A Melbourne council’s bid to improve road safety by painting massive polka dots on streets is instead dangerously luring children out onto the road, locals say.
More than 250 people have signed a petition to have the colourful polka dots removed after Maribyrnong Council painted the spots on Anderson Street in Yarraville last week.
Mayor Michael Clarke said the move was part of a “traffic calming initiative”.
“When you’ve got big circles like this … instead of a driver just driving down the street, almost at times in a bit of a torpor, the colours and the brightness actually create a bit of a neural stimulation, and the first response is the driver slows down,” he told 3AW.
“I’ve already had some feedback from one of the restaurateurs there … it does look like cars are slowing down in response to the polka dots.”
But the petition calling for the polka dots to be removed mentions there has been “several near misses of children almost being run over by cars on the busy Yarraville village streets”.
“Some local parents have outlined several situations of their children running onto the road, before they could be stopped, and almost being hit by oncoming traffic,” it read.
“There have even been videos published online of children who seen playing on the polka dots, right in the middle of the road, hopping around and having fun – putting both drivers and themselves at risk of harm.
“The children are lured onto the road thinking the colourful, playful and schoolyard-like appearance of the polka dots are an opportunity to play.”
But Cr Clarke maintained it was a problem the council considered before installing the dots.
“I actually put that question to the grade sixes at St Margaret’s Primary School in Maribyrnong, and all 41 kids were very clear that they wouldn’t run onto the road just to look at circles,” he said.
Maribyrnong Council has been contacted for comment.