A Western Australian council has come under fire over their unorthodox methods to try and keep motorists calm.
Rather than your traditional speedhumps or roundabouts, the City of Stirling council opted to go in a different direction when 242 local residents raised their concerns about heavy traffic and speeding around the streets of Innaloo.
Over a two-year period, the council unrolled a trial that saw 40 odd trees, described as traffic calming devices, planted on the roads around the Innaloo area – a concept that City of Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin insists has been well received.
“The aim of the project is to encourage drivers to adopt lower speeds, discourage non-local through traffic, reduce the speed and volume of traffic using the residential streets, and provide more walkable pedestrian and bike riding areas,” Mr Irwin told Yahoo7 News.
“The reaction of residents to the project has been positive. Anecdotal feedback is that the project has been successful in reducing speeds, reducing volumes (particularly non-local ‘rat-running’ traffic) and improving the amenity of the precinct.”
Social media reactions however tell a different story.
When an image of an isolated tree, situated in the centre of the left lane began circulating online this week, Facebook users were left asking the question: “Are you kidding me?”
“City of Stirling have gone stark raving mad. Obviously too much money & time on their hands. Bloody pathetic,” one Perth motorist wrote.
“Wouldn’t a slowdown sign do the same thing and been a lot safer?,” another man questioned.
“This is a bloody death trap,” another wrote.
“What on earth is calming about this?”
Mr Irwin said given the project is still in its trial period it’s not known whether the trees will become a permanent fixture but said council also hadn’t ruled out expanding it to other locations.
“Comparison of pre and post installation traffic surveys undertaken at nine different locations within the precinct have shown an average of a 10% reduction in traffic flows and 13% reduction in travel speeds,” Mr Irwin said.
“Consideration may be given in implementing this type of project at other suitable locations.”
He said there has been a small number of instances where the trees and bollards have been vandalised.