Traffic-calming measures for busy laneway

Aerial photo published in the council agenda, showing the Oak Avenue precinct. Picture: SDRC

Oak Avenue, which runs behind Warwick’s newest retail centre at Albion Street, has been inundated with extra traffic along the narrow two-way thoroughfare, and the Southern Downs Regional Council is to implement traffic-calming options.

A number of residents from the street attended the council meeting on 17 January to hear what could be done with their street, which changed from a sleepy backwater to a hive of driving activity virtually overnight. Near misses have been cited and the residents have complained to the council.

At the meeting it was explained the aim was to provide traffic-calming measures during a six-month trial, including changing the street to become one way only to find out which way was preferable to residents, reducing the speed limit by at least 10kph and placing speed bumps to manually slow traffic.

Cr Ross Bartley said there would have been half a dozen vehicles on the road in the past and now there were 229 vehicles a day.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said.

“People have lived their lives in Oak Avenue and now it’s changed forever. They don’t get enough consideration. It’s unfortunate, but now we need to address it.

“I think the utmost consideration should be given to the existing residents.”

Director of Infrastructure Services Gary Murphy said the council would consult the community immediately and would trial their preference, particularly talking about direction of flow for traffic.

A report by council officers said Oak Avenue was one of a number of laneways in Warwick that was designed purely as access for local residents and not intended to be a thoroughfare for any other traffic. It has a 5m road reserve width.

“By making these laneways thoroughfares they become a safety concern for local residents.”

The report recommended the one-way orientation be in a southerly direction so that traffic was funnelled to Wood Street where there were traffic lights at the next intersection rather than being directed to Percy Street, where there were none.

The retail complex has entry and exit access to Oak Avenue and councillors were told the developer was willing to work with the council to improve the situation.

The approval for the development was given some years ago.