Conversations with the community
The draft plan was shared with community and key stakeholders during the public exhibition period, 25 May to 22 June 2020. Letters were sent to more than 1,300 residents, property owners and businesses in the area inviting them to learn more and join the conversation. Emails with this information were sent to community, Register of Interest (Safety, Access), business, government and emergency services stakeholders. The exhibition was promoted with on-site signage and notices were published in the Advertiser and Towradgi Public School newsletter. Several news stories appeared in local news media and on social media. The information was also available through Council’s Customer Service Centre.
In line with public health guidelines for COVID-19, some changes were made to the community engagement approach. The ability to facilitate face-to-face conversations was impacted however the following opportunities were offered for people to learn more and provide feedback:
- This project webpage, where people could:
- Read the FAQ, view the design plan, take part in an online Q&A where a Council Traffic engineer responded to questions, and provide feedback via the online form
- Phone or Skype video calls for people to talk to a traffic engineer
- Email or phone submissions
Residents, members of Council’s Walking, Cycling and Mobility Reference Group, business and government representatives provided comments via phone, email and the online feedback form. Some residents and business stakeholders participated in phone conversations or Skype meetings.
There were 203 submissions. Six people also posted questions to the Q&A on this webpage. A petition with 85 signatories was submitted following the close of engagement, however, 23 of those had already made individual submissions before the closing date.
A range of feedback was received, with participants divided in their support for the proposal. Many acknowledged the road safety issues, saying it was important that these be addressed and they are pleased to see Council working to address this. Many supported all or some elements of the proposal, however there were also many objections to the proposal.
People who were supportive of the proposal said that the changes are greatly needed as the intersection and crossing are dangerous at present. Accounts were shared of near misses, accidents and fatalities that people had witnessed or experienced at this location, with some saying the proposed changes are long overdue.
Objectors to the proposal had concerns that the changes could shift road safety and traffic issues to new locations and create more problems than it would solve, especially at peak traffic times. The main reason people objected was because of the proposed No Right Turn from Towradgi Road into Carters Lane. Many said there were other parts of the plan they supported, but not this. Some felt that if other elements of the proposal went ahead, it would resolve the issues and there would be no need to prevent the right turn into Carters Lane. Most commonly, those who objected to this part of the plan said it would add time and distance for residents getting home. Concerns were expressed that there’d be a significant increase of traffic in side streets. Some suggested drivers would continue to turn right into Carters Lane anyway, including through the service station, bringing new safety risks. It was suggested eastbound vehicles and fuel tankers would be unable to access the service station at the Towradgi Road and Carters Lane intersection. Guests of the hotel on Carters Lane, including those driving buses and larger vehicles, would likely use Pioneer Road and one of the side streets in order to reach Carters Lane, which would be difficult and dangerous.
Many felt a crossing is needed for improving pedestrian safety, but opinions varied as to where it should be located. People shared accounts of witnessing or experiencing near misses on the current crossing. Concerns were expressed that pedestrians would no longer have priority with a refuge crossing and that a refuge crossing would be more hazardous for cyclists, due to the narrowing of Towradgi Road to a single lane. Some felt a crossing wasn’t needed at all.
Supporters of the proposed Left Turn Only out of Carters Lane into Towradgi Road said it would make the intersection safer for pedestrians and reduce travel times for drivers, while those who objected said they did not want to travel a longer distance to get home or to the beach.
Some felt that installing speed humps was a good measure for slowing down traffic, while others thought they would cause collisions or have noise impacts on nearby residents.
There were numerous suggestions for improving road safety in the area. Most commonly, a roundabout at the Towradgi Road and Carters Lane intersection, or installation of traffic lights and signalised crossings, so the right hand turn into Carters Lane would be retained. Road safety issues in other areas were also reported.
There were a number of queries about what evidence or data was used to support the decision to change traffic conditions. There were requests for Council to provide the community with this data.
There was some criticism of the community engagement process, with the perception that community feedback would have no influence on the outcome.
The petition called for the right turn from Towradgi Road into Carters Lane to be retained, and consultation with stakeholders located south of Towradgi Creek to Elliots Road to develop a new plan. Removal of the existing crossing was the only measure supported.
Consultation has concluded