A series of upgrades, including six new electronic speed limit signs, are in place to improve the safety of the Docklands Primary School community, the state government has announced.
The new signs – installed on Footscray Rd and Dudley St between Pearl River Rd and Wurundjeri Way – will flash to remind drivers to slow down to 25 mph as they approach the school zone.
They operate between the drop-off periods between 8:00 AM and 9:30 PM and the pick-up between 2:30 PM and 4:00 PM. Outside these times, the signs will display the 60 km/h speed limit and will not flash.
New line markings along Footscray Rd also warn drivers to slow down as they approach the school.
This is in addition to the new pedestrian fencing at the intersection of Dudley St, Footscray Rd, Docklands Drive and Harbor Esplanade, creating a barrier between pedestrians and motorists.
In another safety boost, traffic lights at six major intersections near Footscray Rd have been reprogrammed to improve traffic flow and pedestrian crossing times.
The latest upgrades come as Docklands Primary has welcomed several safety improvements since the school opened in 2021, the most significant being a 40kph speed limit on Footscray Rd – with LED signs yet to be installed.
Traffic calming facilities known as speed cushions were installed on Little Docklands Drive this year, improving safety, particularly during peak pick-up and drop-off times, and a crosswalk was also installed in Anchor Lane.
Other works completed this year include a 40kph speed limit on Lt Docklands Drive and St Mangos Lane, while two pedestrian crossings are nearing completion at Caravel Lane, with a number of line markings/signs yet to be implemented .
The City of Melbourne said it would continue to work with the Department of Transport and the school “to explore further options to improve safety around the school, including along the shared path”.
While the upgrades are a huge improvement for safety, parents and residents of the neighboring Docklands Primary School are still pushing for additional measures as reports of near misses continued to be a cause for concern.
The campaign is led by Docklands resident Katy Send, who began advocating for improving road safety after her child was nearly hit by a vehicle at the pedestrian crossing in District Docklands last year.
She is now a representative of the newly formed Docklands’ Road Safety Group, which recently conducted a road safety survey with residents, the majority based in NewQuay.
Of the 52 submissions received, many reported witnessing multiple traffic incidents, involving 40 percent of children.
The survey, which reached 200 households, also found that 50 percent of respondents saw or were involved in a bicycle-pedestrian incident, while more than a third reported witnessing or being involved in a motor vehicle incident.
Residents hoped that small measures such as automating the green pedestrian lights, separating pedestrian crossing time and vehicle turning, and more speed bumps would be realized.
Parent Mary Masters said the school was “so relieved” to have made improvements “but there is still more work to be done,” including addressing ongoing issues with the shared pedestrian and bike path along Footscray Rd, and how the new Westgate Tunnel Project cycling veloway would start/end near primary school.
Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam, speaking on behalf of Melbourne MP Ellen Sandell, said the Greens had “worked closely with the school and parents to get urgently needed safety improvements, and we will continue to do so”.
“I am pleased to hear that the state government has made some security improvements around Docklands Primary School, but small improvements are not enough,” she said.
Roads and Traffic Safety Minister Ben Carroll said the upgrades, which were part of the $457 million Road Safety Program, would help improve safety for children walking to and from school while also increasing driver awareness. enlarge. •