If you’re driving past Beechworth Primary School, the message is loud and clear – SLOW DOWN.
Brightly coloured artwork was installed on surrounding fences and footpaths today as part of the No More Near Misses Project.
The project is a result of a VicRoads Towards Zero Challenge grant to trial ideas at Beechworth Primary along Junction Road to prompt drivers to slow down when traveling through the school zone.
Junction Road has previously been identified by the school community as a safety concern, particularly during drop-off and pick-up times.
Indigo Shire Acting Director of Community and Economic Development, Kate Biglin, said the research phase of the project found that over a nine day period, speed and traffic counters recorded 42% of drivers exceeding the posted speed limit of 40km/h.
To address the problem, Indigo Shire Council was successful in securing the grant from VicRoads to pilot new innovative traffic calming approaches, which involved installing pool noodle sculptures featuring key messages as well as brightly painted panels to demonstrate that the area is child-friendly.
Valli Morphett from Design Jam said, “These installations are really affordable and efficient to deliver and feature great hands-on materials that allow kids to get involved and create outcomes with their own hands.”
“Already the installation is having a high impact and shows how much the local community values this message.”
Beechworth Primary Principal, Susan McDonald, said there have been a number of near misses over the years and the school was excited and grateful for all the hard work that has gone into the artwork installation.
“We are extremely delighted and thankful to the Indigo Shire Council and VicRoads. It’s wonderful to see the work come to fruition, first with the installation of the school crossing and now our artwork message on the fence.”
Principal McDonald said that the installation has not only benefitted the school children but also the wider community.
“We have a number of elderly people who also live in the area who now have a much safer environment in which they can cross the road.”
Further testing will be conducted in the New Year to measure the impact the installations have had on driver behaviour.