Polka dots are an innovative traffic calming treatment – literally painted onto the pavement – proven to reduce driver speeds in areas where there is the potential for conflict between vehicles and pedestrians.

They were installed at three locations in Yarraville in March 2021 as a six-month trial after concerns were raised around potential increased conflict between vehicles and pedestrians following installation of new outdoor dining opportunities in Yarraville Village.

The purpose of the colourful pattern is to attract the driver’s eye encouraging them to slow and approach the space with caution, increasing their awareness of other road users such as the elderly, children, and cyclists.

Research overseas has shown that motorists drive six to seven kilometres an hour slower when they encounter the colourful painted dots. Our trial is designed to understand if those results can be replicated in Maribyrnong to enhance the safety of all road users.

Following initial concerns from some residents around children playing on the polka dots, Council undertook a road safety audit in April, which recommended the additional installation of temporary speed humps, signage and planter boxes to reinforce the boundary between the footpath and the road along Canterbury Street.

These were implemented with signage and temporary speed humps also installed at the other two sites for consistency.

Council also made an application to the Department of Transport (DoT) to turn Ballarat Street into a shared zone for pedestrians and vehicles, reducing speeds and prioritising pedestrians. But, this was not supported.

Given the COVID related delays in the trial evaluation, Council commissioned a road safety audit on the polka dots in October, which has noted the additional measures – including the temporary speed humps and planter boxes installed in April – have mitigated concerns around previous risks to the community and road users.

Council also engaged in a face-to-face conversation with the community at the Yarraville Market in March 2021, where we asked residents about their thoughts around the continuation of the trial if it showed to contribute to road safety. There were a total of 176 responses, with 68% (120 responses) responding 'yes’, 23% (41 responses) responding ‘no’ and 9% (15 responses) responding ‘unsure’.

The polka dots have been installed at:

  • Anderson/Ballarat Street intersection (southern end of the new outdoor dining pop-up park)
  • Canterbury/Ballarat Street intersection (between the old and new pop-up park)
  • Bend of Anderson Street with Willis Street intersection

More information

For more information about the history of the project, visit www.yourcityyourvoice.com.au/polka-dot-roa...