Speed limit cuts and rewards for low-emission trucks travelling through the inner west have been put on the table as part of a rare alliance.
Trucking industry body the Victorian Transport Association and community group Maribyrnong Truck Action Group have been working on a new plan to improve air quality and road safety on streets in Footscray and Yarraville.
Under the Maribyrnong Cleaner Freight Initiative, being reviewed by Roads Minister Luke Donnellan, existing truck curfews would be adjusted to give greater access to newer trucks with cleaner engines and better safety features.
Trucks without the newer low-emission Euro 5-compliant engines would face extended curfews on key routes, including Moore Street in Footscray and Francis Street and Somerville Road in Yarraville.
The plan would also see overnight and weekend curfews introduced on parts of Williamstown Road in Yarraville and Buckley Street in Footscray.
All of the routes would be subject to a new 50km/h speed limit, a move already backed by Maribyrnong council but rejected by VicRoads to date.
Operators of dangerous goods-placarded vehicles would be required to display highly-reflective tape to increase visibility.
MTAG president Samantha McArthur said the initiative was “a huge leap forward” in finding solutions agreeable to both sides, which have a history of conflict over inner-west trucks.
“MTAG and the community have been calling out for measures to modernise the trucks in our area for years,” she said.
“This initiative will, for the first time in Victoria, start to initiate this much-needed change.”
VTA chief executive Peter Anderson said the community would benefit from trucks being replaced by younger, more efficient fleets operated by drivers who have had specialist training covering local freight routes.
The plan would also provide productivity gains for accredited operators.
“This visionary plan we have developed with MTAG addresses the safety and environmental concerns of residents and equips drivers with a specific skills-set for operating in residential communities,” Mr Anderson said.
“Productivity gains accredited operators will receive from having longer access to curfewed roads will offset criteria they will have to meet to qualify.”