Curfews cut truck numbers, but traffic volumes rising elsewhere

Curfews have reduced truck numbers on some streets in Melbourne’s west, but numbers are rising on other residential streets

By Ruza Zivkusic | September 13, 2011

Truck curfews have reduced traffic on some streets in Melbourne’s west, but the number of trucks on other residential streets is rising, according to traffic count figures released by VicRoads.

The figures, compiled in March, show a decrease in truck traffic along Francis Street at curfew times since the introduction of curfews nine years ago. Truck volumes have decreased by 46 percent east of Williamstown Road in Hobsons Bay and by 85 percent west of Williamstown Road.

Volumes have increased in Footscray’s Moore and Buckley Streets, with 522 trucks recorded on Moore Street in March this year, up from 146 trucks in 2006. Buckley Street has also seen an increase of trucks, up from 226 in 2006 to 369 this year.

A VicRoads regional director, Nial Finegan, says that while there has been a slight increase in overall vehicle numbers using Francis Street in Yarraville, there has been an immediate and significant decrease in truck traffic along the street at curfew times.

"The introduction of truck curfews and the relocation of industrial centres such as a container park have reduced the number of heavy vehicles travelling along Francis Street," Finegan says.

There were 5757 trucks travelling on Francis Street, east of Williamstown Road in March 2002. The number is down to 4887 this year.

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) secretary Martin Wurt says traffic curfews are not a long-term solution to managing trucks in residential areas.

"The issue is with curfews - we only have them on two roads so if you look at figures for other residential streets during the curfews they’re having a correspondent increase in truck traffic," Wurt says.

"The curfews force trucks onto other inappropriate suburban streets. Moore Street and Buckley Street is where the trucks are forced onto during curfew hours, so it might be reducing numbers somewhat in some areas but it’s making impact for other residents.

"It’s not a long term solution to managing trucks. It means that trucks are going into other narrower streets that aren’t made for trucks either."

MTAG will hold a community rally on September 18 in Yarraville to call on the Baillieu Government to deliver the Truck Action Plan. No funding for the plan was announced in this year’s state budget.

"We’re calling on the Baillieu Government to fund the Truck Action Plan. It is ready and the drawings are in place. We are calling on that money to be released and for the Government to commit to a long term truck solution for the residents in inner west," Wurt says.

Greens MP Colleen Hartland says it is misleading to state the truck numbers in the west are down.

"Truck numbers are on a upward trajectory and are projected to double by 2020, bring ever increasing pollution, noise to our neighbourhoods and health impacts to our community," she says.

Hartland wants the government to focus on shifting freight onto rail as a long-term solution to reducing truck numbers.

She believes curfews should be introduced in other streets, including Moore Street which has seen a "massive increase in truck numbers recent years, and where the community is suffering".

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