There are many examples of neighbourhoods where people have got together to improve road safety and/or make more use of their streets. These range from quick and easy things that individuals can do to some big ideas for big change.
Quick and easy ideas
Some of the simplest ideas can be the most effective. This could include thinking about how we all travel around as well as easy projects that can slow drivers down and make people think more about safety in their neighbourhood.
Thinking about travel in your neighbourhood
- Consider your own options or opportunities to help a neighbour find out about travel options for trips to work or school.
- Get your school to think about active travel options or bike education.
- Your workplace might be interested in how staff get to work.
- Set up a neighbourhood car-pooling club to your local school or town centre or get your school or workplace to sign-up to Adelaide Carpool.
- Arrange a bicycle ride or walk to the local park with another family.
- Create a community map for your neighbours to highlight local places of interest.
Slowing people down
Very simple things that attract people’s interest can slow them down, make them wonder what’s going on, and maybe even join in:
- Decorating trees, adding bows or mobiles for special event days like Christmas.
- Using nearby parks, playgrounds and open space to extend your green space for games, flying kites, exercising or community events.
- Be more visible in your front yard - this could be doing some painting, exercise, dancing or some other creative art in your front yard.
- Moving some chairs onto the footpath and sharing time chatting with friends (but make sure you don’t cause an obstruction).
- Putting surplus fruit in a free box on the footpath.
- Drawing a hopscotch grid in chalk on the footpath and having a game.
Decorating your space
Unique designs on your property’s fences and gates can make your area standout. Check first, but unless there are specific development guidelines for your street you probably won’t need council approval to install your own special design. You would certainly want to talk to your neighbours about any designs and, if they share your enthusiasm, they may make a contribution to your bright idea.
Small projects which affect community space can be effective and may need support or permission from council.
You can achieve a lot with a little bit of planning:
- Painting or decorating your stobie pole - Check out the following link to see examples in the Pt Adelaide-Enfield Council (you will need permission from SA Power Networks phone 131216).
- Developing community posters to raise awareness of street safety.
- Planting herbs, flowers or shrubs on the verge.
- Decorative fencing or unusual artwork in your front yard.
If your project is on public land you will need to contact your local council and could be required to provide an outline of your project, including what it is about, who it affects and what it is hoping to achieve. We have two downloadable templates to help you out. The first is an Ideas Planner that gives you a chance to think through different solutions. The second is an Action Planner. This takes you through some more specific tasks that are likely to be needed to turn your ideas into action.
Changing the way we use our neighbourhoods
Neighbourhood events, street art, and gateways all change how we use road space can help people understand what’s possible. These projects often require changes in regulations (if only for a short time) and therefore are likely to need permission from council’s planning department or land owners.
Street art and furniture
Street art extends the idea of one-off decoration to create longer term eye-catching and unique areas that let those passing through gain a sense of your community. Art work can include free standing sculptures, road surface painting, specially designed gates, fences and bus shelters, wall and fence painting. Street furniture adds an additional dimension, often providing physical elements for people to interact with, or just sit and enjoy the space.
Traffic controls, street-scaping or engineering design, represent significant costs and the need for
‘Gateways’ show that you are entering a special space, whether it’s a suburb, shopping area or a residential street. They range from artwork on the road or footpath, small theme-based entrances to large archways. A Gateway will require discussions with a council planning officer. See our Action Planner for the kind of information you might need.
Engineering treatments include roundabouts, speed bumps, road narrowing, footpath widening, chicanes, long term road closures and the installation of bollards. Redesigning major roads and changing the use of space can have very positive effects - actually helping traffic to flow more smoothly. While the design and installation work is done by professionals, anyone can put forward a good idea!
While engineering works slow traffic down, drivers tend to speed up between treatments on local roads. Just wait for a while near a chicane or roundabout and you’ll soon see what happens! Road users also change routes to avoid roads with treatments, using other local roads as short cuts between arterials. Engineering treatments therefore need to be very carefully planned to ensure that they don't exacerbate the problem they are trying to solve and are completed by local and/or state government.
Neighbourhoods can be planned so that people can easily walk or cycle for travel purposes resulting in healthier lifestyles and more social neighbourhoods. The SA Active Living Coalition’s resource Healthy by Design SA and Streets for People: Compendium for South Australian Practice lead the way in assisting planners, urban designers and related professionals to design healthy urban environments that enable people to make healthy lifestyle choices and, in particular, to incorporate incidental physical activity.
Traffic controls and signage
Traffic controls regulate our road users using speed advisory signs, speed cameras and red light cameras at intersections. Australian Road Rules (both national and state by-laws as explained in The Drivers Handbook) control the ways that people (drivers, bike riders, walkers, etc.) use the road environment. Any request for controls in your area such as reducing speed limits will need to be discussed with your council’s planning department.