By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A ‘traffic calming’ solution on Corrigan Road Noble Park has certainly got drivers feeling hot under the collar.
Greater Dandenong Council’s on-road bicycle lanes between Cheltenham and Lightwood roads have put councilors at odds and distressed a mass of nearby residents.
According to the council, it aims to reduce excessive speeding and to create a safer space for cyclists and pedestrians.
Councillor Tim Dark has vowed to act against the “absolute mess”. He will seek other councillors’ support to remove the road’s markings that have narrowed it into a single-lane each way.
In the other corner, mayor Roz Blades says the council is making a renewed effort to consult and educate residents on how to negotiate the road.
This includes a ‘fact sheet’ on the road rules involving on-road bicycle lanes, informing two local schools, and providing a ‘hotline’ to speak to council traffic engineers.
“I haven’t discussed this with Tim and haven’t seen any paperwork from him.
“I’m working through a process.
“I’m hopeful we can work together on this and we can get everyone’s queries answered.”
The council says an initial notification was mailed to more than 500 residents in the area. It is now sending 2000 notices to a wider area.
Cr Blades says she has referred traffic engineers to address concerns by locals, who complain of more difficulties exiting their side-streets onto Corrigan Road.
Residents have told Star News they expected the traffic jams to worsen when two nearby schools resume from holidays on 15 July.
They have also reported confusion among motorists as they suddenly merge from two lane intersections into one lane.
Many do not know that they can cross the solid white line into the bike lane to pass turning traffic or to enter and exit the road.
Resident Dawn Vernon said the bike lane, frequently interspersed with bus stops, car parking bays and left-turning lanes for cars, was unsafe.
“I would ask anyone who thinks that it is a good idea to ride a bike or even walk along that stretch of road.”
Mario Troha said he’d lived in the area for more than 70 years, yet never seen a bike ridden on Corrigan Road. He doesn’t expect to see many in the future.
“I spoke to cyclists who told me they wouldn’t use it. A teenager on his bike said he’d just use the footpath.”
Another resident Daryl Pittman said since the changes, it took him a record six-minutes to cross the road during the afternoon peak traffic.
The council has stated that prior to the markings, several crashes had occurred due to drivers being unclear whether the road was one or two lanes.
Cr Dark said the markings had spawned new confusion. He’d heard of two subsequent crashes, one involving a merging car at Simon Avenue on 8 July.
He’d been “absolutely bombarded” by resident complaints, he said.
“It is too little, too bloody late,” Cr Dark said of the council’s new factsheet campaign.
“This should have been done months ago in a proper community consultation where the council officers actually listened to the feedback.”
A similar treatment on Gladstone Road, Dandenong North was still attracting complaints, he said – though the council claims that safety has improved without significantly increasing travel times.
“This whole line marking was done without community consultation and no consultation with the councilors,” Cr Dark said.
“None of us were alerted or informed.
“There were very faint markings on the road, and the next thing you know this was put through.”