Dooring St Traffic Lights

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?


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45 Responses to Dooring St Traffic Lights
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nexus6 nexus6 3:24 pm 23 Nov 09

I have to say that i think canberra has possibly the worst implimented traffic lights i have ever come across. the number of lights that go red just as the traffic arrives from the lights further down the road is quite amazing. traffic lights that change for no reason late at night, or stay green for cross traffic for 2 or 3 mins when there is not a single car crossing. thats stupid abomination of a cycleway in weston creek that has replaced one of the car lanes for about 50m. this looks like another case of stupidity, simple road devider would be a much easier and simpler solution. hell ill bild a devider myself keep half left over $822k

Gibbo Gibbo 3:12 pm 23 Nov 09

Yurgle
That is a worry.
Then again the fact that it is implemented doesn’t mean it’s done well. Even experts can be wrong and not know it http://www.damninteresting.com/unskilled-and-unaware-of-it (study can be found here http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf) 🙂
For there is clearly a difference in the implementation of the system in Canberra and it’s operation in Sydney.

dtc dtc 2:56 pm 23 Nov 09

Spectra said :

Oh good – the ABC will be happy to know they can sell their studios since nobody’s working there.

And as has been noted by me and others, Dooring St isn’t a through road heading South – it’s also the access to Lowanna st. Which has many offices on it. As I said in my first post. But, you know, don’t feel like you need to address that point when replying.

Lowanna St – well, if you are coming from south Canberra then Dooring St isnt an issue. If you are coming from north Canberra then you go one block further up (Ipima St). Its hardly an issue. You will already be on Limestone or Northbourne (or able to turn into Northbourne from Macarthur) and one turn to Ipima.

OK, so that increases traffic in Ipima, but thats a more major road than Dooring anyway (and less residential). How many people at the moment avoid Dooring st because of the danger? Who will now use it because there are lights and thus increase traffic through what is just a standard suburb?

FWIW, I totally agree something needs to be done at this intersection. My opinion was that the majority of accidents are people trying to cross over Wakefield (staying on Dooring) or turning into Dooring from Wakefield. Given that there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason for a lot of people to use Dooring street, other than for rat running, a median strip preventing people crossing over seemed to me the best solution.

If it was just a matter of another set of lights – so be it. But 4 lights in 200m? And clearly the ability to syncronise is limited, because the cross streets have different priorities ie if you are coming up Macarthur you are given priority (longer green) over Wattle St, but lower priority (shorter green) over Northbourne. Then higher priority at Dooring and lower priority at Limestone. Wait until people crossing Northbourne (which is about 40m across) judge it wrongly and end up parked in the middle of Northbourne during rush hour.

And – I don’t live in Dooring St (or Dickson or Braddon etc). I have no personal interest in this. Just an observation.

Yurgle_the_Yeti Yurgle_the_Yeti 2:43 pm 23 Nov 09

Gibbo said :

Forgot to add for Yurgle’s edification an example of where a better job of traffic management can and has been done
http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/australia_innovates/?behaviour=view_article&Section_id=1080&article_id=10087

Thanks for that… Let me return the favour by adding something for your edification:

http://www.tams.act.gov.au/move/roads/traffic/trafficsignals

Sorry if I sounded arrogant/pompous but working in the traffic/transport industry, I do get frustrated when, at the end of a 6-12 month study involving a team of experts, someone with no background, no understanding of the specific issues etc etc says “oh, that should have been done differently”. No amount of facts/evidence can change their mind (probably because they know it in their heart, not their brain).

I guess understanding of traffic issues in the general population is a bit like religious belief. Remember: “You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into” – Unknown.

In response to the number of accidents, there is a slightly outdated (2003) report from NRMA showing accidents at intersections around Canberra here:

http://www.nrma.com.au/about-us/media-releases/20030905-b.shtml

It seems that 18.5/year puts this intersection up there with some of the nasty ones around the place.

ns ns 2:29 pm 23 Nov 09

You’re wrong DTC.

This isn’t anything about rat runs or traffic congestion, etc. It’s simply a safety issue. That intersection has huge visibility problems. I lived five doors down from the ABC for over 3 years (before that big apartment complex went up) and lost count of the number of crashes that took place. Some I saw walking back from the bus stop on Northbourne. Some I heard in the middle of the night. It’s actually how I met a lot of my neighbours – we’d all be trooping out to check out what was going on. Once I started driving I realised how dangerous it was and I had a few near misses myself despite the care I took being so familiar with that road.

That intersection has desperately needed lights for ages and I think one of my neighbours actually tried to progress it at the time. He told us that he’d been told that there was a process for determining lights and there would be some eventually but that we’d have to wait our turn.

The thing is, my housemates and I witnessed crashes there at all times of the day and night regardless of whether or not it was peak-time. 74 crashes over 5 years is an average of just under 15 crashes a year. That’s more than 1 a month. In my three years I probably witnessed the aftermath of around 20 and I vividly recall the 5 crashes that I actually saw happen. Lights are the only solution. When I heard it mentioned on the radio the other day my first thought was “Finally!”.

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 2:11 pm 23 Nov 09

Gibbo said :

Forgot to add for Yurgle’s edification an example of where a better job of traffic management can and has been done
http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/australia_innovates/?behaviour=view_article&Section_id=1080&article_id=10087

Good idea Gibbo. So good in fact that it’s already implemented here.

youami youami 1:36 pm 23 Nov 09

Yurgle_the_Yeti said :

I… “oh I know much more than the trained and paid professionals when it comes to taffic issues”.

When you actually do some real study and investigations and look at ALL of the issues behind traffic and intersection performance/safety, then you can make (hopefully intelligent) comments. Don’t just think that you are a traffic expert because you own a car… It takes more than that.

I highly doubt the professionals in the ACT Govt are actually expert in road design and planning. Seriously though, non-standard line-markings, poor line-markings (or non existent), overuse and inappropriate use of centre-line markings, poor unplanned lane direction determinations, improper use of stop signs, ambiguous speed limit signs, non-standard ‘green’ traffic signs. I am a hobbyist in road-design and construction, I may not have a degree in the discipline but I sure know a poor road design when I see one. What is to say others who post here Yurgle are similar to myself? Anyway this site is for posting opinions so you have your opinion and I have mine and others have theirs.

Oh and if you want examples of my list above I can provide but that is a but off topic 🙂

Finally, is the intersection dangerous? 74 accidents over 4 years… that’s 18.5/year or 1.5/month. How does that compare? I don’t know myself, just curious if anyone knows what the threshold is for considering an intersection dangerous.

youami youami 1:18 pm 23 Nov 09

It sounds to me like another step in turning all intersections in Canberra into traffic lights, in other words to dumb down the drivers even more so they don’t have to think. I will look forward to the day that I don’t have to do anything when I am driving and don’t have to care about using my driving skills. I will let the ACT Govt decide how and when I can go forward or stop! I bet they will put in those nasty red-arrows too so you can only turn on a green arrow, even at 11pm at Sunday night when you are the only car on the road.

Maybe all the whingers in this post should try driving in Sydney. Roads are shocking and congested for sure (and I won’t live there again) but at least NSW Govt doesn’t pamper and baby the drivers into a false sense of security. We are becoming so complacent with the roads here in ACT that when we go interstate we all get stressed and frazzled becuase we have to make decisions!

Anyway, a no right turn sign and median strip is the way to go! 1,000 workers and an apartment block? Have to drive down the block to turn around? Get over it!

ABC129 said :

… I can tell you that the majority of accidents that happened were rear enders from two cars traveling along Wakefield down to the lights. At certain times of year the sun blinds people as they come over the hill on their way home during the afternoon rush. That said, there were plenty of accidents in the middle of the day with perfect visibility too. …

So the sun is to blame not the intersection? So with traffic lights and all the cars stopped surely that will cause more rear-enders? I think it will be a given IMHO as most ACT drivers don’t look more than 1 metre beyond their bonnet.

P.S. I refer to ACT drivers as anyone who works in ACT and has been here more than 3 months, not necessarily drivers with ACT plates 🙂

Gibbo Gibbo 12:59 pm 23 Nov 09

Forgot to add for Yurgle’s edification an example of where a better job of traffic management can and has been done
http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/australia_innovates/?behaviour=view_article&Section_id=1080&article_id=10087

Gibbo Gibbo 12:55 pm 23 Nov 09

Yurgle
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the lights on Northbourne can be improved.
It is possible to experience an average wait of three minutes at each light. Also there’s the strange sequence where one is stopped at a red light and the next in front is green. As soon as the light changes to green the green light in front turns red which causes bunching in the traffic flow.
In comparison Parramatta road in Sydney is much better managed. For example the section of road from the intersection at Missendon road heading up to Broadway is a much more pleasant drive than the similar distance on Northbourne avenue with many more side streets.
At least with traffic lights in Sydney there is a more noticeable flow in traffic during peak than in the ACT.

ABC129 ABC129 12:15 pm 23 Nov 09

Having lived in Valonia (that big 8 story apartment building on Wakefield/Dooring sts) I can tell you that the majority of accidents that happened were rear enders from two cars traveling along Wakefield down to the lights. At certain times of year the sun blinds people as they come over the hill on their way home during the afternoon rush. That said, there were plenty of accidents in the middle of the day with perfect visibility too. Anything to slow drivers down as they barrel over the hill at warp speed can only be a good thing.

Spectra Spectra 11:08 am 23 Nov 09

Its not like anyone works in Dooring St. Clearly they are rat runners

Oh good – the ABC will be happy to know they can sell their studios since nobody’s working there.

And as has been noted by me and others, Dooring St isn’t a through road heading South – it’s also the access to Lowanna st. Which has many offices on it. As I said in my first post. But, you know, don’t feel like you need to address that point when replying.

Yurgle_the_Yeti Yurgle_the_Yeti 8:39 am 23 Nov 09

I guess the old thing about pleasing some of the people all the time, all of the people some of the time but never all of the people all of the time is true…

Here we have a situation where there is a dangerous intersection being improved to allow people to travel much more safely to work/school/play/home and all some of you guys can say is “oh I know much more than the trained and paid professionals when it comes to taffic issues”.

And to those of you compaining about arterial road management (I’m looking at you georgesgenitals), have you sat down and actually tried to co-ordinate the traffic signals along Northbourne Ave? It can’t be done. Not everybody gets your much-hyped “green-wave”. If everybody had a green light all the time, we may as well knock the signals down and save on the electricity bill and hope that not too many people die (either from accident or from old age waiting for a Canberra driver to be courteous and let them join/cross the traffic) each day. Every time YOU stop at a set of lights, somebody else gets to have a turn at driving.

I know that people who lose the right of way (along Wakefield Ave) will be delayed. It might actually take you 30 seconds longer to get to work. What were planning to do with that 30 seconds? It takes longer than that to post here. On the other hand, the people who may now save up to a couple of minutes can do something useful.

When you actually do some real study and investigations and look at ALL of the issues behind traffic and intersection performance/safety, then you can make (hopefully intelligent) comments. Don’t just think that you are a traffic expert because you own a car… It takes more than that.

Grrrr Grrrr 11:58 pm 22 Nov 09

dtc said :

Based on the fact that during peak hour, there are lots of cars turning into Dooring St (going in the direciton of Civic) from Wakefield, or crossing right across Limestone – no doubt residents going home? From their night shifts in Dickson?

Its not like anyone works in Dooring St.

Maybe you should follow a couple of cars down there.

You’ll find out pretty quickly that hundreds of them work on Northbourne between Wakefield and Ipima and are going to their work’s carparks that are accessible from Lowanna (some exclusively, some not.)

What is your real beef with people turning there, anyway?

Perhaps it should get a roundabout…

eh_steve eh_steve 11:34 pm 22 Nov 09

Lowanna Street goes on to Dooring Street, and and probably close to 1000 people work down there? I would imagine that for at least some of those people that would be a good way home.

vg vg 11:01 pm 22 Nov 09

Follow Dooring and you’ll eventually end up at Dickson Shops or Daramalan College. Places where people work and attend school.

Punter Punter 10:38 pm 22 Nov 09

It seems the idea of the lights is to encourage cars to use identified main feeder roads. I wouldn’t expect the residents in these ‘residential’ streets to be happy for cars to use these routes as a shortcut when there are nearby roads dedicated for such use. These are the streets a lot of children use to walk unaccompanied to school in an apparently safer environment. I doubt anyone posting here would be happy to put up with peak hour traffic flowing through their residential street, or be happy to let their kids play beside any of our main roads. If the traffic lights push cars away from residential areas then I say hooray!! The issue of traffic congestion on main roads is not going to be fixed anytime soon, but I don’t expect some drivers to be able to either be patient and wait a little longer (this is little ol’ Canberra after all) or manage their time better and leave a little earlier. Some drivers will take the selfish option to save a few minutes (or at least feel like they are).

Skyring Skyring 9:56 pm 22 Nov 09

tidalik said :

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

Give motorists what they need. High-speed, high volume roads to get long distances quickly. Feeder roads for suburbs, and residential streets with good lines of sight. Trying to artificially limit speeds and flows merely increases anger and frustration, encourages drivers to take chances and results in accidents.

What idiots in government gave us the Aranda access from the GDE? Or the Dalrymple/Goyder intersection in Red Hill?

Best of all would be a decent public transport system to encourage people not to drive. Until we get something a lot better than what we have, Canberra residents pretty much have to drive to get anywhere in comfort and good time.

dtc dtc 8:27 pm 22 Nov 09

vg said :

Because they live there Einstein.

Spectra said :

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

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

Based on the fact that during peak hour, there are lots of cars turning into Dooring St (going in the direciton of Civic) from Wakefield, or crossing right across Limestone – no doubt residents going home? From their night shifts in Dickson?

Its not like anyone works in Dooring St. Clearly they are rat runners (as lots of people have admitted). Despite having Northbourne and Limestone as alternate routes.

Just thought I would clarify – by ‘no right turn’ i meant a concrete barrier rather than just a sign. That is my preferred option.

And, yes, its too late now. I guess we will see how much traffic builds up – especially from Limestone during the afternoon.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 7:35 pm 22 Nov 09

georgesgenitals said :

FFS, make the arterial roads flow properly through decent traffic management, and people won’t need all these alternative routes.

Zing!

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