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Locals continue campaign to get trucks off their streets

Residents in Melbourne’s inner west have pushed on with their fight to try and get trucks off their residential streets, with new signage and traffic management cameras announced for the area as the debate rages on.

The local community group, Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) has been campaigning to reduce the numbers of trucks on its residential streets – as B-doubles and A-doubles (or “monster 32m long road trains” as they have put it) continue to travel through their streets.

And it’s a debate that’s been going on for some time, with the Victorian Ombudsman stepping in and joining the debate last year.

Once the $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel is complete, the government has pledged strict curfews throughout the neighbourhood – but it’s not due for completion until 2025.

The Victorian Government says the West Gate Tunnel Project will take over 9000 trucks a day off local streets and prevent an additional 5000 trucks from taking “rat runs” to avoid the West Gate Freeway.

It says it will introduce 24-hour truck bans on six local roads when the project is completed:

  • Francis Street – between Roberts Street and Hyde Street.
  • Somerville Road – between Geelong Road and Whitehall Street.
  • Buckley Street and part of Napier Street – between Geelong Road and Whitehall Street.
  • Moore Street – between Ballarat Road and Hopkins Street.
  • Hudsons Road – between Melbourne Road and Booker Street.
  • Blackshaws Road – between Grieve Parade and Melbourne Road.

MTAG has had several meetings with various ministers and trucking bodies, the most recent of which involved the Victorian Transport Association, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Freight Victoria, Maribyrnong Council, Minister for Roads Ben Carroll MP and Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne MP.

The outcome of these meetings includes $350,000 of state government funding for traffic management cameras.

Delivered by the Department of Transport, the cameras will be used to capture traffic on key routes where legislated trucks curfews and limits have been put in place.

Signage will also be added to routes within the area, including on Somerville Road, which MTAG says will alert drivers “that A and B-doubles are banned on this road.”

An updated guide for truck drivers using the area will also be published.

“We acknowledge these aren’t huge steps forward, but at least they are positive and tangible initiatives. Any step forward is very welcome,” said MTAG.

President of MTAG, Martin Wurt, also recently told the Herald Sun that the group had applied for a grant to buy masks for residents to protect them from diesel pollution caused by an increase in trucks. The request was however denied.

While anti-truck advocates in the area like MTAG want to see trucks off their residential streets, many truckies have taken to the group’s Facebook page to hit back.

“Running A-doubles down Somerville road should cut truck volumes by 50 per cent… The problem you have is with the drivers, not the trucks… Same as a serial complainant in Rocklea… using his solution, truck volumes and noise have now increased by 50 per cent. He complains of B Doubles, now we do 2 trips into the warehouse instead of 1,” wrote Trevor Warner.

“But you will start to complain when there’s no toilet paper to hoard. How about we give the truckies a bit of a break. Most of us have worked thru the whole pandemic making sure the shelves have stock and freight keeps moving, endured hours of sitting at borders, getting swabs shoved up our nose once every 72hrs. How about instead of snapping a photo of them driving past give them a wave and a smile, get your kids to do the horn signal because 95% of drivers would love an excuse to sound their horn and put a smile on a kids face,” commented Dylan Estreich.

While John L Kuriger offered another possible solution, “The most effective way to reduce trucks is to never buy anything that was moved on a truck. They would all go broke very quickly. End of trucks. So simple really.”

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