Willmott Avenue resident wants Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to act on traffic speed issues

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Willmott Avenue resident Tim Hartnett says more needs to be done to stop local roads turning into de facto racetracks.
Camera IconWillmott Avenue resident Tim Hartnett says more needs to be done to stop local roads turning into de facto racetracks. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret River Times

A keen-eyed council watcher says the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River has failed its duty of care to residents after sitting on traffic data confirming half of motorists on a local thoroughfare were speeding.

Willmott Avenue resident Tim Hartnett said traffic analysis data he obtained from the local government under Freedom of Information Act laws revealed more than half of road users were speeding in the 50km/h zone limit on his suburban street.

The data provided to the Times showed many of the worst offenders were SUVs and utility drivers, with many instances of speed well above 70km/h on the thoroughfare.

Vehicles towing trailers were also well-represented travelling more than 60km/h.

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Mr Hartnett has called for speed bumps and other options to force traffic slower, but was disappointed the Shire said further consultation was needed.

“Five hundred vehicles a day exceeding the speed limit on a residential street within a kilometre of the town centre is a failure of civil engineering and town planning, should not be permitted to occur, and as such, should be embarrassing to our public officials and representatives,” he said.

“Confronted with such data, town officials should have immediately acted to mitigate a level of speeding which presents a clear and present danger to the community.”

Shire asset services manager David Nicholson said the local government was committed to finding the best solution for keeping local roads safe.

That required consultation to find the best ways to change driver behaviour, he said.

The Times understands Shire actions would be included in its partnership with the RAC in a Capes-wide project to review speed limits which could create more 40km/h zones.

“Things like roundabouts and speed humps are expensive and can often increase noise from acceleration and braking,” Mr Nicholson said.

“As a first step, we’ve reduced the speed and installed 50km/hr speed limit signs in several locations, including Willmott Avenue and Tunbridge Street, and have liaised with the local police who enforce these speeds.

“We regularly monitor traffic volumes and vehicle speeds throughout the Shire for planning purposes and in response to specific requests.”

The RAC trial was expected to start later this year, with consultation before and during the three-year project.

Margaret River police officer-in-charge Sgt Simone Taplin said local officers were handing out more fines than ever.

“We are continuing to actively monitor motorists within Margaret River,” Sgt Taplin said.

She noted some residents were failing to comply with changed speed zones, while at the same time the district was seeing more motorists than ever.

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