27 March 2015

Traffic speeds at the Train Park - pls contact your Alderman

Di attended the City Infrastructure Committee meeting on Wednesday, and observed as the committee (after much discussion) agreed to support a formal request going to the Dept of State Growth to have a lower speed Playground Zone declared around the Train Park.  This recommendation will be put to the full Council meeting (5pm, Monday 13 April, if anyone would like to attend) for decision as to whether to send this letter.

What Council has actually done in response to the petition from residents is to install one new warning sign on the southern approach to the park:
While this sign is welcome, we believe a stronger message is needed, with the strength of potential enforcement (i.e. the road speed limit reduced to 40 kph).

It is time that traffic engineers and planners were encouraged to move beyond the reported data on incidents on the road (crash performance, deaths and serious injuries) to consider the experience of all road users (such as perceptions of safety and the incidence of near misses).   Information on these aspects may have to come from users, either via survey or community reporting tools.  For example, Bicycle Network Tasmania operates a Riders' Log, where riders can report incidents, near misses and suggestions.

We think that Council sending this formal request is important in influencing State Growth to more seriously consider the issue.  It sends the message that both the safety of our children and the wellbeing of our community need protection, and that reducing the speed of traffic in the area would be a benefit.  Certainly we have to try something, given that there is no other means being offered at the moment to reduce the volumes and speed of cars driven by people making our neighbourhood their own private highway.

Prior to the Council meeting we should do all we can to make sure the Aldermen hear our concern on this issue and have a good chance to do their own research on the matter.  Please send an email or phone as many Aldermen as you can.  Below is a list of Aldermen with their contact details.   And here are some links for information and arguments you might like to include:

Our recent blog post about traffic and speed in West Hobart

Alderman Reynolds' Motion presented at the committee meeting

The petition signed by 103 residents  (see Item 7, Page 7).  The text of the petition is:  "We the undersigned ask you as a matter of urgency to traffic calm the intersection of Hill Street and Warwick Street where Caldew Park, a popular children's playground, is located.  Many vehicles speed down Hill Street, with some drivers actually accelerating to pass through this intersection with careless regard for the safety of the children walking to and from the playground".

Note: Three Aldermen have already expressed their support for the proposal, and we are grateful for their support.  They are: Alderman Anna Reynolds, who moved the motion, and Aldermen Helen Burnett and Philip Cocker, who supported the motion in the committee.

Lord Mayor Sue Hickey  lord.mayor@hobartcity.com.au
Deputy Lord Mayor Ron Christie  ronchristie@netspace.net.au
Tanya Denison  tanyamdenison@gmail.com
Suzy Cooper ald.cooper@hobartcity.com.au
Peter Sexton ptsexton@tassie.net.au
Eva Ruzicka eva@ruzicka.id.au
Jeff Briscoe jbriscoe@netspace.net.au
Damon Thomas damon.thomas@bigpond.com
Marti Zucco ald_zucco@netspace.net.au  

21 March 2015

Traffic speeds and volumes in West Hobart

Latest Residents' Traffic Committee meeting, 24 Feb

Margaret and Di attended the latest West Hobart Residents' Traffic Committee meeting as residents and as representatives of the West Hobart Environment Network. Di also represented Bicycle Network Tasmania.  Here are the Council's minutes of this meeting.  It was good to see three aldermen showing interest in our traffic issues:  Jeff Briscoe (who chaired the meeting), Anna Reynolds and Eva Ruszicka.  There was a strong contingent of residents, with four others as well as us (Kay's name was left out of the minutes).  As usual, the residents were there to express their concerns with various aspects of traffic in our suburb. Once again, it was a frustrating exercise, with the minutes only barely reflecting the range of the issues discussed.

Important new information obtained was that there is in fact a current Local Area Traffic Management plan for West Hobart.  It is pretty dated, and we were not provided with a copy, but Angela Moore (Mgr Traffic Engineering) committed to providing an update on the recommended works included in the plan.  This has still not been received, a month after the meeting.

It was agreed by all (as at the previous meeting) that West Hobart is subject to a rat run for commuters from the northern suburbs (Arthur/Hill/Melville/Bathurst Streets), and critical points of discussion at this meeting included the beginning, middle and end of the rat run, as well as the school zone in Lansdowne Crescent.

At the beginning of the rat run, the corner of Arthur St and Hill St, kerb bulbing and pedestrian refuges will be built to assist pedestrians to cross Hill St to get to the new Hill St Grocer shop.  Di's previous representations for consideration for slots in such kerb bulbing to allow cyclists to pass through without being forced into the path of faster travelling motorists are still being overlooked.  Not to mention representations to ensure space is left available for future provision of onroad bikelanes through West Hobart to connect with the rest of the city's bike network.

In the middle, a recent petition from residents to do something about the danger posed by traffic at the Caldew (train) Park was discussed.  New information provided at this meeting was that vehicle speeds had been measured in Warwick St, with an 85% percentile of 51 kph.  This effectively means that the average vehicle speed in Warwick St is actually OVER the current speed limit of 50kph. Of course that means that significant numbers of drivers are exceeding the speed limit here.

At the end of the rat run, there was general discussion about the poor signage to trucks about the traffic islands at the intersection of Barrack St and Bathurst St, and most people had observed drivers regularly taking illegal short cuts around the islands.

Meanwhile, Lansdowne Crescent School continues to have problems with so many parents dropping off and picking up children, parking on yellow lines and the edges of the dirt road within the carpark, and posing risks to other road users.

Margaret and I suggested (again) that Council needs to take a leadership role in addressing these traffic problems through developing a regional sustainable transport strategy which would describe how people could be encouraged to switch to public transport and/or personal active transport such as bikes, and which would include reduced speed limits in our precious local neighbourhoods so that our children could safely walk and ride to school.  In fact the Council's own Sustainable Transport Strategy is currently due for review but there was no indication of commitment to do this.  We thought that this need for more strategic action was taken on board by the Mgr Traffic Engineering and the Aldermen present, but there is no mention of it in the minutes.

Notice of Motion, Infrastructure Services Committee meeting, 25 March

It is pleasing therefore to see that Alderman Anna Reynolds is tabling a motion for discussion at the coming Infrastructure Services Committee meeting (5pm, Wednesday 25 March, Lady Osborne Room, 1st Floor, Town Hall), suggesting that a reduced speed "Playground Zone" be declared in the vicinity of the train park.

Motion:  That Council write to the State Government to:
-          request approval for the creation of a playground zone of 40kms per hour speed limit and appropriate signage in the area around Caldew Park on Hill Street, West Hobart.
-          that the letter explain the vulnerability of children’s safety in this area given the high visitation to the playground and speeds along the road.
-          that if approved Council move to implement the new playground zone in this location as a priority.

Establishment of a lower speed limit zone at this location would be a great benefit to parents and children using the park, and would declare that this is a local community which should be respected.  Are there any other Playground Zones in Hobart?

Do try and come along to observe this Infrastructure Services meeting, and support Alderman Reynolds with her innovative proposal.

17 March 2015

Meat Free Week

This post is to highlight Meat Free Week which is running from  the 23rd to the 29th March.  Meat Free Week is a campaign that aims to get people thinking about how much meat they eat, and the impact of eating too much. https://meatfreeweek.org/

If anyone would like to celebrate Meat Free Week with a vegan or vegetarian potluck meal, please contact me on 6234 7376 or at trinehooper@live.com and we can organise a time that suits those interested.  I've also typed up an offering of tried and tested animal-free recipes.  Please feel free to email me if any of these are of interest to you.  The recipes are:
1. Creamy Cauliflower and Cashew Nut Soup
2. Egyptian Red Lentil Soup
3. Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce
4. Easiest Moong Dahl
5. Beans Bourguignon
6. Eggplant, Vegetable and Lentil Pasta Sauce
7. Carrot, Sultana and Walnut Muffins
8. Blueberry Apple Crumble and Custard

For those wanting to understand more about the environmental impacts of meat consumption, a starting point is the discussion on the Meat Free Week website:

Another source of information is a brochure called Eating Up The World: The Environmental Consequences Of Human Food Choices which is available on the Vegetarian Victoria website (the link to the brochure in pdf format is about half way down the page)

Here's hoping someone might be inspired to share a neighbourly dinner!

23 February 2015

Bushfire preparedness - excellent information and workshop opportunities coming up

West Hobart residents are invited to a couple of workshops which will be especially useful for those who have missed the previous WHEN bushfire preparation events.

Firstly, this Wednesday evening at South Hobart Primary School:

Bushfire Survival Plan Workshop

7.30pm Wednesday 25 February

A chance for you to learn about bushfire risk and to make a plan.
Free event, all welcome.
Facilitated by Tas Fire Service.

Enquiries to Lesley King, 6225 8504, or lesley.king@fire.tas.gov.au.

Secondly, this workshop at the Waterworks:

Waterworks Bushfire Ready Event

1.30pm, Sunday 1 March

You are invited to attend a bushfire survival plan workshop presented by the Tasmania Fire Service, Bushfire Ready Neighborhoods program and various guests.

Topics presented will include:
  • bushfire history and weather
  • bushfire danger ratings
  • emergency alerts and warnings
  • the local community protection plan
  • nearby safer places
  • evacuation centres
  • emergency kits
  • community phone trees
Waterworks Reserve, shelter site 8 (west end of the reserve).

Afternoon refreshments provided and there will be bushland activities for the kids.

Enquiries to Lesley King, 6225 8504, or lesley.king@fire.tas.gov.au.

21 January 2015

Planting notes for February, and an ad!

Here are Greg's planting notes for February, and also a plea for help from Julie. She's seeking a companionable garden helper who would like a couple of hours of paid work.

FEBRUARY              Week 1   Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Turnip (last chance) x
Cauliflower  P to G x
Spinach x x

Garden help required in West Hobart.
My garden is out of control and would like  someone to help me for 2 hours per week for the next few months.
General weeding and maintenance. I supply equipment. Just require care, enthusiasm and a bit of plant knowledge. I'll be working alongside. 
Its a paid position so please contact me on juliepayne2@bigpond.com and let me know your hourly rate and experience.

30 December 2014

Gardening notes for January 2015

Dear Gardening Friends
Well here we are again, at January.

My garden is yielding the best crop of boysenberries ever; the rain has made them larger and juicier than ever - my favourite berry.

Here are the January notes. Happy gardening:

JANUARY Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
French Bush Beans (last chance) x
Swedes (last chance) x
Turnips x x x
Shallots/Spring Onions x x
Lettuce (last chance to grow to decent size) x x x
Cauliflower   P to G x
Cabbage  P to G x
Brocolli  P to G x
Cabbage (direct seedlings small style cabbages) x x x
Cauliflower x
Lettuce - last chance before winter                   x x

With an eye to the rest of summer and potential bushfires, remember to clean up around your house - such as creepers and bushes under your eaves and give some thought to your bushfire plan. There is a lot of information at this website:

Best wishes for a fulfilling 2015.