A suite of upgrades including six new electronic speed limit signs are set to improve safety for the Docklands Primary School community, the state government has announced.
The new signs – installed on Footscray Rd and Dudley St between Pearl River Rd and Wurundjeri Way – will flash to remind drivers to slow down to 40km/h when approaching the school zone.
They will operate between periods of drop-off between 8am and 9.30pm, and pick-up between 2.30pm and 4pm. Outside of these times, the signs will display the 60km/h speed limit and will not flash.
New line markings along Footscray Rd will also alert drivers to slow down when approaching the school.
This is in addition to new pedestrian fencing at the intersection of Dudley St, Footscray Rd, Docklands Drive and Harbour Esplanade, creating a barrier between pedestrians and drivers.
In another safety boost, traffic signals at six key intersections near Footscray Rd have been reprogrammed to improve traffic flow and pedestrian crossing times.
The latest upgrades come as Docklands Primary has welcomed several safety improvements since the school opened in 2021 with a major one being a 40km/h speed limit on Footscray Rd – with LED signs still to be installed.
Traffic calming devices, known as speed cushions, were installed this year on Little Docklands Drive, improving safety particularly during peak pick up/drop off times, while a zebra crossing in Anchor Lane was also installed.
Other works finished this year include a 40km/h speed limit in Lt Docklands Drive and St Mangos Lane while two zebra pedestrian crossings are nearing completion in Caravel Lane with some line-marking/signs still to be carried out.
The City of Melbourne said it would continue to work with the Department of Transport and the school “to explore further opportunities to improve safety around the school, including along the shared path”.
While the upgrades are a huge improvement to safety, parents and residents neighbouring Docklands Primary School are still pushing for additional measures as reports of near misses continued to be a cause for concern.
Leading the campaign is Docklands resident Katy Send, who started advocating to improve road safety after her child was nearly hit by a vehicle at the District Docklands pedestrian crossing last year.
She is now a representative of the newly formed Docklands’ Road Safety Group, which recently conducted a road safety survey with residents, the majority based in NewQuay.
Of the 52 submissions received, many reported having witnessed multiple road incidents, with 40 per cent involving children.
The survey, which reached 200 households, also revealed 50 per cent of respondents having seen or being involved in a bicycle-pedestrian incident, while more than a third reported witnessing or being involved in a motor vehicle incident.
Residents hoped small measures like automating the green pedestrian lights, separating crossing time for pedestrians, and turning vehicles, and more speed bumps would be delivered.
Parent Mary Masters said the school was “so relieved” to have improvements in place “but there is still more work to be done” including addressing ongoing issues with the shared pedestrian and cycle path along Footscray Rd, and how the new Westgate Tunnel Project cycling veloway would start/end just near the primary school.
Leader of the Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam, who spoke on behalf of Melbourne MP Ellen Sandell, said the Greens had “been working closely with the school and parents to get the safety upgrades urgently needed, and we’ll continue to do so”.
“I’m pleased to hear that the state government has delivered on some safety upgrades around Docklands Primary School, but small upgrades are not enough,” she said.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll said the upgrades, which were part of the $457 million Road Safety Program, would help improve safety for children walking to and from the school, while also increasing driver awareness. •