It’s no wonder the residents campaigning to drop the speed limit through the centre of Bridgewater from 60km/h to 50km/h are puzzled by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure’s (DPTI) decision to maintain the status quo.
Bridgewater would have be one of the few towns in the region that doesn’t have a 50km/h zone.
It doesn’t mean that just because everywhere else has one, Bridgewater should.
Based on a purely technical survey, DPTI found the main street didn’t tick enough boxes for a reduction to the speed limit.
But from a psychological point of view, motorists heading into Bridgewater don’t have a visual signal telling them they are about to enter a community area.
That might be fine for 80% of the time when the main street is used as an arterial route.
It’s not so good at the end of the school day when all the students arriving home on buses from the city are being picked up by their parents in the main street or when the local primary students are let out of school and are walking home.
It’s not so good on the weekends when families are using the playground, sports fans are at the oval and church goers are looking for parking.
And it’s not so good for motorists on Carey Gully Road trying to turn at the Mt Barker Road T-junction when cars are heading around a bend and then downhill from both directions.
These are localised scenarios that only locals really understand and it’s why some 800 people signed a petition calling for a 50km/h zone.
Unfortunately that petition carried insufficient weight with the Adelaide Hills Council because when it was asked by DPTI to express an opinion on behalf of the community, it didn’t.
Based largely on concerns that community consultation conducted eight years ago was evenly split on the issue – and that might still be the case today – the council sat on its hands and told the transport department to make its own decision about its own road.
So it did, based on technical considerations – not residents’ concerns.
Now the ball is back in the community’s court.
If the residents of Bridgewater feel DPTI’s decision is wrong, they’ll need to go back to their council and insist their views are represented with some conviction.
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In a Snap
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