By Jess Baker
Warwick’s main street has been stripped of its shared zone status and is now a 40 kilometres per hour zone.
Southern Downs Regional Council announced the change on Wednesday 21 July, the day after changes to the shared zone signage were completed.
Local residents have expressed concerns with the decision and the council’s seemingly little consultation with those who will be impacted.
Warwick resident Terry Cantrill said the changes at Palmerin Street were “just ridiculous”, especially given the town is currently hosting its biggest festival of the year – Jumpers and Jazz in July.
“I wonder who will be the first little child to get run over when a speeding car comes and they’re crossing at a point where there is an opening at the strip in the middle (of the road) that allows people to cross,” Terry said.
“I just think it’s ridiculous.”
Terry said he thought SDRC would have had to consult the community before replacing the shared zone signs with 40 kilometres per hour speed signs.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the council stated the changes were made because the shared zone signage was “not in keeping with the true meaning of a shared zone”.
“Shared zones are traditionally a roadway that is largely dedicated to no traffic with the exception being delivery vans and emergency vehicles,” read the statement.
“(The) council subsequently reviewed the shared zone signage located in Palmerin Street including the current shared zone signage visible between Fitzroy and Percy streets and a decision was reached that regulatory speed signs indicating a 40 kilometres per hour zone consistent with school zones and other high pedestrian use areas in the region will be installed.”
The council stated “due process” was followed and approval to implement the changes was obtained from the Speed Management Committee.
A SDRC spokesperson said the use of 40 kilometres per hour signage across high pedestrian zones was standard in all major cities and would improve safety for all road users.
“The new 40 kilometres per hour traffic rule is similar to that used by our neighbouring city council Toowoomba in its CBD, and by being consistent with other regions, (SDRC) hopes to ensure that the new traffic rule is top of mind for all road users,” the spokesperson said.
“We thank the community for their feedback on this matter and for assisting (the) council to reach the best outcome for the Warwick CBD.”
The SDRC spokesperson said traffic lights at the corner of Palmerin and Grafton streets would soon be upgraded to newer LED lights, with works expected to be completed on 1 August and 8 August.