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Dooring St Traffic Lights

By dtc - 21 November 2009 45

The ACT Government has announced new traffic lights at the intersection of Wakefield Avenue and Dooring Street in Dickson at a cost of  $822,000 (adjacent to the ABC’s Canberra Studio), with reports of 74 crashes at the intersection between 2003 and 2007.

I drive past this intersection most days and it is certainly dangerous – the view lines are atrocious.

But can someone tell me why anyone needs to travel down Dooring St? There is nothing there, it’s just houses. Why are people turning right from Wakefield into Dooring St, or staying on Dooring by crossing right over Wakefield (when driving in the direction of Dickson to Civic)?

From what I can tell, 90%+ of the people doing this are just rat running, avoiding Northbourne Ave (or Limestone) by going through the suburbs. Sure there are a few residents, but not many.

Further, we now have 4 sets of traffic lights within about 200m (Macarthur/Wattle; Macarthur/Northbourne; Wakefield/Dooring and Wakefield/Limestone). Traffic already backs because the lights are not in sync, so you end up sitting through 2 sets of green lights because the lights in front of you are still red.

Why haven’t they simply installed either a ‘no right turn’ into Dooring, or a ‘no right turn during peak hours’? Would that have seriously affected anyone, apart from costing the rat runners an extra 2 minutes?

Am I wrong?

What’s Your opinion?

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45 Responses to
Dooring St Traffic Lights
Simo 10:33 pm 21 Nov 09

I like the idea of people taking different routes to the same destination.

– It spreads the traffic out so we’re not all using the same congested roads.

– I despise the whole ‘No right turn between 7am – 7pm. I live on the north side and often drive through Lyneham to get into the city. All those no right turn rules on Mouat St means everyone is taking the same route. Annoying and congested grrrr!

– If you live in the inner city area and don’t like people driving through your
street in the mornings then don’t live in the inner city.

– If it’s a balckspot maybe a roundabout would be better, roundabouts save us a lot of travelling time because we’re not waiting at lights all the time.

– Why should we just use the main arterial roads? I drive a sporty car and like the winding roads around the suburbs, it’s much better than sitting at lights all morning. And I don’t speed so don’t tell me to take it to a track day if I want to drive like that.

Thanks for listening.

RatsNest 6:47 pm 21 Nov 09

Something really needed to be done to reduce the danger of that intersection, I see near misses there nearly every day. Traffic lights are probably the worst thing that could have been done but the easiest for the govt.

I reckon a roundabout would be the most effective fix to the problems but adding a roundabout would be difficult given the confined space, thus Cafs idea would have to be one of the better options. Shame the govt couldn’t see that.

tidalik 5:27 pm 21 Nov 09

Caf’s idea sounds the most effective to me. It could be argued that putting in traffic lights only serves to legitimise rat-running routes because the routes are made a little bit safer for people choosing to go that way.

I prefer one-way streets and physical barriers to slow down traffic in inner north suburbs.

f300 4:53 pm 21 Nov 09

They are building an 8 story apartment complex next to the ABC there on Dooring St. This will certainly be one of the reasons for the traffic lights.

c9 3:25 pm 21 Nov 09

More traffic lights in Canberra. Is this any suprise?

caf 2:33 pm 21 Nov 09

This was announced some time ago, and the roadworks have already started.

Living near there, I actually do use that turn – both crossing Wakefield and turning across Wakefield into Dooring. Something definitely needed to be done, but I think lights are probably not going to work well – there’s already a lot of queuing along Wakefield. I reckon it’d be better off putting a solid concrete barrier down the middle of Wakefield – and I say that as someone who’d be (slightly) inconvenienced by it.

Punter 2:12 pm 21 Nov 09

The “no right turn 7a – 9a” signs or similar have been tried before with minimal success. Before the upgrade to Tharwa Drive, Conder there was a similar sign prohibiting cars from turning right off Box Hill Ave onto Richardson Cct, cutting through to the intersection of Mentone View and Tharwa Dve (this sign may still be in place). The problem here was peak traffic flow along Tharwa Drive was interupted having to give way to the ‘rat runners’ entering the roundabout at the intersection of Tharwa Drive and Mentone View. This ‘soloution’ was largely ignored by motorists who continued to cut through the suburb against the sign. It may be argued Police should conrtol the abuse of these signs but this will draw them away from other, more important duties. I agree with the lights.

el 1:01 pm 21 Nov 09

And, I forgot to mention the more obvious and advantageous run – Heading south to Civic (say, from Downer/Watson) you can jump off Northbourne by turning left at the first big set of lights in Dickson (Mouat on your right, Antill on your left), and only encounter one small set of traffic lights (either of Mort/Lonsdale Streets in Braddon) the whole way to get you smack bang in the middle of Civic (Bunda St).

Certainly beats the 6/7 sets you face if you stick to Northbourne, even adding one extra set at the hellish Dooring/Wakefield intersection.

el 12:52 pm 21 Nov 09

I tend to agree with you – a ‘No right turn between 7AM-7PM’ or similar would fix part of the problem, but only part of the problem – the most dangerous part is people trying to jump across Wakefield from Braddon -> Dickson and vice versa.

This is a popular rat run (I used to do it every day myself) for good reason – you get no traffic lights all the way from the very start of Braddon to Dickson shops instead of half a dozen on Northbourne or 2/3 sets going up Limestone.

I-filed 12:49 pm 21 Nov 09

There are lots of older residents in that part of Dickson between Dara and Wakefield, so it’s probably a good idea to have lights there…

Spectra 12:38 pm 21 Nov 09

From what I can tell, 90%+ of the people doing this are just rat running

And you’re basing this on what exactly? Following people and doing a statistical analysis?

You’ve ignored the minor detail that there’s a number of office buildings along Lowanna St, at least two or three of which have carparks not accessible from Northbourne. Sure, those people could go all the way up to Ipima St and turn around, but they have as much right to go via Dooring St as anyone else.

Sure there are a few residents, but not many.

I’d conjecture that that large apartment block on the corner in question contains more than “a few” residents by itself.

vg 12:19 pm 21 Nov 09

“But can someone tell me why anyone needs to travel down Dooring St? There is nothing there, it’s just houses. Why are people turning right from Wakefield into Dooring St, or staying on Dooring by crossing right over Wakefield (when driving in the direction of Dickson to Civic)?”

Because they live there Einstein.

Punter 11:08 am 21 Nov 09

I don’t think you’re completely wrong DTC, but I think that intersection needs more than a sign saying no right turn. The crashes at this intersection usually result from drivers either turning into Dooring off Wakefield or off Dooring onto Wakefield. There are visibility problems for cars approaching this intersection from Majura. Placing a sign won’t stop people making the turn and possibly crashing, it will only make them liable after the fact which won’t reduce crashes (and people will continue to ‘rat run’). Installing traffic lights will give more protection to vehicles turning off Dooring and more warning to cars driving west on Wakefield that cars are turning out. As long as it incorporates a right turning lane off Wakefield for west bound cars, it would be an improvement. I think the cost is well spent if it makes the intersection safer.

Perhaps a raised median down Wakefield may be a cost effective soloution.

grundy 11:06 am 21 Nov 09

This is a good move!
I saw too many crashes there, and almost had a few hits myself because idiot drivers fly over that blind hill faster than the 60kph limit trying to make the green/orange lights at Northbourne…

Definitely the right move here.

Skyring 10:38 am 21 Nov 09

This is a critical part of the alternate route from Civic to Dickson. Northbourne Avenue is one long string of traffic lights, and Limestone/Majura Avenues aren’t much better, as well as being longer.

At peak hours, the intersection is best avoided, but for most of the evening, when I drive a taxi, it represents an excellent route to quickly traverse the Northside.

Adding traffic lights slows traffic down even more. And guarantees that traffic will increase through the intersection, because it removes the disincentive to travel north-south along Dooring Street, namely that without lights the intersection is difficult and dangerous at peak hours.

One traffic light as opposed to six? I’ll still use my rat-running route to avoid Northbourne.

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