Firey’s alert on congestion

Keysborough CFA members Alysha Gregory,Shalley Liu, Ross Smith, David Ryan, Sarah Croft, Mark Baverstock and Phillip Yuan and the school-time congestion on Chapel Road. 184467_05 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Keysborough’s CFA brigade is feeling the crush of growing traffic and suburbia.

At peak-times such as school pick-up next door, the station’s driveway on Chapel Road, Keysborough South is blocked by a slow-moving stream of cars.

It’s something that worries the brigade’s captain Paul Townsend, who has noticed fire truck response times begin to slow and traffic increase “quite dramatically”.

“On the double lane roads (like Perry Road), we can get through. People can pull over and let us past.

“But with the single lanes and the increased traffic flow, that really affects us.”

In recent years, the suburb has transformed in front of his eyes. There’s a new shopping centre, next door is Sirius College and the 50-year-old egg farm nearby has been sold for housing.

Mr Townsend says many residents’ cars are clogging the side streets outside town houses, units and dwellings due to minimal on-site parking.

“Every family has at least two cars, but they can only fit in one car in their driveway.”

When cars are parked on both sides of narrow streets like Tyers Lane, there’s little room for a fire truck to get past.

He fears it might lead to the brigade being blocked from reaching a unit on fire by parked cars.

“The issue doesn’t seem to be getting much traction. I hope it will take a major issue like us not being able to get to a fire.”

Greater Dandenong engineering services director Julie Reid said all the roads were designed to meet “appropriate and approved standards”.

“The road rules require motorists to leave a minimum of three metres clear road space when their car is parked to allow emergency vehicles to access the street.

“If these road rules are not being adhered to and cars are being parked illegally then enforcement action can be taken to encourage compliance.”

Nearby residents have spoken to Star News about their neighbourhoods being swamped with traffic and parked cars.

Wei-Ling Tan says large trucks are using Perry Road as a rat-run through Somerfield Estate.

“Historically speaking, it was used as a truck route before the houses came in.

“But now we need the traffic to slow down where we have children walking, riding and playing.”

Bangholme resident Alan Hood said there was a “big wave” of heavy-vehicle traffic still to arrive as an earmarked industrial zone near Corrigan and Greens roads develops.

He says the housing estates shouldn’t have gone in the former Green Wedge zone in the first place, but felt sorry for the new suburbs of residents.

“On the one hand, they’re innocent. They’ve been misled.”

Greater Dandenong councillor Matthew Kirwan says there has been a “failure of planning” but also traffic management on the wholly-council controlled roads in Keysborough South.

He organised a recent road-safety forum in the suburb, where there was “clear support” for a pedestrian signal crossing at Tyers Lane and Perry Road.

It would reduce speeding, enable pedestrians to cross to Clarendon Drive park and encourage heavy traffic to instead use Greens Road, Eastlink and Springvale Road.

Ms Reid of Greater Dandenong Council said the council was reviewing potential treatments to ensure heavy vehicle volumes did not increase excessively.