A BIG group of Applecross residents has banded together to criticise a traffic diversion trial designed to reduce rat running along Macrae Road.
The four-month trial is due to end this month but has been a resounding failure in the eyes of nearby residents, who have watched traffic on the normally quiet surrounding streets skyrocket.
Led by Mark Fowler and John Corser, the group claims the diversions, which cut off both Macrae and Munro roads at Gairloch Street, have simply transferred the rat running issue deeper into the suburb.
The group has started a petition which it plans to present to the council before its first meeting on Tuesday, February 16.
Mr Fowler called the diversions a “24-hour solution to a one-hour problem” and implored the Melville council to instead address the problem at its source.
“It is illogical to impose these ineffective traffic measures on residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week in an effort to deal with rat running on Macrae Road, which only exists for a brief period of time in the morning, Monday to Friday,” he said.
“The problem of rat runners should instead be solved at its source and the council should be encouraged to examine options which reduce the opportunities for, and the attractiveness of, commuter traffic leaving Canning Highway and using Applecross residential streets.”
Both men stressed their empathy for residents of Macrae Road and do not believe the road configuration should simply revert to how it was previously but said the Gairloch Street diversions were not the answer.
“These road closures and traffic diversions have resulted in massive and disproportionate increases in traffic volumes on normally quiet, non-distributor streets such as Gairloch, Glenelg and Macdonald,” Mr Fowler said.
“They are a hazard to the safety of residents, particularly children, in those streets and through the Applecross Village shopping precinct.
“There have also been significantly increased traffic volumes in the vicinity of Applecross Primary School, as the Kishorn, Munro and Gairloch route has now become a main thoroughfare to the shopping centre.”
Mr Corser said many peak-hour commuters were not aware that the recent synchronisation of traffic lights along Canning Highway had reduced the need to look for short cuts. He also suggested limiting access into Applecross between Tompkins Park and Canning Bridge.
Rather than rely on anecdotal evidence, Macrae Road resident Ross Stuart said Applecross locals should wait for the analysis of collected traffic data before deeming the trial a failure.
He said there had been a noticeable drop in traffic along Macrae Road since the diversions were installed but that he was waiting for council to release its findings before making a final judgement.
“One thing everyone agrees on is that the trial has made a massive difference on Macrae Road, as well as all the roads that connect back to Canning Highway,” Mr Stuart said.
“However, talking about the actual statistics is best left to the experts.”
Mr Stuart also contested the labelling of the issue as a “one-hour problem.”
“It is not just an hour in the morning – peak traffic periods in Perth are now a lot longer than that,” he said.
“More than 3000 cars were coming down Macrae Road each day and during the busy periods you couldn’t actually back out of your driveway.”
Mr Stuart agreed that the community needed to work with the council to ensure a solution that met all residents’ needs.