A win for North Melbourne Primary School as government agrees to 40km/h speed limit on Curzon St

Sean Car

Thanks to persistent advocacy from the North Melbourne Primary School (NMPS) community, the state government has confirmed it will reduce the speed limit on Curzon St/Harker St from 60 km/h to 40km/h during school hours.

The news represents a huge win for the school community and the North & West Melbourne Association (NWMA), which together have lobbied strongly to the government since the opening of NMPS’s new Molesworth St campus in May last year.

The journey between the school’s two campuses in Errol St and Molesworth St requires crossing Curzon St/Harker St, a busy arterial road managed by the state government designated as a section of the Princes Hwy/A60, linking Flemington Rd and King St.

In July last year, North West City News spoke to concerned parents who voiced alarm over unsafe road conditions along Curzon St/Harker St, which they believed were putting lives at risk. The parents group launched a petition calling on authorities to act.

“It’s inadequate – we want the speed limit dropped to 40km/h” one parent said last year.

And in July, parents finally received the news they have been waiting on for more than a year, with the government confirming to North West City News that planning was under way to reduce speed limits along the busy road during school hours.

“We’re making it safer for North Melbourne Primary students to walk to and from school thanks to the Allan and Albanese Labor Governments’ investment in road safety upgrades across the state,” a Victorian Government spokesperson said.


Electronic speed limit signs will be installed along Curzon St between Flemington Rd and Arden St, which will reduce the speed limit from 60km/h to 40km/h during school hours.


The government said the project was being jointly funded through this year’s $120 million Road Safety Program, which is delivering road safety upgrades across 24 sites across Victoria.

While no specific dates have been provided by the government as to when the changes will be implemented along Curzon St, it said that it would keep the community updated on the project as it progressed.

NMPS principal Sarah Nightingale said the speed limit reduction was “a welcome change for the NMPS community, and the wider North Melbourne community.”

“This is something we as a school community have been hoping for, and our school council has been actively lobbying for, since our junior campus opened on Molesworth St 12 months ago,” Ms Nightingale said.

“Curzon St is a main walking path between our two campuses and reducing the speed limit will help to ensure our students, families and staff are safe while walking between the two sites on a daily basis.”

NWMA spokesperson Mary Masters said it was “thrilled to have played a role supporting the NMPS community advocate for a new 40km school speed zone.”

“Congratulations to all the community members and school stakeholders who also worked to achieve this change,” Ms Master said. “And our thanks also to the team at Hyperlocal News [publisher of North West City News] for keeping issues such as this on the public agenda.”

“Now that the government has reviewed the need for this safety measure, we will keep the pressure on to make sure it is delivered as soon as possible.”

Ms Masters added that while reducing the speed zone along Curzon St had been its “immediate priority to improve school safety,” the NWMA was now calling on the City of Melbourne to make further improvements in surrounding streets.

Concerned parents continue to lobby the council, which manages all other streets located between the two school campuses, “to further improve accessibility and safety”.

While it has already completed a number of upgrades along Abbotsford St, North West City News understands that the council is now exploring new raised zebra crossings on Molesworth St at Harker St, as well as a crossing on Errol St (near Haines St) and another at Murphy St near Chapman St Reserve.

However, many in the school community are calling on the council to consider further traffic calming and pedestrianisation measures to be explored along Haines St, which provides the main conduit between the two campuses.

A council spokesperson didn’t respond to a question by North West City News as to whether it was exploring further safety upgrades along Haines St, but only said it was working on “potential options” around Curzon St and NMPS.

“The City of Melbourne is working to ensure consistent 40km/h speed limits across the inner city,” a council spokesperson said. “Since 2017, council has rolled out 40km/h speed limits in eight neighbourhoods – helping to reduce crashes and improve safety for all road users.”  

“We’re working with the Victorian Government on potential options for reduced speed limits and improved safety around Curzon St and NMPS.”

While the community awaits information from the council regarding potential options, one local parent and architect has taken it upon himself to reimagine Haines St as a greener and more pedestrian-friendly connection between the two campuses.

Jamie Sormann of Fooman Architects recently presented his idea for a “North Melbourne Primary School Accessible Corridor” as part of the IRREGULAR festival hosted by the North & West Melbourne Precinct Association at the Meat Market in May.

The plan outlines four key improvements to Haines and Moleworth streets, including realigning the road to provide wider footpaths and installing a raised crossing at Curzon St/Harker St.

It also identifies an opportunity to create a new triangular pocket park at the intersection of Haines and Harker streets and suggests that car parks lost in this area could be replaced in the central median strip.

Mr Sormann said simply resurfacing and slowing speeds to 40km/h along Haines St was a “really low benchmark”, and that there was an “opportunity to do a whole lot more and create something really positive”.


“Considering how many hundreds of kids and their parents track between the two campuses most days of the year, to me it feels like it would be a real waste if it just became resurfaced and speed limits reduced,” he said.


“We’re not experts in urban design, and we’ll really use our document to identify the areas that need attention. It needs further expertise as another overlay to really pull it together.”

“That [reduced speed limits on Curzon St] really isn’t enough. That’s why we proposed to raise the crossing, so cars are really forced to slow down over the speed hump, and it really gives priority to pedestrians.”

“The actual surface and space available to pedestrians along Haines and Molesworth streets is too narrow. There are a couple of kids in wheelchairs at North Melbourne Primary and the footpaths just don’t provide universal access.” •

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