NOTICE OF MOTION – PEDESTRIAN & TRAFFIC CONCERNS ON BARGARA CBD FORESHORE

Today I gave notice that at the next meeting of Council scheduled for 30th October I intend to move the following motion: Please refer to the background information for details:

That,

  1. the speed limit for the section of The Esplanade at Bargara between Burkitt Street and Whalley Street be reduced to 40 km/h compliant with Section 17, Part 13 (Local Area Traffic Management) of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) 
  2. the current pedestrian crossing points at the intersection of Bauer Street and The Esplanade, Bargara including the raised approaches to the intersection be designated as Shared Zones in accordance with the provisions of Section 10, Part 13 of the MUTCD with a 10 km/h speed limit applied. It being noted that the new designation will require motor vehicles to give way to pedestrians as opposed to the contrary current arrangements 
  3. an education or advice program, as deemed appropriate by the General Manager, Planning & Infrastructure, be undertaken to advise motorists of the changed arrangements

BACKGROUND

Motorist Safety – Recommended 40 km/h Speed Limited Zone

The section of The Esplanade between Burkitt Street & Whalley Street is an extremely busy section of roadway which, for the most part, transects an area of high activity which is bordered by a large number of angled parking bays on the eastern alignment. The amount of traffic in this location will only increase over time with significant spikes during holiday seasons. All vehicles using these bays are required to reverse into the south-bound traffic flow and, depending on the type and bulk of neighbouring parked vehicles, with limited vision.

Whilst it is recognised that most motorists currently obey the 50km/h speed limit, it is prudent to formally recognise the traffic sensitivity in this busy area by introducing a reduced speed limited precinct.

The MUTCD advises, “A 40 km/h local area speed limit should only be imposed where the geometry of the roads in the area and the LATM (Local Area Traffic Management) measures result in a general perception by drivers that this speed limit is the appropriate travel speed throughout the area”. It is submitted that the subject section of roadway meets this criteria.

Bargara Police have been consulted regarding the recommendation and raise no concerns.

Pedestrian Safety – Recommended 10 km/h Shared Zone

The underlying motive for this recommendation is concern for the safety of all pedestrians but especially impetuous young children in this busy location.

The intersection of Bauer Street and The Esplanade is recognised as the busiest section of Bargara with the largest interface of motorists and pedestrians. The area is popular with a broad section of the community including many families with young children. The identified crossing areas are narrow with the trafficable pavement directly abutting the footpaths which results in the potential for pedestrians to step directly into the path of motor vehicles when attempting to cross the road. In effect, there is no real safety margin.

The current onus is for pedestrians to give way to motor vehicles which is contrary to the general rule of traffic management where the vulnerability of pedestrians is recognised. The current ‘rule’ is identified on small signs attached to bordering bollards, however many pedestrians fail to read these and assume that they have ‘right of way’ and this is especially the case with children and some international visitors.

There have been a number of incidents where pedestrians and in particular young children have stepped directly into the path of motor vehicles or in some cases, have run straight onto the roadway in a bid to access the shops or return to the foreshore area and Turtle Playground.

Traffic studies have concluded that the vast majority of motor vehicles currently obey the 50 km/h speed limit with most travelling at even slower speeds. Notwithstanding this, a young child or even an adult struck by a vehicle travelling at only 30 km/h would still be exposed to significant injury. The ever-increasing popularity of this location coupled with the zero margin for error and potential for driver distraction, warrants the application of a 10km/h speed limit for the Shared Zone.

The MUTCD advises, “Shared zones are generally constructed in areas where the competing demands of pedestrians, moving vehicles and parking require a form of control which allows complete pedestrian mobility whilst at the same time enhancing pedestrian safety. A speed limit of 10 km/h is usually considered appropriate”.

Bargara Police have been consulted regarding the recommendation and raise no concerns.

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