Meghan Street: North East ward candidate 2020

Responses to Survey Questions from Meghan Street

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?

There are several key issues for pedestrians in Moreland, specifically in the North East Ward where pedestrians have less access to safe services.

The footpaths are not well maintained (broken and uneven) and on some streets there are no pavement footpaths (a must for those in wheelchairs, motorised chairs and people with prams).

There is also a lack of pedestrian crossings on busy roads, in particular pedestrian crossing with lights (and sound notifications). Designated crossings on busy roads allows pedestrians to cross more safely and does not force them to risk going across roads where there is no crossing, cars are travelling fast, and the risk of death upon collision is increased.

Disability accessibility is an extra problem with the recent landscaping works to Jewell station resulting in a massive flight of stairs on the most prominent entrance to the station, and a less safe entrance for wheelchair users than existed before the works.

There are other areas where disability access is difficult such as on Munro St Coburg coming up to the intersection of Munro St & Louisa Streets. There needs to be an disability access audit of the streets & footpaths in the activity centres with a focus on accessibility for different types of disability.

There are also precincts where the car speed is too high, in particular around the neighbouring streets of schools and busy parks.

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

Moreland has one of the highest per capita rates of pedestrian deaths in Victoria. There are some roads in Moreland that need lower speed limits and/or other traffic calming measures such as speed humps. There need to be more pedestrian crossings on busy roads such as Newlands Rd, Murray Rd and Moreland Rd,, including where newly constructed supermarkets are creating new pedestrian routes, and clearer markings needed on confusing intersections like the Moreland Rd/Nicholson St/Holmes St intersection. Some of these projects need approval and funding from the state government but council needs to energetically advocate for a safer environment for pedestrians.

There are also more schools that need crossing supervisors that can’t get them. 

Another issue that needs to be looked at is the proliferation of electric delivery bikes on footpaths and shared paths as some of these go a lot faster than a normal bike and can be unpredictable in changing direction in front of pedestrians.

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

The council needs to develop an easily accessible program to report unsafe footpaths and pedestrian crossing in Moreland. Older residents may feel unsafe and unstable on uneven, broken pathways and may be discouraged from walking because of this.

An increase in the budget for the maintenance of pathways is essential to tackling the safety issue.

Some areas also need better lighting for ease of walking at night and also for older residents to feel safer.

The council could also encourage older residents to join walking clubs. The council community buses could pick older residents with mobility issues up from their homes and take them to parks where group walks can be held. Mobility issues do not mean the end of walking for older folks, we need to facilitate movement and also socialisation for health.

 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?

The council’s budget needs to be looked at with a view to increasing funding for maintenance of footpaths and crossings for pedestrians at intersections, particularly roundabouts.

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

We would move a motion in council to report on street design options and then vote to implement the most effective measures.

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

Better designed streets landscapes is critical to increased safety around our schools. Lowered speeds in adjacent streets, speed humps, and electronic signs informing drivers of how fast they are going are some successful methods in increasing safety.

All schools should have crossing supervisors in key locations (traffic hotspots) to facilitate safety.

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

There should be an investigation of installing white line markings on footpaths to make changes of level in footpaths stand out on dimly lit footpaths. There needs to be more lighting, particularly on narrow footpaths, but this also has to be considered in the context of residents being protected from having too much light shining into dwellings late at night.

The installation of low light solar lights into the footpaths is also an option, particularly in hotspots of injury.

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?

Sydney Road is very difficult because the road isn’t wide enough to satisfy everyone’s needs. That means that you have to prioritise people’s needs. That means that the priorities should be pedestrian and cycling safety as the most vulnerable road users. 

But there are some practical impediments to removing all parking which are best dealt with on a precinct by precinct basis along Sydney Rd at a round table of council, cyclists, pedestrian advocacy groups and traders. 

Some of the practical impediments are shops which don’t have any laneway access for deliveries and would still need to have delivery trucks park in front of their shops in order to get deliveries and the issue of disability access because some of the blocks are too long for it to be practical for some people to use a disability park on a side street. 

You can only win public support for installing separated bike lanes if you address the practical difficulties with this as well.

It’s also possible that different solutions should be used on different parts of Sydney Rd. When we conceive of Sydney Rd, we have to think of the full length of it from the southern end of Brunswick up to the cemetery and the M80 & Campbellfield shopping centre so a solution at one end might not be an effective solution at the other end. 

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?

Driver and cyclist distraction, fatigue and lack of education can all contribute to pedestrian injuries.  More visibility of crossings and pedestrian thoroughfares will help with this.

Zebra crossings are quite dangerous for pedestrians because they can give pedestrians a false sense of confidence. Where they exist, there probably should be flashing lights.

One thing that does help with reducing driver’s speed is the Smiley face that tells drivers how fast they are driving. Those electronic signs should be installed around school crossing zones and other hotspots.

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)?

A major cause of through traffic is lack of public transport. That means that terrible public transport in the outer suburbs causes traffic chaos in the inner suburbs. There are many people who drive from the outskirts of Melbourne to Moreland to access trains. There are many people in Fawkner, Merlynston, Campbelfield and further out who have given up on the Upfield line because it is so unreliable for people on the northern end of the line that many people who have access to cars have resorted to driving.