SIGNS have been installed at Ormiston where the city’s first Koala Conservation Safe Neighbourhood will be trialled.
The pilot comes after researchers found koalas were active in the Redlands and could benefit from the precinct.
Cr Wendy Boglary said the initiative aimed to reduce key threats to koala survival which were vehicle strikes, dog attacks, habitat loss and disease.
The signs have been installed on Wellington and Sturgeon streets, Ormiston and Starkey Street, Wellington Point, which are the major roads within the Koala Conservation Safe Neighbourhood Precinct.
Cr Boglary said council and Griffith University’s applied road ecology group hoped to change driver behaviour with the signs.
“The experimental design developed by Griffith University includes four flashing variable message signs (two signs with a picture of a koala and two generic signs) which have been installed,” Cr Boglary said.
“The signs flash messages to drivers based on their speed in relation to the posted speed limit on that road.
“Drivers going under the speed limit will get a ‘thank you’ or a smiley face in green.
“Drivers who are approaching the speed limit will get ‘stay alert’ or a smiley face in amber, and drivers who are exceeding the speed limit will get a frowning face with ‘slow down’ or ‘too fast’ in red.”
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Cr Boglary said precincts would be selected on criteria like the existence of a local koala population, evidence of koala strike on roads, and habitat that can support a koala population where land acquisition and habitat rehabilitation can be prioritised.
“The information collected is solely for the purpose of this trial and households in the area will be sent a survey in December for data to measure any change in driving attitudes,” Cr Boglary said.
From October 15, green and yellow markings will be painted on roads and koala conservation zone signs placed on Sturgeon, Starkey and Wellington streets to encourage drivers to be more vigilant.
Sightings of koalas can be reported via the Koala Action Group website koalagroup.asn.au.
Koalas believed to be sick or injured should be reported to 3833 4031.
The Koala Action Group’s annual koala count takes place on October 27 and 28.