By Tyler Wright
There are renewed calls for electronic speed signs on Kallista-Emerald Road outside Kallista Primary School, with fears for student safety.
Concerned parent Jason Fox launched a petition on 1 February urging Yarra Ranges Council to install illuminated 40 km/h safety signs near the school crossing.
“I tried to get [electronic signs] years ago, [in] 2016, for the school, my three kids were there, and just watching these cars speed past and the near misses; I campaigned and did a petition back in 2016… they promised in the election and they got put on in 2018 on Monbulk Road, but not the front of the school where all the crossings are,“ Mr Fox said.
“I thought I might as well get going again, it’s my child’s last year at primary school. I’ve been going for it quietly for a couple of years, emailing occasionally, but I thought I’ll push it up again.“
“All the parents of that down there at the school, and the kinder as well [are calling for illuminated signs] because they use that crossing, and some of them go across to the school for after school care.“
The Department of Transport and Planning confirmed it is aware of four other injury crashes, where an ambulance has attended for minor injuries, but no one was admitted to hospital for treatment, at the intersection of Monbulk Road and Kallista-Emerald Road in the five years between July 2018 and June 2023.
The department said it plays a key role in ensuring speed limits are consistent and appropriate in line with the state’s Speed Zoning Policy and Technical Guidelines, which set out the requirements for electronic speed limit signs.
Electronic speed limit signs are used when there is a change of 30 km/h change in speed or greater, according to the department, or on roads with a 20 km/h change in speed and high traffic volumes, which amounts to more than 20,000 vehicles per day, or between 10,000 and 20,000 in some circumstances.
The guidelines do not prevent Yarra Ranges Council installing illuminated speed signs on Kallista-Emerald Road, the department said.
In 2016, electronic variable speed limit signs were installed at The Patch Primary School – on the same road as Kallista Primary School – as part of a $593,000 funding package which also included the installation of speed limit signs at Mount Dandenong Primary School.
Mr Fox expressed his disappointment that electronic signs were only installed on one side of the school, and not the side where the school crossing is located.
He said the current signs on Kallista-Emerald Road are on bends, hidden by other signs and tree foliage.
“Also with the regular poor weather and visibility in the area, it also makes the signs hard to see, where lights, you can’t miss,” he said.
“They also give a reminder of a school zone.“
Director of Built Environment and Infrastructure at Yarra Ranges Council, Hjalmar Philipp, said the council is “aware of a community petition to install illuminated speed signs near Kallista Primary School”.
“Our approach to installing illuminated speed signs is guided by visibility limitations imposed by the geography of the road or the location, for example where visibility is significantly compromised,” Mr Philipp said.
“The school’s location, near a major roundabout, is characterised by a slow-speed environment for vehicles approaching and leaving the roundabout.
“Additionally, the visibility for drivers approaching the school on the straight section of the road is adequate.”
While the council will “continue to work” with school communities to “improve safety where possible,” Mr Philipp said there are currently “no plans” to install illuminated signs at the location.
Monbulk MP Daniela De Martino said “road safety around schools is paramount, which is why our State Government installed illuminated speed signs on our state road, Monbulk Road, outside of Kallista Primary school, and it is why we will also be installing them on our state road outside of Gembrook Primary School“.
“Kallista-Emerald Road in Kallista is a council road, so the installation of illuminated speed signs is a matter for Yarra Ranges Council,“ Ms De Martino said.
“I would encourage Council to continue monitoring traffic along here to evaluate the need for illuminated speed signs.
“I would also encourage anyone aware of speeding vehicles or dangerous driving to report these matters to Victoria Police via the Police Assistance Line 131 444 or if someone is in immediate danger, to contact 000.”
To view Mr Fox’s petitIon, visit change.org/p/install-illuminated-40-km-h-safety-signs-outside-kallista-primary-school
Yarra Ranges Council has been contacted for comment.