Slow plan for Footscray’s streets

By Stella Tzobanakis

Speed limits in some Footscray streets could go as low as 30 kilometres per hour under a $2.54 million VicRoads project.

If approved, the plan could make Maribyrnong the first council in the state to introduce the 30km/h speed limit.

Yarra council is also considering slashing some street speed limits to 30km/h.

The Footscray Pedestrian Safety Improvement Project focuses on the area bounded by Moore and Market streets, Ballarat Road and Buckley Street. Geelong Road has been identified as a “priority area”.

It is in response to a high number of accidents in Footscray involving pedestrians.

There had been 305 crashes in Footscray involving pedestrians (including two deaths), and 84 serious injuries in a five-year period from 2000-2015, according to a council report.

The accidents had been the result of jaywalking and pedestrians not using designated crossing points.

VicRoads believes lowering the speed limits will make pedestrians safer.

But West Footscray resident Eddie Merrifield told last week’s council meeting he believed lowering the speed limit to 30km/h was “going a little too far”.

RACV roads and traffic manager Dave Jones said in most instances, RACV considers 40km/h an appropriate speed limit for high pedestrian areas.

“Councils need to try to remove the root cause of crashes and install traffic management devices to change the speed environment of the road, not to put up a sign and hope that drivers will obey it.”

If approved, the project would be funded by the Transport Accident Commission. VicRoads will put the project out for public consultation.