This article was originally written in 2017 and the historic info has been left in for you, scroll to the bottom to see the June 2018 update.
There are many residents who contact myself as a Councillor as they believe it is not safe to cross Safety Bay road and they feel that High School Kids are dicing with death when they cross this road and they want something done about this issue.
Current Options for Safely Crossing Safety Bay Road from the vicinity of the High School.
For those high school kids on Bikes the safest option is to use the bike path along the freeway as there are two access points specifically created from the Rivergums Estate and the closest is along Pleasant view parade which runs alongside the school. This is a 4 minute journey (on average) and takes you safely over Safety Bay road without even having to cross it.
Option 2 is for pedestrians to walk 400 metres along the Safety Bay Road Path and cross at the traffic lights opposite Repco.
There are crossing points on the actual roundabout itself and , with patience and common sense, the third option is that pedestrians can cross at these existing points which are opposite the Caltex Service Station.
The first main question that I would like your input on please is this, Is there actually the need to do anything else beyond these three current options?
Some people would say that Kids will be kids and they will cross the quickest possible route and that parents should help them by educating them as to being safe and using safe options, others would argue that more is needed to be done.
As your Councillor, what have I done to try and address this?
Way back in 2014 I liaised with the City and Cedar Woods to ensure that the access point was opened up onto the Freeway Bike Path as a safe option.
I chair the roadwise committee and since 2015 I have asking the City to investigate options to cross this road safely, part of these discussions have been incorporated into the Second Stage of the Baldivis Road upgrades safety features.
At my prompting the City have been liasing with Main Roads to see what potential options there are. Safety Bay Road is a major dual carriageway which feeds directly off the Kwinana Freeway and Main Roads are unable to support extra traffic light crossings that I had originally proposed. The reason for this refusal is that traffic lights could then potentially see a bank up of traffic that could stretch to the freeway, also safety bay road is supposed to flow with minimal stops.
A reduction in the speed limit between the roundabout and next crossing is being investigated although even a reduction (perhaps to 70Km) in speed zones may not make any material difference and extra signage is also being investigated and the City are conducting traffic counts at that location and observing the pedestrians who cross , and when.
Those discussions are still ongoing.
Potential Expensive Option.
There is the final option of an overpass on Safety Bay Road that could solve this problem that people are raising. I have to stress that I believe this option would be incredibly expensive (perhaps in the region of $9m plus) and this cost would see this piece of infrastructure as one of the most expensive building in the City Business plan and is not budgeted for, nor currently on any agenda or plans at all.
What are your thoughts?
Traffic Lights are out, speed limit changes are probably not able to be drastically changed and there are already safe crossing points in place as described and outlined in this article. The main pedestrians who run over the roundabout are high school kids going to Hungry Jacks rather than using this area to walk home or to another location.
Do you feel an overpass should be seriously considered or do you think that minor modifications (such as extra signs) and parents educating their kids as to safe road crossing skills would be more beneficial?
I really welcome your thoughts please.
June 24th Update.
In light of the accident that occurred on Friday 23rd June there is naturally a lot of debate within the community as to options and what action can be taken.
I am hopeful that the community will support my ongoing push for this intersection to be given priority status by both the City and Main Roads so that all options can be properly investigated and costings drawn up.
Up until this point there was no real community support to progress this but this recent event could act as the lightning rod that is needed and I have written a notice of motion to be read at the August Council Meeting (the soonest that this could be heard) which is attached below for your information.
Your comments, suggestions and ideas are extremely valuable so please continue to leave them in the comments section below.
Cr Whitfield’s Notice of Motion was supported.
At Last nights Council Meeting my Notice of Motion to address the issue of pedestrians (mainly school kids) crossing Safety Bay Road was carried by the Council.
The City Staff have identified that there are only a limited number of options which are –
1. Construct a pedestrian bridge
2. Redirect pedestrians to the current crossing locations at the roundabout through programmed landscaping works.
I have said all along that there are options available, there is the underpass along the freeway and the safe crossing point at the shopping centre but, naturally, we all want to cross at the quickest route that we can.
There is currently very limited signage, Main Roads will not allow the speed to be reduced, nor will be they approve an additional pedestrian crossing and whilst I have been pushing this issue for 16 months now action, not words, needs to be taken which is why I am happy that this Motion was supported.
The City are now going to undertake a costing and feasibility study and report back with those options as soon as possible.
I personally would not be happy spending $9m on a pedestrian bridge when there are other options , but this comprehensive study will inform those decisions.
June 2018 Update.
Cr Whitfield’s notice of motion has finally come down to some very tangible options which are going to the Council meeting in June.
An external consultant was appointed and The consultant undertook site visits, video surveillance and put down some automated traffic counters to the site to gather current information and usage data. This information was used to analyse pedestrian and traffic movements against current standard pedestrian crossing warrants.
It was evident from the digital video analysis that very few pedestrians attempted to cross Safety Bay Road using existing crossing facilities near the Baldivis Road roundabout. Most – particularly students – are crossing in random locations further to the west.
Pedestrian Routing – direct and control pedestrian movements, by installing paths, fences, crossing points and lighting. Basically try and design the area to encourage people to cross at the current safe points.
Suitable barriers will need to be installed to ensure that pedestrians are guided to the appropriate crossing points. Total cost is between $200,000 and $300,000
The Cities view on this option – This option does not fully address safety of school children who would still need to cross Safety Bay Road at the existing crossing points. The City feels that this would not achieve the objectives in that crossing at the Roundabout still puts school aged pedestrians at risk due to the volume of traffic and the road speed.
This option cannot even be contemplated as Main roads will not consider this option due to the road being a major road
Warden Crossing Points.
These facilities give priority to the pedestrians meaning that drivers have a responsibility to stop to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road.
The warrants for the Warden controlled option has been met.
The location of the crossing with regard to the roundabout approaches or exit lanes is critical if they are not to result in increased safety issues for both pedestrians and drivers.
The cost would be between $150,000 – $200,000
A Warden controlled crossing has met the appropriate warrants and may be approved.
The City has identified three schools who have students crossing Safety Bay Road in this location
• Baldivis Secondary College
• Rivergums Primary School.
• Tranby College
Tranby College advised that they were not interested in participating in the process but the Secondary College and Rivergums Primary have started the necessary work to prepare for an application for warden controlled crossing points.
The Cost of these works would need to be met by the City of Rockingham.
The bridge or overpass option.
The total cost would be between $7m and $10 based upon the consultants report. The City does not have the money to build this in the budget and Although adjacent development is generating
higher numbers of crossing movements in coming years, this option is unlikely be viable in the foreseeable future.
There is insufficient demand or significant safety issues to justify this option.
Perceptions of reduced security are also quoted especially in conjunction with underpasses or ‘subways’.
It does not appear as if this option would even attract grant funding due to the anticipated low use.
Converting the roundabout to traffic lights.
Main roads have indicated that they would not support this option from happening at all. Main Roads’ current policy is significantly biased towards the installation of roundabouts in preference
to traffic signals, at the present time and would only support this option if it could be shown to offer substantial improvements to the current situation either in terms of safety or operational efficiency.
Other points to consider.
You may recall in the middle of the year that Cr Whitfield was trying to push for more common sense bus routes that would run along the northern section of Baldivis road , especially the school runs. This was part of the strategy to help students cross over Safety Bay Road and by having the buses more accessible to the newer estates could really assist with this.
The main problem was the cost of putting on extra routes as well as the fact that the terminus locations really did dictate how the routes could operate.
The great news that I have for you is that the outcome from all of this is that the City officers have liaised with Transperth and An agreement has been made to locate a new bus terminus at Spud Shed in Kerosene Lane to allow Transperth to extend their bus network to achieve this for the next school term.
A similar extension to the public bus routes is being planned.
This will also assist with getting students safely over Safety Bay Road!
The Cities preferred option.
The city officers are recommending that Option 3 should be proceeded with (warden crossing points) and the council will be asked to vote on this matter at the June Council meeting.
Cr Whitfield is asking for your thoughts on this please as he agrees that option three is the most feasible and realistic.