The intersection looking east, with the child care centre on the left.
By KIERAN FINNANE
“This council shouldn’t in any way, shape or form, question an engineer, we should take the advice as provided.”
So said Councillor Chansey Paech on the issue of the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Undoolya Road and Sturt Terrace.
He also expressed his belief that “the majority” of people in “that street” – Sturt Terrace? – support the proposal, despite no clear evidence before him. Of the four responses the council’s letter drop on the issue, three opposed the proposal (see previous report).
Cr Paech was picking up on the cues from council’s Director of Technical Services Greg Buxton and CEO Rex Mooney.
They both stressed in the discussion at last night’s meeting the sequence of events leading to the roundabout proposal: approval by the DCA of a child care centre located on the north-eastern corner of the intersection despite the council’s opposition; the safety issues arising; the solution proposed by the traffic management engineers council then called in; the successful second round application for $300,000 worth of Black Spot funding from the Commonwealth.
“We sought that funding at the direction of this chamber,” said Mr Buxton.
“We’ve done as much as we can to get the proposal on the table before you,” said Mr Mooney.
Meanwhile, council has gone a step further, proposing to adopt a 40kmh speed limit across the Wills Terrace causeway, which feeds traffic from the CBD into Eastside, once the roundabout is built.
Would the speed restriction and the erection of crash barriers not take care of the child care centre safety issue, Cr Eli Melky wanted to know. This was left hanging.
Mayor Damien Ryan, who at the committee meeting had queried the community’s support for the roundabout, appeared to have resolved this concern in his own mind. He did however raise the issue of pedestrians crossing the intersection. Roundabouts are designed to keep vehicular traffic flowing which can be a problem for pedestrians. A lot of people living in Eastside do walk into and back from town, he pointed out. He wanted to ensure that there would be a crossing giving them right of way before council signs off on the project.
Mr Buxton said he would review the proposal, examining the options of a “wombat” crossing (like the one on Gregory Terrace between Coles and Kmart) and traffic islands.
Cr Jade Kudrenko also wanted to see cyclists’ needs taken into account.
COMMENT: If you ask an engineer to examine a proposal, he is likely to come up with an engineered solution. If an urban planner had been asked, a quite different solution may have been proposed.
Traffic management engineers are being called upon to develop a report for the CBD. This is something that emerged from confidential consideration for the first time in last night’s meeting and no discussion of the issues was heard. Crs Kundrenko and Paech drew attention to the absence of the relevant reports in the papers. They will be supplied at next month’s committee meeting. An issue to keep an eye on.
Below: Children playing at the child care centre. Their safety is at issue.