Vehicle Traffic and Speed in Merricks Beach

Without question, the issue most regularly raised with (and by) the MBRA is the speed at which some drivers travel within our village. The volume and speed of vehicles going from Balnarring Beach to Frankston-Flinders Road via Bayview and Palmers Hill Roads has many residents concerned about safety, as these narrow roads are not suitable for this type of “through traffic” use. Worse, by its nature, through traffic moves faster than local traffic, and the drivers appear less mindful as to the impact of their speed on the local environment and residents.

Calls to the MBRA to “do something” are not infrequent. Given that unmade roads preclude conventional traffic calming infrastructure and additional signage is unlikely to make a difference, it’s not surprising that those making such calls are unable to make tangible suggestions as to what is the “thing” that can and should be done. The chicanes installed a few years back may be regarded as unconventional, given that they are apparently still one-of-a-kind in Australia but they do seem to have had some impact. At present, the MBRA understands that there is no physical scope for further chicane installations in the village.

Still, the MBRA regards one of its primary missions to be the pursuit of any possible avenue for addressing traffic speed and volume issues. In the short term, we have secured one of the Shire’s real-time speed monitoring and feedback trailers for use over the coming Summer. We have found these to be valuable in the past for moderating speed on the roads, particularly during times when a lot of visitors are coming and going.

As to the search for long-term solutions, over the Winter months representatives of the MBRA met with Cr David Gill and Shire engineering staff to highlight issues and to explore possible solutions. One innovative possibility is to seek to have Merricks Beach made a “shared zone” for cyclists and pedestrians, with vehicle speed limits and movement being adjusted accordingly. This is embryonic; currently, shared zone concepts are limited to built-up areas where kerbing and road treatments can be used to compel observance of the priority of pedestrians and cyclists. So again, the unsealed surface of our roads would require a new approach that is yet to be developed and accepted. But absent of any better suggestions, the MBRA sees this as worth investigating.  If you do have any suggestions for what might be done to address traffic speed and volume issues in Merricks Beach, please pass them on to the Committee.

Peter Cash – President of Merricks Beach Residents’ Association

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