One Hundred and Fifty (150) Heartbeats or …NONE?
(i.e. two and one quarter minutes, and the estimated time between driving the 6.5 Kilometres of Point Walter Road in East Fremantle/Bicton/Attadale, Western Australia at 50KMH and the preferred 40KMH).
A Recreation Advocate and Volunteer, David Forster has previously wrote to the former Minister for Police, Michelle Roberts MLA, about the ever-increasing car speeds on Preston Point Road (current limit 50 KPH); after himself extricating four teenagers – two more unable to be moved – from a car crash outside his Bicton residence; the need for more speed signs - as opposed to the current one on each side at the ends of the road nearly 6.5 Kms long – elaborating at the same time that countless recreation walkers and cyclists used the precinct, between 5AM and late evening, between highway and river everyday. The written response from her ‘minder,’ albeit overseen by her ministerial authority, and agreed to by the both Melville and East Fremantle local councils – was that there were already too many (other) signs on the road and everyone knew that 50KPH was the speed limit in built-up areas.
They are right … there are over 600 artificial uprights involving services and information along this very much loved and used section of our river environment – including live trees cut down and replaced as dead ones for power generation – far too many. There are also far too many speeding cars and far too many silent politicians and potential political candidates for State, Local and Federal elections who cannot see the wood for the … and they avoid responding to local, cycle, sporting and walking groups calls for action.
Information from Fremantle Police Station indicated a few years ago, and Mr Forster suspects it hasn’t improved, was that only one vehicle could be devoted to traffic duties for the whole of the South West Metropolitan police region at night – so speed enforcement is questionable.
He wrote to the following in 2009:
23 November – Ministers Waldron (Sport and Recreation) and Johnson (Police) – no reply as at 5 January 2010;
23 November – Office of Road Safety – no reply as at 5 January 2010;
23 November - Janet Woollard MP – no reply as at 5 January 2010;
23 November – Adele Carles MP – no reply as at 5 January 2010;
23 November – East Fremantle City Council – no reply as at 5 January 2010.
He asked for any/all of the following:
1. declaring the area bounded by Preston Point Road in its entirety and the river a recreation precinct totally or at least on every weekend and 40KPH maximum speed limit - except for emergency vehicles;
2. more speed limit signs in the critical school, walking, cycling, limited visibility, hill and other ‘black spot’ areas of Preston Point Road;
3. traffic calming devices on lengthy downhill, straight and other ‘black spot’ sections as identified above;
4. frequent policing daily, but especially at night time - breath and alcohol testing, and speed detection, given the use by persons escaping The Left Bank, Yacht Clubs and other Fremantle drinking establishments.
His evidence is observation over nine years of increasing car, truck, and cycle usage overall – all trying to avoid the highway; many near misses near a children’s crossing at Harris Street during the morning and mid afternoon – despite a Crossing Guard - and including before and after his duty times. Motor cycle groups and individual motor cyclists find particular interest in traversing the three roundabouts at speed – so calming devices before and after the Stock, Point Walter and Petra Street intersection(s) would also stop further accidents and injury to walkers and cyclists.
Even the two respondents – a Greens politician, Lynn MacLaren MLC (for Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlam, who replied using information which addressed only one issue viz two roundabouts – stock and Point Walter Roads receiving ‘blackspot’ funding, with information supplied to her via Melville CC Mayor) and a Shire Executive Engineer, Design – missed the entire environmental and recreation issues about car pollution on a road designed in a river environment, let alone the health message for safe recreational access.
Mr Forster has now asked the Premier of Western Australia (Premier.Barnett@dpc.wa.gov.au) to address the items above so that bicycle and walk groups plus local residents by letter drop, email networks or otherwise can know that the time taken for 150 heartbeats versus a generational opportunity to recreate are not confused.
(Mr Forster has no vested interests other than the promotion of healthy messages and safety through access to all recreational opportunities for Western Australians and visitors, and is the former Chairman of the Trailswest Advisory Committee during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when recreational trail development blossomed in Western Australia)
PO BOX 1099
FREMANTLE WA 6959
If you want to add your voice – please feel free to use the theme One Hundred and Fifty (150) Heartbeats or …NONE? for local advocacy on recreation (cycling, walking, sport etc) and feedback to local politicians. All the best for 2010