New tram stop flagged to help improve safety around Docklands Primary School
Authorities are actively considering adding a new tram stop at the Footscray Rd terminus opposite Docklands Primary School to ease congestion at other nearby stops and improve accessibility to the school for families.
Docklands News understands the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) and Yarra Trams are working through an extension of routes 30 and 75 to allow for an additional tram stop to be added on Footscray Rd, however timing of completion will depend on other tram stop upgrade priorities across the network.
It follows ongoing advocacy from the school community to improve safety in the area, with this latest initiative prompted by concerns at nearby tram stops on Harbour Esplanade/NewQuay and Docklands Drive/St Mangos Lane.
During morning and afternoon peaks, locals have reported that overcrowding of the two stops located closest to the school have resulted in several near misses, with families having to contend with trams, trucks, and cyclists in often constricted areas.
Routes 30 and 75 currently cross the Docklands Drive/Dudley St intersection to terminate on Footscray Rd near the school, however there is currently no dedicated tram stop for commuters to disembark at this location.
While the current terminus provides ample space to add an extra stop for commuters, the proposal would require adding new, and upgrading existing, crossings to allow for safe access across Footscray Rd.
A DTP spokesperson told Docklands News that any potential future changes to the Footscray Rd terminus, including the introduction of a tram stop, would need to consider the existing tram operations.
This would include trams for special events to Marvel Stadium, as well as the function of the arterial road, nearby cycling paths and the accessibility and safety of users.
While DPT didn’t confirm when a new stop would be added at the terminus, it said it continued to liaise with the school community regarding potential improvements near the school.
“We have delivered upgrades along Footscray Rd and Dudley St to improve safety for students, including electronic speed limit signs, updated line marking and pedestrian fencing,” a DPT spokesperson said.
We are always reviewing our public transport network and welcome feedback on how we can further improve connections to Docklands Primary School.
The DPT released “Melbourne’s Tram Plan” in August 2023, which sets out how it plans to deliver “a tram network for the future that puts passengers first and gets people to where they need to go”.
The DPT said the plan focused on improving accessibility and safety, moving more people, improving journey times and reliability, better connecting people and places, and delivering value for money.
It said any future potential tram network extensions would focus on how to improve the network to better service growing employment and innovation clusters, major urban renewal precincts and major developments.
The priority and timing of any extensions, including to the Footscray Rd terminus, would consider a range of factors including predictions of patronage, travel time, geography, running costs and the infrastructure required.
Parent Mary Masters told Docklands News the school community was aware of early conversations about the new tram stop.
“This solution could have beneficial safety and traffic flow outcomes for pedestrians, cyclists, tram passengers and car drivers if planned and executed successfully and with community consultation.”
"Potentially, this project could be partially funded through the joint state government and City of Melbourne ‘Transport and Amenity Program’ - a $100 million fund established in 2019 to mitigate the impacts of the West Gate Tunnel Project in Docklands, West Melbourne and North Melbourne."
The DoT highlighted that it had already completed a suite of upgrades surrounding the school to improve safety for children walking to and from the school, while also increasing driver awareness.
This includes the installation of six electronic speed limit signs between Pearl River Rd and Wurundjeri Way to remind drivers to slow down to 40km/h when approaching the school zone.
The signs flash the school zone speed limit during periods of drop-off between 8am and 9.30am, and pick-up between 2.30pm and 4pm. Outside of these times, the signs display the 60km/h speed limit and do not flash.
In addition to the electronic speed limit signs, line marking along Footscray Rd is also alerting drivers of changed speed conditions and the need to slow down.
Pedestrian fencing at the intersection of Dudley St, Footscray Rd, Docklands Drive and Harbour Esplanade is helping guide pedestrians safely to the intersection crossing and creating a barrier between pedestrians and motorists.
The works were completed as part of the joint Victorian and Australian governments’ $457 million Road Safety Program, which aims to deliver safer, connected journeys across the state. •