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Maria English (right) with other Priory Road residents who are concerned about safety in the area.

Priory concerns addressed by council

By Breanna Inferrera

RESIDENTS on Priory Road in Maida Vale say they welcome Kalamunda council’s decision at Tuesday night’s Ordinary Council Meeting (OCM) to further review traffic and speeding in the area but will “believe it when they see it.”

At the OCM on March 24, council received a letter, dealt with as a petition, from residents of 14 properties on Priory Road detailing safety concerns.    

According to Main Roads WA, in the five years to December 31, 2019, there has been a total of 10 crashes at the Priory Road and Kalamunda Road intersection involving a car travelling northbound on Kalamunda Road.

Of these, seven involved cars turning right from Priory Road to head southbound on Kalamunda Road and three involved cars travelling in an ‘unknown’ direction from Priory Road.

The residents’ letter also raised concerns about council’s decision at the OCM on December 17, 2019 to reject the officer’s recommendation that Black Spot Program funding be sought in 2020/21 to close the right turn capability from Priory Road into Kalamunda Road.

An alternative motion put forward by Councillor Dylan O’Connor that council request the chief executive to develop concept designs to provide a designated acceleration lane for vehicles turning right from Priory Road into Kalamunda Road, advertise the concept designs for public comment, and list for consideration the provision of $175,000 in the draft 2020/21 Capital Works program was carried 6-5.

At the time, Cr O’Connor said closing off Priory Road would be taking away an access which has always been there.

Priory Road resident Maria English said she was pleased to see in the officer’s report at Tuesday night’s OCM that despite council’s previous decision, the proposed acceleration lane did not currently form part of the draft 2020/21 Capital Works program.

“It’s so close to the school, it’s within the 40-zone school area, even at school time there’s a backup of traffic either side,” she said.

“If there’s an acceleration lane across Kalamunda Road, there will be people waiting at Priory Road, there will be people halfway across the road waiting to get through and it’s going to increase the traffic backup even more exponentially because they can’t go anywhere with the crossing there.

“Even where there’s no school crossing active, there is still the issue of the traffic having to wait halfway across the road before they can keep going.

“That’s going to cause a backup in Priory Road anyway.”

Ms English said it was a pity council did not pass the officer’s recommendation to seek Black Spot Program funding.

“That would have been an excellent solution, but it was voted down,” she said.

The officer’s recommendation at Tuesday night’s OCM that council note the issues raised in the residents’ letter, note the proposed works in the draft 2020/21 Capital Works program aimed at improving road safety in the area, and endorse a recommendation that the City seek approval from Main Roads WA to reduce the posted speed limit in Priory Road from 60km/h to 50km/h once works planned for 2020/21 are undertaken was carried unanimously.

Determining that closure of Priory Road connectivity to either Maida Vale Road or Kalamunda Road be reviewed as part of the Kalamunda Moving strategy project, and after changes in traffic patterns become apparent as a result of significant upcoming projects such as the Forrestfield Station and Roe Highway and Kalamunda Road Interchange project are known was also part of the officer’s recommendation.

Ms English said it was nice to know the concerns of Priory Road residents were now on the record, but admitted she still held reservations over the decision.

“We are pleased that they passed the recommendations, but we’re not confident they will eventually act on some of those,” she said.

“And that’s been the whole process all along that they appear to be making progress, and it has been the last year, but we’ll believe it when we see it.

“Once things start moving, we’ll be happy that our petitions are finally coming to fruition.”

  

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