Coffin left in suburban street disgusts neighbours
THEY have security cameras all over their house pointing on to the street, displayed signs shaming drivers caught speeding and have now decided to put a coffin in the middle of the street to make their point.
Speeding and using their suburban backstreet as a rat-run to Griffith University has been an issue, but the latest stunt by the Parker family of Algona St, Holland Park West, has the tranquil neighbourhood up in arms.
Some say it is in poor taste given the timing, with coronavirus death rates shocking the world; others just don't like being confronted with a coffin every time they return home and the fact a funeral parlour is down the road makes the protest even harder to accept.
The coffin appeared before Easter in a trailer parked on the road with a T-junction warning sign behind it.
Mechanic's shop owner Allen Parker made the coffin as a protest after a lucky escape in April when a car collided into the open door of his tow truck outside his home.
His wife Kylie said it was the last straw for Allen who, along with other residents in the street, had been calling for traffic calming for years.
"He nearly got killed," she said. "He was standing on the road about to hop in it when the driver came along. He managed to jump in just in time."
Traffic calming in surrounding streets and changes to traffic lights near the Southeast Freeway in the past two years have channelled traffic into the once quiet Algona St.
Mrs Parker said speeding had become such an issue someone had to take a stand before someone died.
She said they had given information to police to stop serial speeding offenders, had asked police to do radar traps in the street and had complained to local councillor Krista Adams.
"Allen put the coffin there because he's saying someone is going to end up in a coffin if something is not done about the speeding," Mrs Parker said.
"There is a whole lot of speeding happening. They are cutting the corners.
"We can't leave our kids outside without one of us being there because they'll get run down. Cars come flying around, cutting the two corners.
"All we want with the coffin is for people to be safe. We've had a lot of people slow down and look at it so it's slowing down some of them."
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Algona St resident Brad Lyons said the coffin was well intentioned, but "a bit off".
"I don't want to look at a coffin every night I come home," he said.
"My first impression was it was in bad taste with the COVID-19 stuff going on.
"Ultimately he's trying to do the right thing by the street because he's trying to get everyone to slow down."
Other neighbours, who asked for their names not to be published, were not as forgiving.
One referred to Mr Parker as the "street policeman", saying the cameras were invasive and that he regularly made noise complaints as well as complaints about speeding.
Holland Park Councillor, Deputy Mayor Krista Adams, said she had received a complaint about the coffin and she believed it was not appropriate.
"I do not condone people taking matters into their own hands and believe the coffin display is not appropriate," she said.
Cr Adams said she had proposed multiple solutions to the residents in Algona St over many years, including speed safety signs and no-right turn signs during peak hours.
"Through consultation with the community, none of these options have received strong support from these residents and therefore have not been pursued further," she said.
Council completed a traffic survey on Algona St following a resident request in 2016 and the survey found about 370 vehicles used the road each day at an average speed of 35.4 kmh within the 50 kmh zone.
"These results suggested traffic calming was not needed," Cr Adams said.
"Safety on Algona St is something I continue to monitor and speak with residents about."
As for the coffin, Cr Adams has advised the resident who complained about it to contact the police.
Originally published as Coffin left in suburban street disgusts neighbours