Frustrations grow over beachside council’s ‘useless’ move on busy road

The planter box, which normally houses a tree, if often left without one in it causing problems for drivers who often crash into the blocks.

Cement blocks are seen at Coogee beach front in two split images. There's meant to be a tree in between the blocks, which council says vandals destroyed.
A 'planter box' designed to house a tree in the left-hand lane on a busy Sydney road repeatedly causes accidents, locals say. Source: Facebook

Frustrated Aussies living in an affluent beachside suburb have renewed pleas to their local council to remove a planter box from one of the area's busiest roads, deeming the installation "useless".

They claim the "dangerous" box, which is designed to house a tree but currently sits vacant, is comprised of two concrete blocks on the corners of Arden Street and Coogee Bay Road in Coogee, and repeatedly damages vehicles driven by confused locals "trying to turn in the congested left lane".

Drivers say they regularly mount the blocks, hit the tree — that sometimes is and sometimes is not in place — subsequently damaging their cars. The issue regularly resurfaces in Coogee, in Sydney's east, having been the subject of intense debate earlier this year.

Council workers are seen planting a tree at the spot on Coogee beachfront earlier this year in two side-by-side images.
A tree was replanted earlier this year in the spot, but council says vandals destroyed it. Source: Supplied

Back then, many members of the community came forward to criticise the box's positioning, questioning why council considered the left-hand lane on a busy beachfront road a suitable position for a tree. When asked by Yahoo at the time, a Randwick City spokesperson said removing the blocks wasn't "an option" because "trees add a lot of value to an urban environment".

They said the blocks acted as a wheel stop for the parking spots directly in front of it, and it's a tree surround for where a tree once stood.

But locals say it's unsafe, with a Coogee man claiming he'd personally heard of a total of "three cars that have smashed" into the blocks this week alone.

"And that’s just what I’ve heard while working at the cafe," the man said. "I wonder when they’ll actually do the right thing and get rid of them? And open up the left turning lane to free up traffic congestion.

"Oh yeah, and save the undercarriage of a few cars a week."

When we published our report in January, the tree box was empty, though photos of council staff planting a new one surfaced later that month.

Now, it's emerged that the box is sitting empty once again, reigniting calls to have the blocks removed.

"This waste of money is the gift that keeps on giving! Please Randwick City Council, remove this. It’s unnecessary and annoying," one woman said online. "It doesn’t make sense to keep something that does more harm than good."

Cement blocks are seen at Coogee beach front in two split images. There's meant to be a tree in between the blocks.
The blocks, located in Coogee in Sydneys east, have been criticised by locals who say they're dangerous. Source: Facebook

Yahoo News Australia asked Randwick City Council on Thursday if their stance on the matter had changed. In response, a spokesperson said the latest tree had been "vandalised" and will be replaced "as a priority".

The spokesperson did not respond to questions regarding community complaints.

Earlier, the City told Yahoo, "Trees add a real sense of place and a presence. A better solution might be if people just didn't hit the tree in the first place".

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