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Filter Turns

By youami - 1 December 2009 34

Now I have ranted on this topic previously but thought with the number of road-based posts cropping up recently I thought I would add a post to gauge what others see in this.

My gripe with ACT has always been the use of red arrows to prevent drivers turning right at all times day or night, even when there are considerable gaps in the flow of oncoming traffic.

According to the TAMS website, “…the ACT uses the same national standards to determine the use of arrow signals as other states in Australia.

The reason we have so many red arrows is because of safety, and basically stems from the high quality road system in the ACT. Many of our arterial roads are multi-lane with a speed limit of 80kph. Research clearly shows that the higher the speed of the oncoming traffic and the wider the road that has to be crossed, the more difficult it is for a right turning driver to choose a safe gap in oncoming traffic...”

Absolutely ridiculous!  I think it is because the traffic signals are recycled from other states.  But anyway my rant isn’t about using hand-me-downs.  If safety and speed are the real issues, then why do those same intersections with red arrows allow traffic turning left onto the same road free to turn at any time?  In fact, most intersections in ACT have a left-turn slip lane and contradict national standards. 
Secondly, let me give you an example of why the excuse of safety and speed is nonsense.  Canberra Av and Nyrang St intersection has lights with red arrows.  Less than 50m to the west the intersection Canberra Av and Dalby St has no lights but the same road conditions (ie. side street turning onto road with 80km/hour limit) apply.  In fact, you could argue Dalby St is more dangerous due to the rise of Canberra Av from Hume Pl (roundabout) that limits view of oncoming traffic moreso than the intersection with lights.  I just think it is part of the nanny-state and inconsistency with road design and possibly the fact that ACT is relatively immature when it comes to major road construction and traffic volumes.  Do others agree?  I have also seen many intersections where they have installed red arrows where they previously had none or installed red arrows at intersections as they upgrade them.

And don’t forget that stopping a major road for one car to turn right costs money, time and fuel.  Spread the cost of waiting unnecessarily for 30 seconds by 300,000 cars etc etc.  btw, in case someone runs me down, I do support safety and traffic management, so wherever the intersections do warrant red arrows I don’t see a problem.

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
Filter Turns
sloppery 1:11 pm 01 Dec 09

Grail said :

My advice would be to learn some patience, stop tailgating, and start your trip with enough time to get to your destination before you need to be there. Speeding and running red lights will not really save you that much time. Starting the trip with adequate time to spare means you get to your destination more relaxed, affords everyone else on the road a more relaxed trip, and leaves you with more chance of being alive at the conclusion of your voyage.

Continually forcing traffic to move more slowly is not solving the problem of ever increasing traffic congestion.

Smarter ideas are needed (as is better driver skills training).

youami 1:07 pm 01 Dec 09

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Are you actually suggesting that we use second hand signal hardware from interstate?

Yes I am. I have no evidence other than my suspicions and observations. Many of the older lights appear to be the same as Melbourne signals, ie. without a white border, with what appears to be limited variation/options in phasing. But when they are replaced (eg. around Parkes) the lights don’t appear new looking, but have a white border like those in Sydney. Sydney is changing a lot of lights to all LED. Only a few in Canberra are like that. A case in point for recycling are the signals at Clunies Ross St and the exit off Parkes Way. They were installed ‘new’ to support the GDE roadworks but are simply recycled from somewhere. And I don’t recall too many intersections where lights are removed so unless they have stockpile of spare signals, yes ACT are getting hand-me-downs.

barking toad said :

If you search this site, you’ll find plenty of threads about where to get a cup of coffee in Canberra.

They’re almost as exciting as this one

🙂

But you still read it! And I bet you read it with a coffee in your hand 🙂

Grail said :

Traffic turning left onto a busy road only has one lane to worry about, and you get to see all the cars in that lane as they approach.

Traffic turning right across a busy road has two or three lanes of traffic to worry about, some lanes of which might be obscured by trucks, busses or SUVs. You’ll also find that the traffic volume on Nyrang Street is much higher than Dalby Street, mainly due to Nyrang Street actually crossing Canberra Avenue between Fyshwick and Narrabundah.

Low volume T intersection vs high volume cross-intersection. I makes sense when you think about it.

Stopping a major road in order to let one car turn across the traffic is necessary in order to let the one car cross without waiting an hour for a gap in the traffic.

My advice would be to learn some patience, stop tailgating, and start your trip with enough time to get to your destination before you need to be there. Speeding and running red lights will not really save you that much time. Starting the trip with adequate time to spare means you get to your destination more relaxed, affords everyone else on the road a more relaxed trip, and leaves you with more chance of being alive at the conclusion of your voyage.

You have missed my point. Daley St still has vehicles crossing Canberra Av. Granted, it is a T-intersection but it does give discretion to the driver crossing three lanes of traffic at 80km/hour just past a crest. Someone has posted the dangers of being too controlled when numpty ACT-drivers go interstate. In fact, if you go to Queanbeyan you will see that they have red arrows during peak but turn them off in off-peak; some intersections in Queanbeyan adopt the system mentioned in comment #3.

Oh and just because I am ranting on this topic, why does that make me a tailgater? Why does that make me not relaxed? Why do you think I am not patient? You have to stop with the stereotype for anyone complaining. I am referring to innefficencies, poor design, and false statements about speed and safety, as opposed to wanting to get somewhere faster. How many speeding tickets have you had or accidents? In my 18-odd years of driving I have had no speeding tickets and just 1 accident many many years ago!

Now, I need a better hobby than light-spotting… 🙂

RatsNest 1:00 pm 01 Dec 09

Agree completely with wanting to turn off the red arrows outside of peak hour. But the arrow fun extends beyond turning right across traffic, they can’t even get left turn arrows correct!

My current favourite traffic light setup is where Gozzard St crosses Hibberson St in Gungahlin. Here if you are turning left off Gozzard onto Hibberson (towards Big W centre) you get a green light, but the person in front of you going straight has a red light.

Same intersection, separate issue. This is a tiny intersection with only a small amount of traffic and where with each light change only one direction of traffic gets to move. So why not allow left turns on red after stopping! Constant source of annoyance.

astrojax 12:36 pm 01 Dec 09

i am amazed at some of the ‘turn left when you want’ intersections at which seeing what is coming from the right is difficult (like turning from adjacent glebe park onto corranderk) yet not having them at other intersections where vision is long and traffic mostly light… and don’t start me on the appalling synching (or otherwise) of lights on major arterial routes…

there is little commonsense or ability in canberra’s traffic planners.

GnT 12:26 pm 01 Dec 09

Grail said :

Stopping a major road in order to let one car turn across the traffic is necessary in order to let the one car cross without waiting an hour for a gap in the traffic.

But the point is these intersections often occur where there is not a lot of traffic to stop. In fact, in the example I stated earlier, I usually pull up and can turn immediately if it were not for the red arrow. I never have to wait an hour (or even anything approaching your hyperbole) for a gap in the traffic.

Stopping a major road in order to let one car turn across the traffic is unnecessary when the one car could easily find a sufficient gap in the traffic without holding up anyone else.

gooterz 12:08 pm 01 Dec 09

One that really annoys me is that huge round about in woden. theres already some even ground and could be made into an overpass etc. or at the very least there a slip lane for both south going and north going for only buses and taxi’s it should be two lanes or at least allow cars to use it too. this is always backed up into woden when it doesnt have to be.
Or is it that we all love our roundabouts soo much?

spinact 12:00 pm 01 Dec 09

You don’t mention another problem with most intersections other than speed or safety: Idiot drivers.

Inexperienced, impatient or stupid drivers have the amazing ability to turn a normal, safe intersection into a black spot. It only takes a few drivers too lazy to obey simple traffic rules to cause a few accidents and next thing you know the nanny state reacts to complaints.

As for being trusted to judge a gap in the traffic…………….apply that same trust to the idiot drivers and there’ll be even more carnage on the road.

Grail 11:15 am 01 Dec 09

Traffic turning left onto a busy road only has one lane to worry about, and you get to see all the cars in that lane as they approach.

Traffic turning right across a busy road has two or three lanes of traffic to worry about, some lanes of which might be obscured by trucks, busses or SUVs. You’ll also find that the traffic volume on Nyrang Street is much higher than Dalby Street, mainly due to Nyrang Street actually crossing Canberra Avenue between Fyshwick and Narrabundah.

Low volume T intersection vs high volume cross-intersection. I makes sense when you think about it.

Stopping a major road in order to let one car turn across the traffic is necessary in order to let the one car cross without waiting an hour for a gap in the traffic.

My advice would be to learn some patience, stop tailgating, and start your trip with enough time to get to your destination before you need to be there. Speeding and running red lights will not really save you that much time. Starting the trip with adequate time to spare means you get to your destination more relaxed, affords everyone else on the road a more relaxed trip, and leaves you with more chance of being alive at the conclusion of your voyage.

Thoroughly Smashed 10:26 am 01 Dec 09

Are you actually suggesting that we use second hand signal hardware from interstate?

H1NG0 9:49 am 01 Dec 09

Must be terrible to be in such a rush to get everywhere. Maybe leave a bit earlier to allow for the red arrow?

I think the arrows are there because most numpty Canberra drivers do not understand how to cross an intersection without them.

niftydog 9:49 am 01 Dec 09

My gripe is less specific – traffic lights are technological dinosaurs. In this day and age when astounding technology touches every part of our lives, why do we have to put up with such primitive and inflexible beasts?

Surely fuel efficiency is the more important issue here. We don’t need anything else to feed the notion that driving like a lunatic is justified by saving 20 seconds on the journey home!

barking toad 9:24 am 01 Dec 09

If you search this site, you’ll find plenty of threads about where to get a cup of coffee in Canberra.

They’re almost as exciting as this one 🙂

indigoid 9:17 am 01 Dec 09

GnT said :

Can we have the traffic lights on peak hour settings, then off-peak settings where there is a green light but no arrow?

In Sydney there seems to be a common setup where just the big round green is lit, meaning you can turn right if it is safe, BUT if right-turning traffic seems to be held up for too long, traffic in the opposite direction is stopped and a green arrow is lit as well.

Seems to work well, BUT it does mean that non-turning traffic (especially Sydney noobs who haven’t developed optimal tactics yet) is frequently held up by traffic waiting to turn right.

All in all I don’t think it is a superior solution to that of Canberra. Just different, that’s all

ChrisinTurner 8:40 am 01 Dec 09

Yet there are many places where filter right-hand turns are not allowed and the oncoming traffic is 50-60 km/hr. The Australian standards would allow such turns but the ACT is not. When ACT people go interstate they are so used to having right-turn arrows that they cause bad accidents. Perhaps it is just part of a policy of discouraging the use of motor vehicles.

GnT 8:22 am 01 Dec 09

Yes yes yes!!! I have a gripe with this too. The one that bugs me the most is turning right from Cotter Road onto the Tuggereanong Parkway. I am usually at this intersection in the evening when there is next to no-one coming the other way, and I have to wait for ages to turn. Chances are, by the time I get my green arrow a car has come along and is forced to stop so I can drive across. How ridiculous! If I could be trusted to judge a gap in the traffic then I could scoot across and no-one else would have to stop for me.

Can we have the traffic lights on peak hour settings, then off-peak settings where there is a green light but no arrow?

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