Plea made for underpass

Local residents have supported Mary O'Byrne' campaign. Picture: Martin Kennealey d477392
Local residents have supported Mary O'Byrne' campaign. Picture: Martin Kennealey d477392

MARY O’Byrne is a woman on a mission to create a safe pedestrian crossing between Kinross and Burns Beach.

For seven weeks, the Kinross resident spent her weekends doorknocking around the two suburbs to collect signatures for a petition requesting an underpass or overpass across Marmion Avenue near the roundabout at Edinburgh Avenue/Grand Ocean Entrance.

In September, her 2167-signature petition, of which 1820 were electors of the district, was presented to the Joondalup council, with a report presented to councillors at last week’s briefing.

Marmion Avenue is a four-lane carriageway, separated by a median, which carries about 47,000 vehicles per day at a speed limit of 80km/h.

“I started the petition when I found myself looking at wispy strands of hair floating up from a large vehicle and found some young girls inching their way across to the Kinross pavement between large, tightly packed vehicles on their way to Kinross Primary School,” she said at the briefing.

“Once clear of the vehicles, they ran for the pavement without looking further.

“Kids value their independence, yet during the week and at weekends kids in Burns Beach and Kinross are regularly driven between the suburbs by their parents, pushbike in the back of the car to be offloaded, so they can visit their friends and then be picked up again for a safe journey home.

“This situation is impacting on family stress levels, on carbon emissions and the junctions are congested with all the useless but necessary small trips.”

Ms O’Byrne said Burns Beach had no schools so many children went to Kinross Primary School and Kinross College, which involved crossing Marmion Avenue.

“Both schools have made it well known to local councillors they wish the uninterrupted connectivity between the two suburbs to be established,” she said.

Kinross Primary P&C chairwoman Lisa McGrath said Burns Beach parents had told her their children were anxious about crossing Marmion Avenue on foot and had to be driven to and from school instead.

“All children deserve the freedom to walk freely in their community and to one of the only public schools available to them,” she said.

“As with most schools, parking is an ongoing problem and any reduction in cars would be welcome.”

She added it was not just students affected by the lack of safe crossing but also people with disabilities.

Ms O’Byrne said that while doorknocking, she came across a brochure from the early 1990s that indicated an underpass would be installed south of Edinburgh Avenue.

She urged councillors to consider installing one now.

Councillors will consider the report at Tuesday night’s meeting.

For more information, go to www.facebook.com/edinburghpedestrian.

 

Officers favour crossing ‘refuge’.

THE difficulty crossing Marmion Avenue between Kinross and Burns Beach has been on the radar of City of Joondalup officers for some time.

In August 2014, the City conducted a technical assessment of pedestrians crossing near the Edinburgh Avenue/Grand Ocean Entrance roundabout.

Using video, it was found 77 pedestrians crossed the road between 7am and 7pm and 27 crossed outside this time.

Of these, 33 per cent crossed two hours before and after school.

Joondalup infrastructure management manager Andrew Murphy said at last week’s briefing the video confirmed there was a difficulty crossing the road so $150,000 was set aside in the 2015-16 capital works budget to improve the crossing.

The City officers’ recommendation is to install a multi-stage crossing to the north of the Edinburgh Avenue/Grand Ocean Entrance roundabout with raised “refuges” installed between the two lanes on both sides of the dual carriageway, allowing pedestrians to cross one lane of traffic at a time.

The central refuge is proposed to be 2.5m (north-south) by 4.3m (eastwest) and the between-lane refuges at 2.5m by 2m.

They will have a gap to allow for pedestrians with bikes and prams and have u-bars to make the crossing clear to drivers. There will also be connecting paths and signs on Marmion Avenue to alert drivers of the change in road layout.

He said Main Roads WA had endorsed the design, which has not been used before, for a 12-month trial. He said the trial would be a test for other locations in the City and the wider metropolitan region where there are similar issues.

Mr Murphy said an underpass or overpass were expensive options (more than $1.4 million for an underpass and more than $3.5 million for an overpass) and site constraints meant construction would be difficult.

However, Mary O’Byrne said the City’s recommendation was not acceptable.

“The council’s preferred solution of refuge islands between lanes is worse because it sees a reduction in the size of the central island refuge, leaves pedestrians stranded on the smaller mid-lane refuges that have to accommodate pedestrians going in both directions and the degree of difficulty is compounded by the stream of fast-moving traffic moving around them,” she said.

Burns Beach resident and university student Oliver Cooksey, who has joined Ms O’Byrne’s campaign, said the new layout would greatly reduce the distance between pedestrians and vehicles.

“The five-year crash analysis reports there has been seven out-ofcontrol crashes at the site,” he said.

“So given these new restrictive pedestrian refuge islands, the risk of a pedestrian being hit or seriously injured by an out-of-control vehicle will significantly increase.”