Marrickville Council Inaction Re Traffic Safety

Warren Road is a residential street with a steep incline from Illawarra Road to Carrington Road. It carries heavy traffic, including long semi-trailers with “Woolworths” markings. Vehicles often lose control downhill & run into parked cars or end up on the footpath. The corner of Warren Road & Excelsior Parade is popular with children going to Ferncourt Primary School. People walk their dogs along the footpath. Woolworths marked semi-trailers regularly get stuck at the corner because they are too long for residential streets.

2½ years ago dozens of residents started a campaign, with petitions & submissions to council, to improve road safety. Council erected a median strip to improve traffic regulation & two bollards to protect pedestrians. Dangerous driving practices continued, especially by the semi-trailers. Council promised to also build a garden island at the corner to narrow the mouth of Excelsior Parade.

After submissions to council & police, attaching photos of semi-trailers doing illegal manoeuvres, in September 2009 the councillors passed a motion to expedite the building of the garden island. But nothing was done.

Council’s letter in November 2009 was non-committal saying the garden bed would be built subject to “funding allocations”. The Marrickville police letter in August 2009 said they would “monitor the area.” The illegal driving by the semi-trailers continued unabated.

We gave Marrickville Council & the police more photos of dangerous driving by the 19m long semi-trailers. On 2 & 7 January 2010 the median strip was run over, the KEEP LEFT sign destroyed & one bollard destroyed. The semi-trailers routinely scrape the electricity pole, drive over the double lines & take the turn into Warren Road from the wrong side of the road.

After new submissions to Council, our local councillors & the police minister, attaching photos of semi-trailers destroying public property, the responses have again been impotent, leaving the safety of pedestrians to rogue drivers, who consistently disregard it & go unpunished:

Marrickville council letter (13/1/10): the garden island will be built “subject to consideration of priorities & funding.”

Marrickville police letter (21/1/10): A Woolworths manager said he told the freight company to not use Excelsior Parade. And, “he welcomed” the fact that Marrickville police “have asked Ashfield Highway Patrol to monitor the situation to ensure compliance.”

Nothing about replacing the KEEP LEFT sign or the bollard. Nothing about issuing infringements to the drivers.

The latest residents gathering produced the following quotable disappointments:

1. We suffer parking restrictions on Warren Rd for the benefit of the trucks. If we as much as park outside our own home on the wrong time of day we get fined. But semi-trailers are free to destroy public property that our rates paid for & police don’t even go to talk to the drivers.

2. The police minister & commissioner were on TV telling us how much of our money they spent on new technologies to detect traffic offenders. But when we detect the rogue semi-trailers & hand-in all the evidence on a platter, the local police don’t even mention issuing any infringements for the road rules violations. Law enforcement for some, not for others.

3. Is council waiting for yet another death on Warren Road before they find priority & money to complete the road safety works?

4. My children will start using Excelsior Parade to go to school from next week. Their safety cannot wait for more meetings to discuss “options” to manage traffic flows. These semi-trailers are just too long for our narrow streets.

5. At least we had a bollard standing at the corner. Now we have crumpled up concrete in its place. Is council so poor it cannot replace it? If so, we can lend council our angle-grinder to at least remove the dyna-bolts that are sticking out on the footpath.

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To see the photos click on - http://s978.photobucket.com/albums/ae270/TheWarrenCoalition/Woolworths-t...

The Warren Coalition

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Try having two young kids and not being able to park on Warren Road because of the Woolworths trucks. Try having to park 150 metres away or in the next street. Try lugging the shopping (bought from Woolworths) and your kids. Try coming out and finding that the side mirror of your car has been smashed off again by a passing truck. Try having to pay extra car insurance because of the damage by trucks. I’m sick of it.
Didn’t I sign a petition to get this fixed? Why isn’t council doing something about this? The road is just getting busier and busier. Why do we have to lose our parking spaces just for Woolworths trucks? 19 metre trucks are too long for these streets. Warren Road is narrow. They should respect us and use smaller trucks. Or is it all about their profit margin? Then there is the new development which is going to bring more trucks. Council should respect us and do something about this. Two years is just too long. A woman was killed in Warren Road last year. Do they want a kid killed as well?

I do not know of any other council in Sydney that is as useless as Marrickville. They only ever respond to us "the employers" when it is a lead up to an election, otherwise "go away and dont bother us" is the motto.
Remember the way they have treated you at the polling booths. This council has even employed Tree Management Officers that are not qualified. So much for a green council, if the trucks dont kill you, then the trees do !
Can the Deptartment of Local Council sack this lot like they did to Liverpool, lets have a clear out of the useless Councillors. May I suggest you email your concerns and photos to Today Tonight and ACA, they will shame the council into action. I bet it will be solved within days of it going to air.

Lets shame them into doing the basics !

It seems only fair to Marrickville police. Trucks get all the monitoring in the world they need to impress us with the arogance of power their size permits them. The rest of us? If we just sleep in a bit in the morning and we do remove our cars from our own street we cop the fines. They are now exporting their responsibilties to us to Ashfield? That's 5 miles away. Impotent response, I'll say.

I have lived on Warren Road for approximately 10 years. During that time I have had the side of my car swiped once, numerous car mirrors broken and been subjected to drivers abusing each other because they cannot pass each other due to the narrowness of Warren Road.
I have written to Marrickville Council and put the following query on to questionnaires (which always ask residents 'clayton' questions!) but have not received a reply.
"All the streets parallel to Warren Road are considerably wider than Warren Road. Given this fact why is it that all traffic, including heavy trucks, is funnelled onto Warren Road through the use of traffic lights, 'no right turn' signs etc?"
As I have been unable to elicit a response to this question I would now like to ask that if any Councillors and/or their family members own property on either Renwick, Cary, Premier Grove or Schwebel Streets could we please have a list of their names.
Thank you.
Sue Drake-Brockman

Dear Sue. In answer to your question: Assets ownership is not something about which we have knowledge. You may directly approach the South Ward representatives. Their contact details are on council's website. Thank you for your contribution.

At some stage the rights and safety of the local ratepayers must take priority over the interests of big business. The comments of the Woolworths Manager as reported above if correct are both hollow and mealy mouthed. No doubt everyone can now be assured that that Woolworths puts the interests of the local citizenry ahead of those of the trucks that supply This store (yeh right!)

Come on Council & other authorities ! Start looking after the taxpayers & Ratepayers who pay for the quiet enjoyment (and safety) of their land and its local surroundings AND STOP THIS BL**DY NUISANCE.

By the way why is there a section on this site for praising the council? - seems a bit redundant don't it?

I am alocal GP, father of 2 children at Frencourt school and coach of a red devil's soccer team. I have also lived in Warren Road for 10 years and have noted during this time the steady increase in traffic. I have responded to at least 2 surveys by the Council on the traffic matter and am still awaiting any significant change. in recent months we have experienced a pedestrian dealth and several truck accidents. of course the situation is only going to get worse if nothing is done - IKEA will soon o-en inthe area, construction has commenced on carrington Road and the RSL development will no doubt bring more traffic sooner or later.
On a daily basis my children are exposed to unsavoury "road rage' incidents as vehicles going opposite directions on Warren Road weave in and out of parked cars, ineviatbly leading to significant blockages. This was exacerbated with a recent accident involving a Woolworth's truck that became wedged at an intersection for at least an hour causing major disruption for traffic flow. I fear for a time when an emergency vehicle is required to respond to an incident in warren Road and significant time delays occur because of such "grid-lock".
We all now the wisdom of preventative medicine - isn't it high time that the Council took notice of the warnings we have already had and respond.
May i make a few suggestions:
1. make Warren Road one way between Carrington Road and illawarra Road, and restore 24 hr parking both sides for those residents at the bottom
2. remove traffic flow restrictions at cnr illawarra and renwick street and replace with round about - Illawarra Road widens at this point allowing sufficient space
3. restrict Wollworth's trucks to the smaller lorry sizes only

John, You should add a fourth suggestion.
(4) Dont re-elect the current councillors, I'd even vote for Nathan Rees and I thought he was useless but he would have to do better than the current clowns, I mean green councillors.
I understood the roll of the councillors was to represent the people not ignore us till voting time.
So any councillors out there, if you have finished your soymilk decaf, can you comment on Johns suggestions and fix this mess. Better to do it now than in a coroners court.

John brings up significant issues which will result in much greater levels of traffic using Warren Road: 149 Carrington Rd development of 29 factory units, the RSL development which even they say will bring hundreds of new vehicles an hour & of course, the mega-Ikea. There may soon be highrise along Illawarra and Marrickville Roads. This will also impact on traffic levels on Warren Road. It will have an impact on many other roads, but we are only concentrating on the Warren Road area at the moment.

I am glad this issue has moved to looking for solutions. We can spend ages saying council or the councillors are bad. In fact they are not bad. We just have a problem here and most problems can be fixed.

Regarding John’s idea of making Warren Road one way – a lot of residents want this. I am not sure it will work for two reasons.

1. Which direction will the traffic go? Up the hill or down? If it is down the hill I think the children, other pedestrians and properties will remain at risk. The corner turning into Excelsior Parade slants and as we all know, cars sometimes spin out here. There has been more than one crash here. The median strip heightens the issue for speeding drivers as it forces them to swing wider. I am afraid they will lose control. For this reason, I would like the traffic to go one way up the hill from Carrington to Illawarra if making Warren Road one way is found to be the best solution.

2. My second reason for hesitating to make Warren one way is that two thirds more traffic travel up and down Renwick Street directly to and from Woolworths. I am afraid council will make Renwick one way also. I have heard Councillors mention this as an option in a community meeting and as part of the recent community opposition to the DA at 149 Carrington Road. If this does happen, the traffic will really increase. We in Warren Road will get all of those vehicles who usually travel along Renwick Street. I think the traffic at Excelsior Parade will increase as well and people there are already unhappy with the increase of traffic over the last few years.

I do think it is unfair that the bottom of Warren has parking restrictions while the top doesn’t and I would like to see these removed. We were allowed to park on both sides of Warren Road until recently and the reason for this new restriction is only to assist the much larger trucks which now travel to Woolworths. I think this is unfair and think the Woolworths trucks are much too big for this area.

The idea of a round-a-bout at the top of Renwick and Illawrra Road is a good one as it will remove perhaps half of the traffic who have to go through Renwick, Excelsior, Carrington and Warren to get out towards where they want to go. If council doesn’t like a round-a-bout, then it should be traffic lights. There are plenty of places throughout Sydney which have traffic lights close to each other.

The garden bed will slow down traffic and there has to be bollards put in place on the corner of Warren Road and Excelsior. I also think council could consider making Excelsior Parade no entry for trucks. This will force them to go via Carrington Road.

I hope council listens to us. We only want a safe road system for our families.

John and Anh make valid points. Freeing up the corner of renwick and illawarra will take up to a third of the traffic coming out of woolworths away from the unneceassy down the hill in rewick, left in excelsior, up the hill in warren. They could go straight on illawarra and beyond without adding to the heavy traffic round that block.

I have some questions for you.
- Why are you all of a sudden concerned about the woolworths trucks, they have been there for 30 years?
- Is it realy woolworths you are concerned or is it the new complex on Carrington Rd?
- Why didnt you all go the the council and request the area to be re zoned from industrial to residential before hand?
- Why doesnt the council meet with woolworths to arrange special heavy vehicle hours for woolworths?
- Do you just want to push your problems onto other people in your local area by diverting your future traffic to them?
- Do you care about others or just yourselves?

A response to your questions:
- this is not a sudden reaction: local residents have been approaching council for many years due to a long history of accidents. Maybe you should question council why they have not substantially addressed the increasing problem before now. Recently, further attention has been brought to the issue as aresult of 3 unfortunate incidents; a pedestrian death before Christmas, as well as 2 truck accidents resulting in property damage. Council has recently sent a questionnaire to residents seeking feedback about the issue - no results are currently available. The woolworths trucks are only part of the many factors causing the problem. With increasing development and housing density, the problem is only going to continue.
- The Carrington Rd complex was before council approximately 2 years ago. at that time a large residents group came together to voice our concerns. This prompted Council to reject the original proposal which then proceeded to the Land and Environment Court where significant changes were achived resulting in reduced access from both Warren and Renwick Streets
_ The issue of zoning was discussed at that time but, as I undertsand it, NSW State Government is responsible for such decisions and way beyond the control of our local council.
- a resolution has already passed through Council directing staff to write a letter to Woolworth's making just such a request. i am not aware of how far this has progressed or whether a response has been received.
- one of the things I enjoy about living in Mrarickville is the sennse of community and acceptance of diversity. Self interest can plainly be seen in many other parts of Sydney but thankfully not here. All we are asking is for an equitable spread of traffic around the area. Unfortunately, Warren rd is the narrowest street on the Warren and carries a disproportionate share of the traffic - not just Woolies trucks, but many private vehicles as well. This happens because of the way traffic is directed by no right tuns signs etc towards Warren Rd.

Wow, I've just found this blog - about time. I don't live on Warren Rd but use it everyday to get to work . I'm sick of the number of road rage incidents I've encountered whilst playing dodgem cars on this road. I really can undertsand the concerns about access of emergency vehicles if they were needed at peak times.
On the issue of self-interest, I think it is pretty common knowledge that one of our local Green Council reps lives on a street not far away and may not be too keen on more traffic on his street.
Let's hope that when the Coroner's case comes he can say he made the right decsion and not one that protected his and his mates' house value. He should abstain from any votes on this issue and allow Council to finally make an independent decision on this nightmare.

We noticed in council's business papers that they are considering imposing vehicle size limitations at Calvert Street. It is another narrow street with lots of traffic to shops. Good work council.

We are not advocating dumping the Woolworths 19m long semi-trailers in anyone else's back yard. We are advocating council impose size limits not just in Warren Rd, but in all the residential streets around here. They are just too long to be safe. When last September the semi-trailer issue was discussed at council one councillor described them as "the elephant in the room." The freight company has plenty of the shorter vehicles. Some are already doing the Marrickville run. They just don't need to insist using the "elephants."

Update on official responses:
1. Still silence from council about replacing the KEEP LEFT sign.
2. Still silence from council about replacing the bollard.
3. This week another semi-trailer did an illegal turn and cutting in front of cars on Warren Rd went onto the footpath. We are pleased to report that the bolts council is still ignoring on the footpath are no longer proud. The semi-trailer flattened them. But they are still there.
4. Not one of the officials we wrote about the police resistance to fining the semi-trailers for their destructive driving has given us their view. We take such persistent silence to mean they condone the unfair policing practice of fining the little cars that park on Warren Rd at the wrong time while letting the "elephants" off the hook for destroying public property we all paid for.

After discussions with residents we sent to local councillors a list of needs to improve traffic safety. In point form they are:
1. Garden bed: Despite previous motions and approvals, no firm date to erect the garden island. Is already overdue. Firm date for commencement of works needed, to protect cars parked on Excelsior Pde (owners live on Excelsior and Warren).
2. KEEP LEFT sign not replaced. Community seek replacement within 7 days.
3. Damaged bollard. Replacement of bollard within a month. Needs three bollards. Two means they are spaced widely and can let a car drive right through. Installation with weak short bolts cannot stop anything heavy. They offer no real protection to our children.
4. Fines for the destructive incidents. Warren Rd residents are getting tickets for years. Council or councillors to make representations to police to issue infringements to the truckies.
5. Renwick Rd remain two way traffic. Free up intersection Renwick Rd and Illawarra Rd to allow through traffic and turns left and right into Illawarra Rd (controlled by roundabout or lights). Will remove 1/3 of the traffic exiting Woollies that is now made to go down Renwick Rd, into Excelsior Pde, up Warren Rd only to end up where it wanted to be in the first place. That is on Illawarra Rd to travel north and north/west.
6. Vehicle size limit in Excelsior Pde: Other roads (including Warren and Renwick) are more suitable for trucks. Angle parking of both sides on Excelsior makes heavy trucks unsuitable there. Heavy trucks will wreck the most gorgeous trees in the neighbourhood, like they are doing down at Carrington Rd.
7. Lower part of Warren Rd: Community want their parking back.
8. Vehicle size limit: Woollies has plenty of the shorter semis. We should fight till the long ones are banned going via some of our residential streets to commercial sites because they make the residential access streets unsafe.
9. Warren Rd: Should be one-way uphill between Carrington Rd and Illawarra Rd. No need for more speed-humps. One-way downhill will remain dangerous at high speeds.

I have read through the Marrickville South Local Area Traffic Management and I note with extreme frustration that Marrickville Council does not want to put traffic lights OR a round-about at Renwick St and Illawarra Rd. Council's own report says that drivers illegally turn right "once every 6 minutes or 10 illegal turns in each peak hour." Putting a barrier will stop this dangerous behaviour, BUT it will still make Renwick St residents AND Excelsior Pde residents AND Warren Rd residents AND probably Schwebell St residents continue to suffer the unnecessary traffic of drivers who are forced to travel away from Illawarra Rd and around these blocks to get back to Illawarra Rd and be able to go where they wanted to travel originally. Council, just put in traffic lights or a decent round-about and let all the traffic exiting Woolies go without having to go through residential streets unnecessarily. PLEASE! It's a big report so I may have something else to add later.

I saw your site on SOT. I used to live in that area and we didn't have the problem of the "elephants." I still drive on Warren Rd and we often have to backtrack to let them get through. They are too long for these streets. What is council waiting for before banning them? They have already started destroying the traffic signs because they cannot take the turns at the corners.

Woolworths are simply disrespectful of the community that has been supporting their business. Soon the other businesses will start using their own "elephants" on the your streets.

Isn't it foolish to allow heavy traffic on Excelsior parade? I love those trees. Keep up the fight.

Maria,

Why would waste your time looking at that stupid SOT websitr or do you have a look at it for a laugh like me. That crazy Jacqueline is very close to being sued over her comments about a certain Marrickville councillor. This person has sort legal advise over comments.

She makes decisions on trees that she is not qualified to make. She looks at a tree and argues that it be retained despite qualified council arborists recommending that trees be removed because they are dangerous. This woman is a pest who will no doubt be running for the hills and claiming no responsibility if a tree she fights to retain kills someone.

How dare she question a qualified arborists recommendations when she has nothing to back it up except 'it suquences 4.5kg of carbon dioxide'.

Well id rather have 4.5kg of it then someones death or damage to their house. Another freak that thinks trees are more important than people. If a tree goes plant another one or two or three, get over it.

I hope she writes on her stupid website about her day in court, if not I will report it here !

I hope everyone will view this website at saveourtrees.wordpress.com and read the rubbish this woman writes. She is pig headed and biased in every way.

and yes, I know her personally and she is a pig of a woman in real life too. The way she spoke to a certain councillor at the last council meeting was duly noted by the councillors solicitor sitting in the public dock. This is one court case I cant wait for.

What is SOT if you don't mind me asking?

In the Inner West Courier on 11/2/10 our Mayor personally signed an invitation to Marrickville citizens to contribute their suggestions so that council take them into account and together change Marrickville for the better. How timely and poignant an invitation. But people with comments that fluctuate from the irrelevant to the abusive do not contribute to improving the community. They have only one for audience and one for company while they entertain themselves. Those of us who put in the time to think and suggest ways forward, those who try their best to support residents’ campaigns don’t listen, nor do our councillors and council staff.

Our campaign has been blessed with the participation of those who want to find solutions and those with the intellectual and intestinal fortitude of the bully. Bullies do not need to follow what this GRIPE tries to achieve. There is space galore on the airwaves. They can claim their own slice.

But enough time wasted. There are important things to say:

Thanks to the Saving Our Trees site and the many other contacts who enlarged our audience. Thanks to our local councillors who once again actively supported our campaign. Thanks to council, which under stewardship of the new General Manager, is quickly moving forward to addressing the community’s concerns.

This is not just throwaway generalisations representing the bliss of the ignorant. The facts to support our comment are:

- Safety works are now under way.

- A comprehensive council report has been completed. It makes a heap of recommendations to improve traffic safety in a large area in south Marrickville.

- Recommendations are consistent with what we have suggested and what the residents said in council’s recent survey.

Council listened to those who had something intelligent to contribute. Soon residents will have an opportunity to make further comment on the recommendations. We hope that as many as possible will respond. Traffic safety is too important to let the opportunity go by or be distracted by negative agendas.

Thanks for that dribble, Jacqueline. Budda will be proud.

The following is a letter sent today to the Police Minister. You can see today's latest incident where more damage was done at the photobucket link below.

Dear Police Minister Dear Marrickville Council

Re: Marrickville Police - Semi-trailers - illegal & dangerous driving -

On 11/01/10 we wrote to you about our concerns that Marrickville Police were not enforcing traffic laws regarding 19 metre long semi-trailers in the Warren area doing illegal and dangerous manoeuvres resulting in destruction of public property. You received many photos showing illegal driving and damage. The last we heard from Marrickville Police was that they passed the issue to Ashfield to monitor the situation.

Our letter was acknowledged by your parliamentary secretary on 15/01/10 (Ref: M103393).

It is with regret that we must note:

1. We have heard nothing further from the police about any measures to stop semi-trailers terrorising our streets.
2. We have heard nothing from you. This silence makes us feel you are disregarding our concerns when the rogue semi-trailers carry on snubbing their nose at traffic laws with impunity.

Marrickville Council have already responded to our concerns and have built a garden island to protect parked cars and pedestrians. They have replaced the damaged traffic signs. They are planning further traffic management measures to improve safety.

BUT these things do not stop semi-trailers terrorising the neighbourhood. This is your job through your police force.

There have been more incidents this month. On 27 February 2010 we were able to document another incident, which again involved driving over double lines, on the wrong side of the road, over the median strip and destroying the brand new traffic sign. Our rates paid for that sign.

As police do not seem all that motivated to find a solution and you have not responded to our concerns, regrettably, we are forced once again to circulate our concerns widely to gain support for the safety of pedestrians and the children of this area.

You will find this letter posted at:

http://councilgripe.com/content/marrickville-council-police-inaction-re-...

And the photos from today's incident marked Photo 1 27-02-10 to Photo 9 27-02-10 posted at:

http://s978.photobucket.com/albums/ae270/TheWarrenCoalition/Woolworths-t...

Yours sincerely
The Warren Coalition
Residents of Warren area Marrickville South

CC: Marrickville Council; Mayor Iskandar; Clr Hanna; Clr O'Sullivan; Clr Olive; The Inner West Courier;

Marrickville Council considered tonight some 24 recommendations from the Traffic Committee regarding traffic issues in South Marrickville.

The papers and the recommendations are on Council's website in the business papers of the Land Use, Assets and Corporate Committee Meeting for 9 March 2010.
It is Item number 3, titled: Local Traffic Planning and Advisory Committee Meeting Held on Tuesday 16 February 2010.

Council will soon seek more input about those recommendations from the community. It will be another good opportunity for the community to let Council know its views directly by responding to the survey Council will circulate.

As far as the Warren Coalition is concerned this gripe is fixed and we thank Marrickville Council for all the work that has gone into preparing the recommendations and doing the safety works.

Thanks very much for sending the link. Yes we did know this information as we all were a part of the survey, but it's good to have the link on this site. Thanks for you involvement.

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