AIDA community surveys over decades show strong support for the ‘rural’ nature of our roads. The quiet, serene, village character of the Aireys district is partly reinforced by the way we balance what could be competing uses of roadsides and the roads themselves.
On our residential streets, whether paved or unpaved, the life (and movement) of townsfolk happens at a leisurely pace, prioritising social connection and the experience of being out in nature.
Of course, streets are used by cars, but in ‘our place’ vehicles share their movement with walkers and joggers and bicycle riders, with people pushing prams and leading dogs, with ducklings and kangaroos crossing. Cars are expected to allow time and space for people to engage in conversation as they move about, or to greet others over fences; that time and space even allows for people in cars to pull over and engage with pedestrians through lowered windows; other vehicles are expected to politely and slowly pass by.
This pattern of life on our ‘non-urban’ residential streets is, for many residents, part of the visual image they have of home. If that were true BC (before Covid) then it is likely to be even more so now.
But life on our streets is not all rosy. Traffic on the Great Ocean Road through Aireys has always been at odds with ‘sharing roads’. Only a speed reduction from 80 to 60 suggests this is a residential area. Problems with the thoroughfare that divides the town (particularly in peak season) have been of recurring concern. Other ‘entries’ to the town – Distillery Creek and Bambra roads for example – are also (at times) ‘pinch points’ for our community street character.
Traffic management in the Surf Coast, visitation of the Great Ocean Road tourist precinct, planning and investment in walking and bicycle tracks, are being considered in government programs at the moment. In its role as an advocate for the Aireys district, AIDA needs to hear from its members, and as widely as possible from residents and visitors, about their views and experiences on all the dimensions of ‘safer sharing of roads’. A survey on this is live and we need as many voices as possible. Please complete and circulate to friends in and around town.