Safer roads, trails and paths

The Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road, Research-Warrandyte Road intersection.

The Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road, Research-Warrandyte Road intersection.
Photo of Ben Ramcharan

Safer Roads, Trails and Paths

I love my community and I want my community to be safe. Council plays a vital role in maintaining local roads and paths and advocating to State Government for improved road safety. Recently, we have seen too many serious accidents on our roads. It puts our community at risk and I am committed to fixing it. We need safer roads and better access to local trails and paths.

Roads

In the last two years, four trucks have rolled over at the South end of Research-Warrandyte Road in North Warrandyte, including at the intersection with Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road. This is just an example of one of the hotspots that exists in our community. After the most recent truck crash on this road, on 16 January 2020, I started advocating for safety improvements on Research-Warrandyte Road.

Following the devastating incident in early June in Kangaroo Ground where a 30-year-old lost her life, I quickly realised that this issue is more wide-spread and we need to work on improving road safety across our whole local area.

Research is lacking proper crossings, including outside Research shopping strip and in front of the CFA on Research-Warrandyte Road.

St Andrews sees illegal and dagerous road races taking place at night on the road to Kinglake, putting locals at risk while smaller rural roads in St Andrews and surrounds have to put up with speeding rat run drivers and motorcyclists.

We are seeing road accident hotspots in our local community and this indicates the need for a local review of road safety.

I have written to local MPs as well as the Department of Transport. I have also met with Warrandyte Liberal MP Ryan Smith and have liaised with the office of Labor’s Sonja Terpstra MP. We are making progress and we know there’s a push for better driver education in Victoria as a whole but we need Council to put a stronger focus on advocating for road safety locally. Right now, the issue is all but ignored by our local councillors and that needs to change.

We know something is wrong and now it is up to the experts to tell us what we can do about it.

I am not a road safety expert. I do not have the expertise to say what needs to be done but I am a passionate local. I love my local community and I know there is an issue. To make good decisions, we need to ask the community what they want and the experts how it can be done. This is what I plan to do. I will work with experts to find out how we can improve road safety and I will make sure the community is consulted every step of the way to ensure that any works are in line with our values of protecting local character and the environment.

We must not point fingers. Our roads should be safe and available to all road users.

While most local accidents are due to driver fault, it is important that we don’t place blame solely on the drivers. Why do the same mistakes keep getting made here? All road users – from cars to trucks to bikes to pedestrians – deserve to use our roads and to be safe while doing so. We must ensure a solution is fair to everyone.

Trails and Paths

We love our trails and paths in Nillumbik. Walkers, cyclists, horse riders, runners and many others can benefit from access to trails, where we have a safe space to get around and do what we love. Unfortunately, it is difficult to build new trails in our part of Nillumbik due to the large amount of private land as well as the hilly terrain. I have heard from many people that they feel their neighbourhood isn’t walkable enough.  In all of our suburbs and townships, existing footpaths can only take you so far and this creates a problem for pedestrians.

Our towns are not walkable. We need more footpaths and crossings to help everyone get around.

While we’ve been in lockdown, we’ve learned about the importance of walkability in our area. Council needs to work towards constructing more roadside footpaths and crossings where they’re really needed, including on school bus routes. Our community needs to be accessible to everyone no matter how you choose to get around.

Sign my petition for better crossings opposite Research Shops.

I will work towards better access to trails and paths for everyone so we can all use them and feel safe on them. Some ways to achieve this include:

  • Creating better guidelines to ensure that cyclists use paths responsibly
  • Providing facilities such as bags and bins to make it easier for people visiting with dogs clean up after themselves
  • Ensuring dog owners act responsibly in off-lead areas
  • Safety works to make paths safer for horse riders and cyclists
  • Better guidelines to ensure that horse riders act responsibly and stick to the paths
  • Improving accessibility so people with disabilities can enjoy our trails just like everyone else

Cyclists, horse riders and dog walkers are welcome to use our trails and paths but they must do so responsibly.

I am aware of the issues we have locally with some dog owners who allow their dogs to run around out of control in off-leash areas. Not only does this put others in danger but it means that the majority of dog owners, who do the right thing, are impacted. I will work with all trail users to find a solution to this issue that works for everyone. Dog owners should be able to continue to enjoy our local off-leash areas but this must be done responsibly and there’s a lot that Council can do to facilitate this.

Out of control dogs in off-lead areas are a problem and I want to find a solution that is fair towards dog owners and everyone else who uses our trails.

Further to this, we need to work hard on making accessibility improvements to ensure that people of all abilities can access our paths and enjoy using them safely.