Objection to MPS/2020/260: Proposal for Glenlyon Bunnings

Objection to Proposed Bunnings Store at 145 Glenlyon Rd Brunswick

Submitted by Walk on Moreland

Permit Application: MPS/2020/260
Proposed development address: 145 Glenlyon Road and 6 Pitt Street, Brunswick VIC 3056
Planner: Renee Ragozzino

Advertised development description: Use of the land for trade supplies and restricted retail premises (Bunnings), buildings and works including the construction of a two-storey building with mezzanine, display of signs reduction in the bicycle requirements and creation of an easement. 


This objection is submitted on behalf of Walk on Moreland, a group of local residents lobbying all levels of government to improve the safety of walking in Moreland. 

Our objection focuses on the detrimental effect on the Bunnings proposal on local pedestrians. We request that Council reject this planning permit outright, as a Bunnings store in this location is incompatible with improving pedestrian safety and amenity due to a large hardware store inevitably attracting significantly more car-based traffic to and within the local area. The applicants have provided no or inadequate data to support their claim of minimal traffic impact on local areas, local amenity and local residents.

We submit that there would be a substantial increase in traffic around Glenlyon Rd and Lygon St due to Bunnings customers driving to the store. This area is already very congested at peak times. Even without the proposed Bunnings store, traffic in this area is expected to increase due to displacement of car-based traffic from Sydney Rd, population growth and a likely increase in car usage post-Covid, as people avoid public transport.

We submit that additional and displaced car-based traffic increase will comprise: increased traffic attracted to the store, the associated increase in rat-running in nearby streets, increased numbers of trucks and semi-trailers as well as increased truck and semi-trailer movement in local streets, increased numbers of vehicles trying to enter and exit the Bunnings stores across footpaths, and the likelihood of pedestrian conflict with impatient drivers. All these factors would make it less safe for pedestrians in this area.

This application, with ensuing congestion and heightened pedestrian risk and danger is completely contrary to the intention of the Moreland Integrated Transport Strategy (MITS), which aims to “consciously reduce local vehicle traffic and safeguard the wellbeing of our community”. According to the MITS, Moreland Council has a “user hierarchy” for transport network users which it uses when “making improvements to our transport network, advocacy or in assessing infrastructure proposals.” This hierarchy gives the highest priority to pedestrians, followed by cyclists, followed by public transport users. Vehicle drivers are given the lowest priority.

Both Lygon St and Glenlyon Rd are on Moreland’s Principal Pedestrian Networks, in recognition that they are used by many pedestrians. Lygon St is also known as a hotspot for pedestrian crashes. This is noted in the MITS.

In the following, we elaborate on our objection.

Claims made by developer and traffic consultant on traffic impacts are incorrect

In their planning report, the developer makes the following claims: “We submit that vehicle access via Glenlyon Road in the proposed location is appropriate and will not result in significant impact upon the safe and efficient function of this road. The use of the Pitt Street exit for delivery and waste vehicles and trade traffic is appropriate and will not impact upon the function of this local street.” and “The TIA [Traffic Impact Assessment] finds that the additional traffic generated is not anticipated to have any adverse impacts on the safety and operation of the surrounding road network.”

The Traffic report claims “the queuing along Glenlyon Road will not impact vehicle access into the subject site”.

These claims are completely at odds with local knowledge of these roads and streets. 

Moreover, the Traffic Impact Assessment is completely inadequate, with no analysis of the traffic effects of the development on nearby areas, from cars, trucks and semi-trailers, nor any analysis of future traffic growth. The claims lack an adequate appreciation of the negative impact on pedestrians of a large scale retail development, such as that proposed.

Local residents who regularly use Glenlyon Rd and Pitt St know that there is already significant congestion along Glenlyon Road during peak times, with eastbound vehicles queuing often back at least 200 m before the Lygon St intersection. A survey of local residents conducted by Brunswick Residents Network (summarised in their objection) noted that traffic sometimes queues to beyond Ewing St. A Bunnings store could increase traffic in this area in peak times by an estimated 30%.

The Traffic Impact Assessment does not discuss the issue of trucks and semi-trailers entering Lygon St from Pitt St. The 19 meter semi-trailers have a turning radius of 12.5 metres. Lygon St is too narrow for the semi-trailers to turn left. Yet turning right out of Pitt St into Lygon St is almost impossible, as respondents from the Brunswick Residents Network have reported. 

Glenlyon Rd and Lygon St traffic expected to increase even without Bunnings

Lygon St traffic will increase due to displacement from Sydney Rd, once Sydney Rd is revitalised to improve cycling and walking. Indeed, the Revitalise Sydney Rd campaign note: “It’s possible that during clearway times some excess traffic will be displaced onto Citylink, Lygon Street and Melville Road.

Brunswick and Brunswick East are expected to grow at around 2.5% per annum. Although Moreland Council seeks to reduce car usage in Moreland, this desire may well be proven unrealistic in the short term by the predicted shift from public transport to car usage post-Covid.

Warburton St is likely to have an apartment development on the Mirabella site, with new residents accessing the site from Glenlyon Rd. This would increase traffic flow immediately opposite 145 Glenlyon Rd.

Delivery vehicles heading towards the new supermarket at East Brunswick Village are now using Glenlyon Rd. As the residential works are yet to be completed at East Brunswick Village, planners have yet no full comprehension of increased traffic flow impact of development already in the pipeline.

 Traffic measures required to manage movements

We understand the traffic management interventions in the block surrounding Barkly Square shopping precinct (Brunswick Rd, Lygon St, Glenlyon Rd and Sydney Road) were directly attributable to the level of traffic impact that occurred following the shopping centre development.

We envisage the impact on traffic in the block bounded by Victoria Street, Sydney Road, Lygon Street and Glenlyon Roads to be as significant. We note the many possibilities in this area to move through small and local streets to move between major roads at peak now and we can only envisage this increasing exponentially with the proposed development. 

We understand that although the planning application cost the proponent approximately $26,000 that this is a very small proportion of the immediate remedial works that will be required in local streets to obviate the impact of rat-running on pedestrians, cyclists and local resident car-drivers. As opposed to an economic benefit, we envisage this application will require additional and long term expenditure by Council on managing the impact.

This will reduce the amount of funds available to improve any other walking environment in any other area of the municipality and turn one which is currently relatively safe into one which is no longer walkable.

Additionally, we argue that the value of the recent pedestrian and cycling safety interventions in Glenlyon Road will be obviated by the impact of increased traffic. We predict the significant investment by Council over the last decade or two will be overshadowed by the detrimental impact of this development, and that further and considerable works will be required at significant cost to Council and ratepayers.

We argue these impacts if not immediately managed will come at the significant expense of local resident safety, peace of mind, quiet streets, amenity and local air quality. 

This development is contrary to the intention of the Moreland Integrated Transport Strategy (MITS).

MITS aims to deliver “Safer, quieter streets” and “A liveable Moreland where the transport network caters for all ages and where we consciously reduce local vehicle traffic and safeguard the wellbeing of our community”.

The proposed development is completely at odds with this aim. The developer accepts that the vast majority of its customers to visit using car-based vehicles, and has designed the site accordingly.

Increased risk at Lygon St / Glenlyon Rd intersection for Pedestrians

The Lygon St precinct immediately to the south of Glenlyon Rd intersection is a popular eating and shopping precinct for local residents. 

A new Bunnings store would significantly increase the amount of traffic at the Lygon St / Glenlyon Rd intersection, particularly vehicles turning into and out of Glenlyon Rd.

The purported minimal risk of increased traffic flow contradicts the MITS which identifies the intersection of Lygon St and Glenlyon Rd as being risky for pedestrians due to a large proportion of vehicles turning left or right at the intersection. 

Right-turning vehicles at a congested intersection present a particularly hazardous situation for pedestrians crossing at the main pedestrian intersection, as drivers will miss seeing pedestrians as they look for breaks in oncoming traffic.

Many vulnerable road users along Glenlyon Rd and Pitt St

Vulnerable road users walking along Glenlyon Rd include residents of a care home in Loyola Avenue, and parents with young children walking to the daycare centre, kindergarten, nearby parks, etc. There are also many elderly residents who walk along Glenlyon Rd to access shops, trams, parks etc. Seniors are vastly over-represented in Moreland’s pedestrian road trauma.

The anticipated many trucks and semi-trailers using Pitt St is very concerning, as residents of the care home at 17 Loyola Ave typically use Pitt St to reach Lygon St. Trucks and semi-trailers require a large turning radius and have extensive blind spots.

 Large increase in Vehicle traffic at a congested site

We submit that the Glenlyon Rd/Lygon St intersection is already overcapacity at peak times, including Saturday afternoons.

Eastbound traffic along Glenlyon Rd already queues up often more than 200 m from the Lygon St intersection during peak times. This is the personal experience of local residents, as was noted in the survey done by Brunswick Residents Network.

We note that the Traffic Impact Assessment (figure 6.2) estimates that 355 vehicles travel along Glenlyon Rd in an easterly direction at the weekend lunchtime peak.

Using VicRoads Opendata we have analysed traffic volume data for 2019 for the Glenlyon Rd/Lygon St intersection. We analysed data from Saturdays between 12-1pm, as this was identified by the developers’ traffic report as a peak time for Bunnings customers. The average on Saturday 12noon-1pm was 398 vehicles per hour. Based on this publicly accessible data alone, we note the Traffic Impact Assessment estimates are professionally inadequate and appear to be designed to be deliberately misleading. 

We note that on some Saturdays traffic volume exceeds 500 vehicle movements per hour. Average traffic flows for Saturday afternoons are around 380 movements per hour. The Saturday peak is close to the weekday 5-6pm peak, which averages 409 movements per hour on Fridays.  

Currently approximately 52% of eastbound vehicles turn left or right into Glenlyon Rd. The need for turning vehicles to give way to pedestrians and oncoming vehicles restricts how many vehicles can move through this intersection at any one light phase. 

The Traffic Impact Assessment suggests that an additional 120 vehicles per hour will access the Bunnings site during Saturday lunchtime. Given the development includes 250 car parks, we expect vehicle numbers to significantly exceed this unusually low estimation.

Due to congestion along Glenlyon Rd, cars leaving the site are expected to turn left in peak times, as a right turn is very difficult. There is no separate lane for vehicles exiting Bunnings to turn right, so it is doubtful that many vehicles would attempt this due to the volume of traffic leaving the site.

Assuming an additional 120 vehicles per hour turning left from 145 Glenlyon Rd would increase eastbound traffic along Glenyon Rd by 30%.

Increased rat-running in local streets and parking in local streets

Because of the congestion along Glenlyon Rd during peak times, more vehicles will use residential streets as rat-runs. Moreover, we expect some customers to park in these local streets and walk a short distance to Bunnings to avoid the congestion at the car park entrance

This would increase pedestrian car conflicts, and thus danger for people walking in these residential streets.

Safety concerns at Bunnings car park entrance and exit, and service road entrance and exit.

We are concerned about the safety of pedestrians crossing the footpath at the Bunnings car park entrance and exit. Given the expected congestion, vehicles turning right into the car park, and seeking to move quickly in front of oncoming traffic, are unlikely to have a clear view of pedestrians walking along the footpath.

Vehicles turning out of the car park will also queue across the footpath. Consider 120 vehicles per hour leaving the site at peak time, presumably turning left, (i.e. one ever 30 seconds). This corresponds to 3 to 4 vehicles exiting the car park every cycle of the Glenlyon Rd / Lygon St signalised intersection (which is about 100 seconds in length). These vehicles will queue across the footpath, obstructing pedestrian access. Moreover, drivers searching for a break in the traffic may well not see approaching pedestrians on the footpath.

We are concerned that the traffic impact assessment has not included line of sight diagrams for vehicles exiting the car park. The area is not free of obstructions as it will have cyclists parking their bikes.

Planning blight of future accessible transport opportunities

We argue that the projected significant movement turning left or right from Glenlyon Rd, and or right and left from Lygon Street (both directions) will blight all further opportunities to install an accessible platform tram stop at the Lygon Street / Glenlyon Rd intersection.

We argue the natural location for such a stop would be immediately north of the current intersection. We argue that this will further significantly limit the capacity of cars to turn left from Glenlyon Rd and West from Lygon Street. We argue the road management treatments supporting such infrastructure will lead to significant driver frustration and likely pedestrian death as a result of cars being completely frustrated and unable to move within the intersection. 

We argue that planning for and providing accessible public transport is both a public good and legal requirement, that it supports many vulnerable road users to walk and reach destinations beyond their walking capacity.

We argue that the planning and infrastructure requirements for future accessible public transport infrastructure should be considered as more immediate and more socially responsible than providing access to more cars to use an already congested intersection.