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Main St safety solutions questioned

The Department of Transport has proposed a number of “safety improvements” for Main Street Rutherglen in regard the Heavy Vehicle Alternate Route traffic calming works and streetscape improvements which could potentially see up to 12 car parking spaces removed.

Up to 12 car parking spaces could be removed from Main Street Rutherglen to allow for intersection improvements and better pedestrian crossing points.

The proposal is one of three options put forward by the Department of Transport (DoT) in regard to the Rutherglen Heavy Vehicle Alternate Route.

At the time of the Free Press going to print, it was recommended that council notes that safety improvements could be achieved through the DoT’s proposed traffic calming works and streetscape improvements in Main Street with council to vote on the issue at Tuesday night’s monthly meeting.

Some of the safety improvements that would be considered through further investigation include:

• Intersection improvements at Federation Way and Murray Valley Highway

• Removal of on-street parking (up to 12 bays) to enable the install of pedestrian crossing outstands to improve sightlines.

• Narrowing lanes on Main St from 3.5m to 3.2m, reducing parking bay widths from 2.4m to 2.2m.

• Zebra crossing with associated traffic calming devices on High Street to improve safety for pedestrians crossing this side street.

A report by Director Infrastructure Services Ian Ellet also recommended that council supports the position that neither the Up River Road/Gooramadda Road route nor the Douglas St/Reid St/Scott St route are suitable to re-route heavy vehicles from the Main Street, and rejects both of these potential routes as options.

In a submission to council, Rutherglen resident Herb Ellerbock said the removal car parking spaces would not be welcome by Main Street traders and that the other DoT proposals for improvements “only pay lip service to addressing the real safety concerns.”

“The proposed narrowing of traffic lanes and the reduction of parking bay widths do not alter the width of the road. Nor do they guarantee that heavy vehicles will remain within those lane markings, particularly when two heavy vehicles travelling in opposite directions pass each other on Main Street,” Mr Ellerbock said in his submission.

“The unsightly ‘Dragon's teeth’ line markings would not be needed if Raised Pedestrian (Wombat) Crossings were installed. The flashing lights would leave drivers in no doubt over the upcoming conflict points.

“The recommendation by the Director Infrastructure Services to support DoT’s proposal and initiate yet another meaningless community engagement process is merely so that council is seen to be doing something, anything.”

Mr Ellerbock recommended two solutions including the installation of a roundabout at the intersection of the Murray Valley Highway and Drummond Street, and the re-alignment of the Murray Valley Highway into and out of the existing roundabout to prevent heavy vehicles from entering the roundabout at excessive speeds.

If councillors vote in favour of the DoT’s recommendations, a further report will be presented to council for a final decision following the development of detailed concept designs and a further community engagement process to assess support for the Main Street option.