Community pushes to retain speed humps in Brighton

Bayside community members petitioned the council to keep a number of speed cushions in Cochrane St Brighton, the location of both a primary school and kindergarten.

Speed humps in Cochrane Street, Brighton, will be retained by Bayside Council following overwhelming support by residents.

The decision follows numerous petitions from community groups, local schools and residents of the street.

At their April 16 meeting, the council reversed its original decision to remove all the speed humps in Cochrane St, instead agreeing to remove only two located on the southern side of Cochrane St.

Cochrane St is approximately 1.8km in length and is divided into two sides, the northern and southern side.

The northern side runs between Nepean Highway and North Road and is the location of both a kindergarten and primary school. The southern side stretches from the corner of North Road and Bay St.

The issue arose after numerous complaints by residents that motorists were speeding over the traffic-calming devices, causing loud sounds late at night.

The initial decision caused a great deal of controversy amongst community groups and schools on the northern side, who were unhappy with the safety risks posed to kindergarten students and young children.

Jane Isaac, the president of North Brighton Kindergarten, was pleased with the final outcome after petitioning the council to retain the speed cushions.

“Our executive committee put in a submission to council requesting to retain the speed humps…we thought it was important to slow the traffic in areas where there’s children around,” she said.

Heath Kilgour, a member of the Cochrane Street Safety Alliance, was also satisfied with the decision.

“I think the issue was poorly handled by the council. The local area traffic management study suggested the speed was reducing between six and ten kilometers an hour as a result of the speed humps,” he said.

He said that some residents may still want the speed cushions removed and that the issue may return in future.

“There are some people in the north that wanted them removed, so the council is still sort of tossing up how they might go forward from this point.”

Resident Tom Mulholland believes the speed humps are an ineffective measure in slowing down traffic.

“One of the speed humps is directly outside my house… I would say overall they don’t work,” he said.

“They have slowed motorists down to an extent, but because they are made from cheap material the speed humps actually make more noise when a car hits them.”

Ms Nimmi Candappa is a research fellow at the Monash University Accident Research Centre. She believes that removing speed humps in school zones may put pedestrians and motorists at risk.

“A whole lot of activity means you have a lot of drivers going at faster speeds. Parents are rushing when picking up their kids. Younger kids in particular are a little bit more erratic and may not take the precautions they need,” she said.

“I think generally speaking, the safety would have been compromised had those speed humps been removed.”

She said that the absence of speed humps or other effective measures can also encourage motorists to travel at greater speeds.

“Looking at that street I could see people comfortably driving at 60 without worrying too much about it,” Ms Candappa said.

“A well designed speed hump will allow a driver to go between 20 and 30km p/h.

“Some studies indicate that a 1.6 kilometre reduction in speed can have a five percent reduction in crash consequences. Safety must always be given priority.”

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