St Colman’s sign quest stopped in its tracks

Slow down: St Colman’s School principal Tim Bourke and his students are hoping passing motorists will adhere to the speed signs after VicRoads turned down their request for flashing variable speed signs.

Slow down: St Colman’s School principal Tim Bourke and his students are hoping passing motorists will adhere to the speed signs after VicRoads turned down their request for flashing variable speed signs.

A LACK of traffic and the cost of installation have been the reasons given to St Colman’s School by VicRoads as to why the school cannot receive electronic variable speed signs on Dunlop Street.

Parents from St Colman’s School reignited the push for flashing variable speed signs amid growing concerns surrounding the speed of highway traffic past the school.

In June last year, Mortlake Community Development Committee wrote to Polwarth MP Terry Mulder to highlight safety concerns and to push for a flashing, timer-based sign, but did not receive any support regarding the proposal.

There has been a temporary portable flashing speed-identifying sign that has been placed outside the school recently.

St Colman’s School principal Tim Bourke said he made contact with VicRoads on behalf of the parents.

“There are a number of parents who are concerned about the speed of traffic going past and not slowing down at the 40 signs,” he said.

“We have a flashing sign out there at the moment as a temporary measure, but we wanted to make it more permanent.”

Mr Bourke said parents were not the only ones that had concerns about the traffic travelling through the town.

“We have several families who cross the highway every day and staff who cross every day,” he said.

“They find it difficult with all the traffic because it’s a major highway with major trucks.”

VicRoads regional director Mark Koliba said the existing signs were the most appropriate for the school, given traffic conditions.

“The static school speed signs in place at St Colman’s School in Mortlake are in accordance with the current Speed Zoning Guidelines and are consistent with other locations on similar roads across the state,” he said.

“Electronic school speed limit signs are typically used on roads with high traffic volumes and high speed roads.

“Based on this criteria, traffic counts found 3200 traffic vehicles travel the road per day and therefore the road does not qualify.

“The guidelines recommend at least 10,000 vehicles per day use the road in order for electronic speed zones to be installed.”

Mr Koliba said the costly nature of the electronic signs meant they would be installed by priority.

“The installation of electronic speed zone signs can cost up to $60,000, although it is site specific and installation costs can vary,” he said.

“Locations for these signs are prioritised within the region based on the criteria.

“Drivers must take extra care around schools and always drive to the speed limit and conditions.”

Mr Bourke said the result was disappointing and it was up to the local community to ensure the children’s safety was maintained.

“In the event of not getting any funding, we are appealing to the community to adhere to the signs,” he said.

“We will be monitoring more carefully to make sure everyone is safe.”

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