Residents at busy Aussie beach fume over council's move: 'Ludicrous'

Residents are asking why council would do this at one of Australia's busiest beaches.

Residents of a busy beachside suburb in Sydney have vented their frustrations at new traffic control measures introduced last week, describing the move as "ludicrous".

Up to 14 concrete blocks, or median islands, are being installed along the beachfront in Manly, on Sydney's northern beaches, but locals argue they are "pointless" and even "dangerous".

The reason for the concrete islands was to reinforce the newly introduced 30km/h speed limit and help protect pedestrians, the Northern Beaches Council explained to Yahoo News. They said "lowering the speed of the traffic will reduce the severity of any accidents" and the concrete blocks would help to narrow the travel lane, further reducing the speed of vehicles.

Concrete median islands installed by council in Manly.
The concrete median islands in Manly were installed by council to help reduce the speed of cars to keep pedestrians safe. Source: Facebook

Fierce backlash from Manly residents

Although intended as a safety measure with the support of Transport of NSW, residents have complained the blocks themselves are a hazard and in less than a week, have already caused problems along the busy North and South Steyne roads.

Placed in the centre of the road, the islands have made it difficult for vehicles to access parking spots along the beachfront. Some residents have already complained of punctured tyres and damage to their cars after attempting to reverse only to hit the concrete block — which are said to be high with square edges — behind them.

"Whoever decided to do this rubbish at council needs to be sacked on the spot. How stupid is this? What purpose does it serve?" one person raged on Facebook sharing another post on Sunday. The post was accompanied by two videos showing a car trying to reverse out of a parking spot.

"Can you believe council would build these little concrete blocks every hundred metres along the beach, no one can back out as these videos show and I watch others back straight over them earlier in the day. Dumb decision," the caption reads.

Others say the concrete blocks are "really dangerous", especially at night when they're harder to see. They've also been labelled "ludicrous," and "rim destroying obstacles" with the installation described as "madness" and "utterly stupid" by others. People say cars are being forced to reverse into oncoming traffic just to navigate around them.

Councillor David Walton said said he "saw a car hit one just south of the Queenscliff Bridge, bursting the tyre". "I've asked for the risk of the new traffic conditions to be looked at immediately," he said on Thursday. Also responding to resident concerns on Facebook, Councillor Stuart Sprott said they seem "totally unnecessary to me".

Council responses to public uproar over concrete blocks

Despite the concerns, Northern Beaches Council had argued "parking spaces will not be affected", and that those spaces impacted will be marked for "small cars only".

But responding to the uproar from residents, council on Friday announced it has now stopped work on installing the remaining blocks.

"While these works are important safety measures, Council has received feedback from the community wanting more information," Northern Beaches CEO, Ray Brownlee said. "So no further work, other than finishing line markings and signposting, will be taking place until a review of the effectiveness of the traffic calming measures is undertaken.

Locals said the new concrete blocks make it hard to move in and out of car spaces along the Manly beachfront. Source: Facebook
Locals said the new concrete blocks make it hard to move in and out of car spaces along the Manly beachfront. Source: Facebook

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