What is the background to the project?
Ferguson Street is a multi-modal transport corridor catering for people walking, riding, driving, and using public transport. It’s also a mixed-use environment with residences transitioning to community and commercial uses between Melbourne Road and The Strand/Nelson Place. It is the main link from Melbourne’s west into Williamstown and offers businesses and services that are a major attraction.
Investigations have found the corridor to be unsafe for people walking and riding. There have been 14 crashes in the five years to December 2019 including five with serious injuries. Road design and road user behaviour were found to contribute to the unsafe environment for vulnerable road users. Wide traffic lanes, long pedestrian crossing distances, poor bike facilities, and higher than desirable driving speeds have all contributed to negative safety outcomes.Click here to view the report outlining the safety issues and potential interventions.
In response to these incidents, Hobsons Bay City Council applied for Blackspot funding to deliver safety improvements to the corridor including raised zebra crossings and buffered bike lanes. The project has an estimate total cost of $296,000 and a positive benefit-cost ratio of 5.9.
Why is Council proposing these works?
In addition to the poor safety history outlined above, Hobsons Bay has a mandate to upgrade walking and riding facilities in accordance with the Hobsons Bay Integrated Transport Plan. The plan outlines the need to provide connected and accessible active transport infrastructure to encourage social interaction and enable more people to reach places quickly and safely.
Council has also received multiple requests and a petition from residents and visitors to Ferguson Street asking for safety improvements. The proposed raised zebra crossings, buffered bike lanes, clearer line marking, and electronic 40 km/h signs will encourage drivers to slow and make it clear that there are many people walking and riding in the area.
A recent study conducted in Melbourne, Bendigo and Perth found that buffered bike lanes significantly reduce close passing incidents and are second best only to fully protected bike lanes.