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Petition launched to make exiting onto Montague St safer

Petition launched to make exiting onto Montague St safer
Brendan Rees

Residents of a Southbank apartment building have lodged a petition to have “keep clear” signs installed on Montague St, which they say has become “incredibly dangerous” because of its exiting conditions.

The petition calls for the markings to apply to the intersection of Woodgate St after residents expressed their concerns about experiencing near-misses and accidents when trying to exit onto Montague St.

The affected residents are located at the AC by Marriott Melbourne on Normanby Rd, which accommodates 95 residents, with their car parking facilities situated on Woodgate St.

The petition points out that the notorious Montague Street Bridge blocks the vision of the traffic travelling towards Normanby Rd, and that drivers on Montague St fail to leave a clear space for vehicles exiting either side of Woodgate St.

“You can’t see the oncoming traffic because the Montague Street Bridge blocks it,” lead petitioner Athena Andrews said.

“You’re playing Russian roulette and people aren’t courteous on the roads anymore.”

“There’s another large apartment complex planned for there as well right next door to where I live and it’s going to make the problems two-fold.”

The petition, signed by 16 residents, was presented to the City of Port Phillip, with councillors unanimously supporting the concerns of residents at their May 17 meeting.

“Thank you to the petitioners for bringing this. I know there is a lot of development in the area and as people move in and get in and out, it can get very congested along Montague St,” Port Phillip Mayor Heather Cunsolo said.

 

This is a good location to identify at Woodgate [St]. Many people don’t even know it’s a street on the side that the petitioners live.

 

Cr Peter Martin said it was “well worthwhile” for the council to take the matter to the Department of Transport, as well as supporting Cr Cunsolo’s request that the department investigated the safety of the neighbouring intersections, which he described as “torturous”.

A Department of Transport and Planning spokesperson confirmed they had received a copy of the petition and were currently investigating the feasibility of “keep clear” line markings at the Montague St and Woodgate St intersection.

“We welcome all feedback and suggestions from the community on how we can boost safety across our road network,” the spokesperson said.

Ms Andrews said she was pleased the council had taken the petition on board and hoped for a positive outcome.

However, as development continued to grow, she and other residents, who spoke to Southbank News, said without a plan – or a bigger picture – known for the Montague Precinct, they wondered what the future liveability of their neighbourhoods would look like, including traffic management.

New development in Montague is set to be centred on the transformation of Normanby Rd into an active street that is attractively landscaped and pedestrian-friendly, with new parks also being promised by the state government.

But with the ongoing delays of the Montague Precinct structure plans being released – with the latest date set in April – residents and stakeholders argued that it meant planning was occurring concurrently with rapid private development in the precinct.

For resident Sara Madison, who has lived in the area since 2008, development is “never-ending”, and that “it does grind you down after a while”.

“I understand that’s because of the urban renewal but there is just no let-up. I’ve always felt like no matter what the local residents say, the developers will do whatever they want,” she said, adding she hoped more green space would be created for her eight-year-old daughter and other children to use.

 

We’re in the middle of an urban renewal project, it’s going to be tough but there’s got to be a balance somewhere.

 

Ms Andrews said she moved to Normanby Rd 12 months ago because she was excited about the Fishermans Bend urban renewal project, an industrial precinct in South Melbourne and Port Melbourne, which is forecast to be home to 80,000 residents and 80,000 workers by 2050.

“I think the area will be a bit better once they develop a bit more infrastructure,” she said, but in the meantime, only one thought played on her mind when looking at traffic along Montague St: “I didn’t expect it to be as bad as what it is.” •

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