Crossing Blackburn Rd could be safe, but it isn’t – YET!

NOTE: This is a 2-3 minute read. If you are short on time, we suggest that you scroll to the bottom to look at the 60 second video from Matt Bach MP.

Eight months ago in September 2022, WATAG started a petition asking for local Whitehorse Council to work with the state Department of Planning and Transport (DPT) to design a way of making is safe for children and in fact, everyone in the community, to cross Blackburn Rd, Blackburn. The section between Blackburn Station and Canterbury Rd is 1.4 km without any safe crossing points.

In April we updated the community about the delays and apparent buck-passing between Council and the DPT.
Refresh you memory here with the details: The time is NOW for this.

In that article WATAG wondered whether because there are no records of deaths or serious injury at these locations, they are considered by the DPT to be safe. We thought that presumably, if a death or serious injury does occur, they will give greater priority to action being taken.

We noted that local MP’s Will Fowles and Paul Hamer have been asked to help because it seems that another local MP, Paul Mullahy, successfully worked with a local school kid to get a safe crossing over a nearby road with similar traffic conditions.

The article gave contact details for all the MP’s representing the Blackburn area and asked people to contact them if they supported the need for safe crossings.

Will Fowles MP responded to our letter to him and restated the DPT position by saying:
“DoT has investigated the safety of this intersection and advised that an intersection upgrade is unlikely to be implemented in the short term.”
He also noted: “I appreciate this wasn’t the answer you were hoping for, but I am grateful for your interest in local infrastructure.”

Thanks Will – but that isn’t the end of the story for WATAG or the Blackburn community!

Paul Hamer MP noted that: “It will be difficult to secure funding for a signalised pedestrian crossing at this location if the project does not have the in principle support of the Department
He also said: “As previously mentioned, I want to take this back to the Department and the Minister, so by that definition I am intervening in support of the community’s request (having already raised it alongside your original submission).”

Thanks Paul – but we already know the DPT’s response is negative. Unfortunately we have had no indication that this is seen as important by the government.

Matt Bach MP recently took notice of our request and took the positive action of asking a question in Parliament:

Thanks Matt – your request has great merit. The community appreciates your public support.

WATAG thinks that Minister Horne might be more persuaded if local MP’s from both major parties join together and make a united approach.

So the challenge is out there to you all – Will Fowles MP, Paul Hamer MP and Matt Bach MP.
And see if you can interest your colleague Shaun Leane MP to join with you too.

Other readers of this article might like to click the links attached to the names above and email them too, and don’t forget the The Hon Melissa Horne  MP – Minister for Roads and Road Safety!

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Over 50’s Bike Expo

If you missed the WATAG Over 50’s e-Bike and e-Trike Expo held on 26th March 2023 at Nunawading Community Hub, all is not lost. A video was made of the day by Carol O’Halloran – Wellness Professional – and Host of the TV show “Over 50 – So What!” (Ch 31 in Victoria).

Check it out now ( or click the image below.

WATAG recommends that you take note of the message and “Get on Your Bike!

Posted in Active transport, Cycling, Disability, Health, Safety | Tagged | 2 Comments

The latest WATAG newsletter

Click here to read the April 2023 WATAG newsletter

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Neighbourhood Streets – The Padbury Experiment

The Heart Foundation’s Healthy Active by Design website is a brilliant resource for all who are interested in safer streets for people and better health as a result of being active. Nearly 5 years ago it was reported that Perth Transport Planner Tim Judd presented a paper on how “Reducing the speed limit on Perth suburban streets to 30km/h would curtail crashes and fatalities — and without significant delays in travel times.”

This has been highlighted by Heart Foundation’s Healthy active by Design website as the Padbury Experiment.

The Padbury Experiment was conducted in the Perth suburb of Padbury to explore the impact of reducing the speed limit on residential roads from 50km/h to 30km/h. The goal of the experiment was to transform roads into streets and create a safer and more liveable community. The intervention was designed to be self-enforcing, using appropriate road and path widths, reducing forward visibility, and speed control devices to ensure that vehicles cannot travel at more than 30km/h.

The experiment found that reducing the speed limit to 30km/h had minimal impact on travel times and associated costs. The travel time assessment showed that there was less than one-minute travel time difference from Padbury to the freeway or train stations when travelling at 30km/h compared to travelling at 50km/h. Evidence suggests that real travel speeds on local streets are well below the nominal 50km/h limit, making the reduced speed limit more feasible.

There are eight main local distributor roads within the suburb of Padbury, with most residential roads classified as Access Roads. The proposal to reduce suitable roads to 30km/h within Padbury acknowledged the role and function of the local distributor roads, but recognized that the required posted speed limit did not have to be the standard 50km/h. Four roads were to be kept at a 50km/h limit as they connect to the higher order arterial road network, while all other roads were proposed to have a self-enforcing speed limit of 30km/h.

The Padbury project demonstrated that having a network of local suburban neighbourhood streets at 30km/h would have minimal effect on journey times but offer significant improvements in road safety and pedestrian amenity. The intervention would provide an important new strategy for achieving continued reductions in injury rates from road crashes in Australia.

To ensure that the reduced speed limit was self-enforcing, appropriate road and path widths were used, along with features that influence the speed at which people drive. Examples include edge markings that visually narrow the road, the close proximity of buildings to the road, street trees, on-street parking, and pedestrian refuges and activity. Local ‘cycle-friendly’ area traffic management devices were also considered, such as raised intersection thresholds, narrow carriageway widths with traversable medians, gateway features, buildouts, offset kerbside tree planting, as well as narrower intersection design utilizing tighter turning radii.

The Padbury Experiment is an example of how reducing the speed limit on residential roads can create safer and more liveable communities. By transforming roads back into streets, neighbourhoods become important places for walking, cycling, social interactions, and even playful exploration by local children. The evidence suggests that lower speed limits in residential streets provide an important new strategy for achieving continued reductions in injury rates from road crashes in Australia.

Many others have written about the benefits of 30km/hr streets and how people have myths that need busting. Check out Busted: 5 myths about 30km/h speed limits in Australia

I wonder how much more evidence needs to be demonstrated that 30km/hr needs wide implementation?

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Pedestrian and cyclist safety

VicRoads annual road safety grant initiative offers funding opportunities to councils and community organizations.Refer:

I think the program is essentially a “safe-washing” initiative, because it puts the responsibility on pedestrians rather than addressing the underlying issue of car-centric road design and driver behaviour.

Under the “Pedestrian innovation” category, VicRoads will fund pedestrian behaviour change and education programs, and nudge marketing strategies, while infrastructure and speed reduction planning works are excluded.

A recent Austroads webinar showed that zebra and wombat crossings are effective because they modify the behaviour of car drivers. The studies also found that pedestrian behaviour was not a significant factor in collisions. Instead, reducing vehicle speed to 30km/hr* is the most effective way to reduce pedestrian and car fatalities and injuries. The Stockholm Declaration of February 2020 and the subsequent endorsement by the UN General Assembly recognize this fact.

To address the root cause of pedestrian and cyclist accidents and fatalities on the roads, let’s not victim blame. What’s needed are infrastructure changes and  reduced  speeds to change driver behaviour.. Which are precisely the things excluded from VicRoads funding.

*Check out these 30km/hr links  from WATAG newsletters and other posts.

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