JOONDALUP councillors would like to see traffic lights installed north of the Edinburgh Avenue/Grand Ocean Entrance roundabout on Marmion Avenue.
At the City’s December 15 meeting, councillors unanimously voted to support the installation in a bid to create a safe crossing for pedestrians between Burns Beach and Kinross.
They also noted $150,000 had been allocated in the 2015-16 capital works program for pedestrian crossing improvements.
The decision was made in response to a 1820-signature petition requesting an underpass or overpass crossing at the site.
However, at the council briefing, Joondalup infrastructure management manager Andrew Murphy said these 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.
City officers had recommended a multi-stage crossing 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.
At the meeting, Cr Kerry Hollywood said everyone agreed the crossing needed to be safer and better access between suburbs was required.
She said her preference would be to install traffic lights, which she said could be completed next year and would “solve the problems much better than we have now”.
She said though the Burns Beach Residents Association was in favour of the officers’ recommendation, she believed it would be “even happier” if lights were installed because they would also help vehicles exiting Burns Beach.
Cr Philippa Taylor said she did not think an overpass would be used “because human nature is to just dash across the road rather than do the extra few metres over the overpass” and an underpass could be dangerous when walking alone and was a place for “people to congregate, drink late at night and get up to other mischief”.
Mayor Troy Pickard added the City of Wanneroo’s most recently installed underpass was now being decommissioned because it was “an undesirable magnet for mischief”.
He said installing traffic lights was “he most desirable outcome”.
However, the City of Joondalup does not get to make the final decision; it is up to Main Roads WA.
“We now need to work collaboratively with the State member and appropriate specialists to build a case to present to Main Roads as to why traffic lights need to be installed at this location and considered as an exception as opposed to the rule,” Mr Pickard said.
“The rulebook says no but I think we can build a strong case to demonstrate why it needs to be an exception and the traffic lights will not cause an undue delay to Main Roads’ criteria and in the meantime will provide a safe crossing for residents and children to move to and from school.”
At the briefing, Mr Murphy said officers had looked at a signalised crossing but Main Roads WA would be unlikely to approve it because the number of crossings was below the required amount of 350 per hour over three hours or 175 per hour over eight hours.
In August 2014, a technical assessment 77 pedestrians crossed the road between 7am and 7pm and 27 crossed outside this time.
This section of 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.
According to Main Roads predictions, this is expected to decrease to 39,000 vehicles in 2021 because of the Mitchell Freeway extension.
The fight for an underpass continues
LEAD petitioner Mary O’Byrne says she will continue to lobby for the installation of an underpass at Marmion Avenue between Burns Beach and Kinross.
She said from her discussions with many residents of both suburbs during her seven-week doorknocking campaign, an underpass was the preferred option.
“It is the obvious solution to getting separation between pedestrians and vehicles,” she said.
She said pedestrians already had difficultly crossing Marmion Avenue before the lights change at the crossing to the south of the Edinburgh Avenue/Grand Ocean Entrance roundabout.
“The proposed signalised crossing will have the same difficulties because the span of the road is the same and there is the roundabout configuration to contend with, which increases the difficulties,” she said.
She said Main Roads WA was unlikely to approve the installation because it did not meet the requirements and it was “already made abundantly clear there would be negative impact on traffic flows”.
Ms O’Byrne said an alternative site for the underpass could be further north, in line with Falklands Park.
“I’m told it meets the slope and other requirements and would not be such a difficult retrofit,” she said.