Angelica Panopoulos: North West ward candidate 2020

Responses to Survey Questions from Angelica Panopoulos

1. What are your most important priorities to increase pedestrian safety specifically in the ward you hope to represent as well as in the rest of Moreland?

I, and the Greens, have several priorities to increase pedestrian safety throughout Moreland. 

Firstly, we need to introduce and expand traffic calming measures. The Greens support reducing speed limits in high pedestrian areas, as well as including a 30 km per hour speed limit on all local roads. These measures, however, need to be met with adequate signage to alert road users of these updates. I also support the further implementation of speed humps and intersections that are painted bright colours to highlight that drivers do need to come to a stop. Additionally, we need an education campaign that fully informs road users of the dangers that they may pose to pedestrians and cyclists through unsafe driving practices.

Secondly, the pedestrian infrastructure itself needs to be enhanced. All footpaths, no matter where in Moreland they are, need to be safe for people to use. They shouldn’t be cracked or obstructed. It is a core priority to ensure that these are well-maintained. More pedestrian crossings are also needed, with accessibility measures implemented so that all people of all abilities can use the footpaths (the same goes for people with prams or trolleys!). 

2. If elected, what will you do to help reduce pedestrian road trauma in Moreland?

I will work with the community on multiple fronts. We need genuine and meaningful consultation to understand where the particularly high risk areas and black spots are. These are to be addressed in order of priority. Furthermore, I aim to prioritise pedestrians and active transport modes throughout Moreland, so that more people feel safe when out. This prioritization directly leads into funding the safety measures mentioned in the first question, and increased advocacy regarding the state government and public transport investment. 

3. What vision do you have to actively encourage older adults to walk in Moreland?

I envisage a community where the voices and opinions of our older Morelanders are listened to and valued. It isn’t good enough to only have well-maintained footpaths – the surrounding infrastructure is also necessary. That’s why, in our green and open spaces, the Greens are calling for greater shade, more seating options and reducing the number of visibility black spots.

4. In what ways should Council increase its investment in the maintenance and improvements to footpaths and other outdoor public infrastructure to reduce falls injuries?

One simple way for Council to improve its investment in this area is to commit more funding from the budget through meaningful community consultation that determines key priorities. 

5. If elected, how will you encourage Council to implement proven street design measures to reduce vehicle speeds?

The Greens have led this work for many years with policies that include traffic calming measures, prioritising pedestrians at intersections and traffic lights, calling for more pedestrian crossings, and improved line marking, lighting, and so on.

6. What measures would you implement to stop speeding near schools?

The Greens support reduced speed measures near schools. Taking this to 30kmh needs to be a priority.

Many parents are reluctant to let children walk or ride independently to and from school. Changing this current norm is taking time and will need more effort. Walking school buses and similar initiatives have assisted to create more communal care and sharing that around, to enable parents to have confidence in others and their own children to have more autonomy.

7. What improvements are needed for footpaths to make them safer for pedestrians after dark?

This is an absolutely huge issue. In pre-Covid times, I was very rarely out by myself after dark. Not being able to be properly aware of your surroundings is both scary and exhausting as a young woman. This is emblematic of a bigger issue in our society where women (and really all people other than men) don’t feel safe by themselves after dark and are not able to enjoy the public realm in the same way that men are. I greatly support increased visibility measures – whether that’s through direct lighting or actually designing spaces so that they have fewer black spots and that visibility lines are enhanced. Additionally, well-maintained footpaths reduce the chances of tripping over when trying to walk through badly lit areas. 

8. The majority of surveyed Sydney Rd. users support the removal of all on-street parking to make way for wider footpaths and protected cycling lanes in both directions. Do you agree with this and if so, how would you work to achieve this if elected?

The Greens support this work and have moved motions to establish trials on Sydney Rd. Given it’s a Department of Transport road (Vic Government), Council needs the community to be calling strongly for action on this, if it is to happen any time soon. The delay in accessible trams stops is shameful on both ALP and Lib/Nat state governments.

9. What strategies are needed by Council, in collaboration with the State Government, to introduce a driver education campaign in regard to stopping for, giving way and slowing down for pedestrians at intersections, zebra crossings, school crossings and other hot spots?

Greens on Council are committed to collaborating with the State Government to introduce the aforementioned pedestrian safety measures. However, these measures will require further financial contributions from the State Government to supplement Council’s existing funds.

10. As the local population grows, so does local traffic and through traffic. How do you propose to address the competing interests of different transport users i.e. pedestrians, cyclists, private and commercial vehicle drivers and public transport (trams and buses)?

The Greens will continue to :

  • Call for significant improvements in public transport services. They need to be more frequent, more reliable, safer, cleaner and have longer hours of operation. Duplicating the Upfield Line is another priority. 
  • Support the revised MITS prioritising pedestrians first and other active transport modes second, with increased community engagement and collaboration. 
  • Engage with the community on implementing the MITS and the Parking Plan so that changes can be effectively implemented 
  • Support car share schemes and more bicycle parking
  • Support measures to enable new residents to live here without needing to rely on a car and ensure private cars are parked for long periods off-street. Short term parking can be permitted for all car users (mostly).