduced from 60 to 50 km/h, in keeping with the limit one would expect to find in similar inner urban shopping areas. Residents accept that there will always be a high volume of traffic through the Hilton Village. However it is a local shopping precinct with frequent pedestrian movements across South St between the shops.

The city's planning codes actively encourage the development of higher density housing and shop-front style commercial development in this area. In time the council will be improving the streetscape with the planting of street trees, the installation of planter boxes, bicycle parking facilities and other measures. We want to encourage the consolidation of this area as a traditional shopping centre with shops facing the street, residences on the first and second floors, and greater pedestrian activity on the footpath.

Many vehicles passing through already exceed the existing 60 km/h limit; encouraged by both the 70 km/h limit east of the shops, and the long "roller coaster" ride and clear line of site that the the road currently provides. You would be aware that a pedestrian was killed at this spot a few years ago, which was a key factor in the ‘blackspot’ listing of the Paget St intersection.

2. Hines Rd to Stock Rd
In our application we also ask that the speed limit here be reduced from 70 km/h to 60 km/h. While this section of South St may be a divided dual carriageway, it has a high volume of pedestrian movements across it, with vehicles pulling in and out of residential driveways on the southern side and many commercial premises on the northern side. You will be aware that a pedestrian was also killed on this section of road a few years ago. As previously mentioned, the 70 km/h limit on this section encourages drivers to maintain this higher speed all the way though to Carrington St.

Furthermore the 70 km/h limit creates significant problems for cyclists heading east/west from Samson to Hilton (or vice versa). East of Stock Rd cyclists have the option of using a shared path which runs parallel to South St. However this terminates at Stock Rd. From that point a cyclist has no option but to ride on South St. The 70 km/h limit makes this a very intimidating prospect for most people. It both endangers current cyclists and dissuades potential cyclists.

Extending the shared path west of Stock Rd would be impractical because of the many residential driveway cross-overs. The council's recently adopted Bike Plan anticipates the installation of bike lanes along this stretch of South St. A 60 km/h limit would make this easier for both the City of Fremantle and for Main Roads. At 60 km/h Austroads guidelines recommend a minimum bike lane width of 1.2m (1.5m desirable), but over 60 km/h this increases to a 1.8 m minimum (2.0 m desirable).

3. Stock Rd to McCombe Ave
We are also seeking that this section of South also be reduced from 70 km/h to 60 km/h. Residents frequently report the difficulty and dangers that confront pedestrians trying to cross the road. This is especially a problem for elderly residents trying to cross to the northern side of South St to access the bus stop, medical centre and businesses in O'Connor.

The problem will be substantially addressed in the immediate vicinity of McCombe Ave when its intersection with South St becomes signalised. However west of McCombe Ave in the vicinity of Yarrick St/Bunnings, elderly residents report that it is difficult to cross from Samson to the bus stop on the northern side of South St. Vehicles heading west are hidden by a rise in the road and slower moving pedestrians find themselves only half way across the west bound carriageway before fast moving vehicles are bearing down on them.

Please advise if you need any clarification or further explanation of these points, and we look forward to your response.

Yours Sincerely,

Sam Wainwright (Councillor, Hilton Ward), Bill Massie (Councillor, Hilton Ward), Josh Wilson (Councillor, Beaconsfield Ward) & Dr Brad Pettitt (Mayor); City of Fremantle

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