Speed zones drop outside Docklands Primary School
By Brendan Rees
The speed limit along a busy road near Docklands Primary School has been slashed and a 40km/h speed zone introduced after the school community lobbied for improved safety.
In October, the Department of Transport dropped the speed limit on Footscray Rd between Pearl River Rd and Dudley St from 70km/h to 60 km/h to improve safety for pedestrians, students, and parents.
A 40km/h speed limit during school times was also introduced on Footscray Rd between Waterfront Way and Wurundjeri Way “to improve safety for children, parents and other pedestrians who use the footpaths around Docklands Primary School,” the Department said.
The new measures follow concerns raised by the Docklands Primary School community regarding student safety along Footscray Rd, which has seen three crashes resulting in injuries near the Docklands Drive intersection in the five years to December, 2020, according to the Department’s data.
Backing the school’s call for improved safety was Northern Metropolitan Region MP Sheena Watt, who said she had spoken to principal Adam Bright earlier this year and “knew something needed to be done quickly to ensure the safety of the students”.
“With the support of the Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll, I’ve been able to ensure interim traffic management signage is in place and have secured a long-term package of works that will prioritise student safety for the future,” she said.
Mr Bright said the school was “really pleased” to see traffic management signs installed on Footscray Rd and thanked the school council which raised the issue and for Ms Watt in “listening and acting quickly to provide a solution”.
State MP for Melbourne, Ellen Sandell, welcomed the safety upgrades after working closely with the principal and the school community to advocate to local and state governments for road safety improvements at the school.
The safety of our kids is so important. I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to help the school get 40km speed signs installed outside the school, and an additional crossing supervisor at the busy intersection.
"However, with so much traffic around now, there are still a lot of pedestrian safety issues that need to be fixed at the intersections around the school."
The new speed limits come just in time as students return to onsite learning after a 74-day absence during the state’s sixth lockdown.
A City of Melbourne spokesperson said the council had appointed three new school crossing supervisors on Footscray Rd and Docklands Drive, near Docklands Primary School.
It also plans to install speed cushions on Little Docklands Drive and a zebra crossing on Anchor Lane, and reduce the speed limit on streets around the school.
“We’re doing everything we can to ensure people can move safely around our municipality, whether it’s by public transport, car, bike or foot,” the spokesperson said.
The City of Melbourne said it had invested $1.1 million this financial year on a range of pedestrian safety projects including raised zebra pedestrian crossings, and an additional $450,000 to install 40 km/h speed limits on local roads.
According to the Department of Transport, speed limits are subject to a “rigorous review process and assessed on a case-by-case basis”.
“Factors considered include the road environment, traffic volume, council recommendation, community sentiment, types of road users and crash history to ensure appropriate set limits,” it said.
Roads and Road Safety Minister Ben Carroll said, “We’ve made it safer for pedestrians and drivers around Docklands Primary School, ahead of the return of students to in-classroom learning”.
Ms Watt said while Docklands Primary School was still less than a year old, the “community is thriving and I look forward to continuing to work with them over the coming years” •
Caption: Northern Metropolitan Region MP Sheena Watt (right), celebrates a new 40 km/h speed zone on Footscray Rd with Docklands Primary School principal Adam Bright (centre), and teacher Biljana Stavreski (left).