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GDE 90 km/h implementation failures

By Sgt.Bungers - 16 March 2012 73

After a review that apparently lasted 5 months, the A.C.T Government decided to raise the speed limit on the Gungahlin Drive Extension from 80 km/h to 90 km/h.  The implementation was carried out over the weekend of the 10th and 11th of March 2012.  After the implementation of the higher speed limit, the following issues are immediately apparent:

  • Northern boundary of 80 and 90 km/h speed limit is unclear.  A 700 metre discrepancy exists with the 90 km/h zone extending 700 metres further north for northbound traffic, than the point where the 90 km/h zone commences for southbound traffic.  In violation of Australian Standard 1742.4 2.3.6.a.
  • 2x situations where motorists merging onto the GDE do not pass a speed limit sign for over 1 km (from Barton Highway and Bandjalong Cres).  In violation of AS 1742.4 3.2.7.d.
  • 60 km/h speed limit may still be found on off ramps from the GDE to Belconnen Way and Ginninderra Drive, despite Belconnen Way and Ginninderra Drive having 80 km/h speed limits.  Exits to Barton Highway from the GDE, and Exits to Hindmarsh Drive, Cotter road and William Hovel Drive have either have no speed limit signs or 80 km/h speed limits.  Why the inconsistency?
  • Less critical: small signs have been used to mark the boundaries of the new limit.  Why are large signs used to mark the boundary of the 80 and 100 km/h zones at the southbound end of the Tuggeranong Parkway / Drakeford drive, yet small signs used at the northern end?  There is no consistency in signage sizes.  Could also be argued not compliant with AS 1742.4 3.2.8.

These issues were not created by bad weather or vandalism.  They were created by a system within the A.C.T Government that allows speed limit signage to be implemented in an apparently low priority manner… despite enforcement of those speed limits being amoungst the most rigorous in the country.

(More detailed explanation and eventually pictures)

Not good enough

This decade has been declared by the United Nations to be the decade of Action for Road Safety. 1.3 million people are killed and up to 50 million are seriously injured each year on the worlds roads. The World Health Organisation has identified inappropriate and excessive speed as being one of the leading factors influencing road crashes. Jon Stanhope has also been quoted as saying that speed is “one of the biggest killers” on roads.

Despite this… ACT Government continues to implement speed limits in a manner which is so dumboundingly poor and apathetic, that it can only result in motorists treating speed limits in an equally apathetic manner, fueling the general disrespect for speed limits that the community already holds, and fueling the belief that speed cameras are about revenue.

The 90 km/h speed limit on the GDE is the result of a review so complicated that it took several months.  Yet the implementation of the speed limit signs on this new and high profile road has apparently been carried out with the basic instructions “just replace all the 80 signs with 90 signs.” No thought has been given to existing issues with the 80 signage, or where the new 80/90 km/h boundary at the northern end of the road will need to exist. The speed limit signage certainly is not reflective of a government so concerned about motorists exceeding speed limits, that they operate the highest number of fixed speed cameras in the country.

The signage issue that now exists on the GDE was NOT created by vandalism or natural events, it was created by pure incompetence.  It continues to be the case that the ACT Government, Roads ACT and their contractors are not concerned with having road users 100% aware of a speed limit by providing overt signage, with clear and unquestionable boundaries of speed limit zones.

What’s Your opinion?


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73 Responses to
GDE 90 km/h implementation failures
HenryBG 12:14 pm 17 Mar 12

johnboy said :

Infrastructure which gets more people cycling than would otherwise do so is good for cyclists, good for motorists, and good for the wider community.

Never will happen.
This is not Amsterdam, where there are no hills and everybody lives within 1500m of their cycling destination – here the average commute is at least 10000m, most routes include a gnarly hill, and most people are never going to want to turn up at work already wrecked.
This is a city for car owners, for better or for worse.
Unless we get some *serious* urban in-fill and some proper Park’n’Ride setups.

HenryBG 12:09 pm 17 Mar 12

Postalgeek said :

First, bikes aren’t just a sport, anymore than driving is a sport.

Get off the grass.

Those pixies don their lycra gear and clog the roads entirely for reasons of sport.

Transport infrastructure in the form of roads has as its purpose to enable motor vehicles to move about. It is expensive enough without paying even more to cater for every lunatic fringe element that wants to stick its oar in.

johnboy 12:08 pm 17 Mar 12

It’s not a question of entitlement it’s that sane governments (and sane motorists for that matter) want more people cycling because it is massively less infrastructure intensive with huge downstream benefits to the body politic at large.

Infrastructure which gets more people cycling than would otherwise do so is good for cyclists, good for motorists, and good for the wider community.

From a (sane and intelligent) motorist’s point of view every cyclist they see is one less car competing with them for space on the road, parking, and that rapidly depleting supply of petrol.

gasman 11:43 am 17 Mar 12

shadow boxer said :

Probably a good example of why people dont like cyclists here.

The concept that a minority sport is being “discriminated” against because they are not catered for on the roads displays a sense of self entitlement the majority of the community finds offensive.

Oh dear – this is what I was hoping to avoid.

Firstly, for me its not a minority sport. Its how I get around this city for shopping, school, work. I choose to commute by bicycle for very many good reasons.

What you are displaying in your post is a actually a sense of entitlement for car drivers. You seem to be saying that because the majority of commutes are by car, we should not provide safe, effective facilities for those of us that use other forms of transport. By that logic, we should also not cater to those with disabilities, because the overwhelming majority of people don’t have any.

Roads are overwhelmingly built for cars…

And Australian society is overwhelmingly obese – the highest rates of car driving and obesity in the world.

And wars are overwhelmingly fought over oil.

And the car drivers are putting overwhelmingly large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

And sedentary car drivers are putting and overwhelmingly large strain on the health system.

because this is how the community overwhelmingly moves around.

I think you have your cause and effect mixed up. The majority of people go by car because public transport on Canberra is hopeless and riding bikes is too dangerous because of lack of effective infrastructure.

In more enlightened parts of the world, such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Holland and Denmark, they have built comprehensive, safe infrastructure for bicycles, starting in the 1970’s. 60% of the population there cycles regularly, and their incidence of obesity is about one quarter of that of Australia. Health expenditure on healthcare (that ultimately comes from your taxes) is far less than what we spend.

Many other Western nations are starting to copy their example. I saw huge changes in roads works to cater for cycling in Vancouver, Portland and San Francisco. They are actively shutting down lanes and roads, converting them to bicycle ways, increasing parking fees, imposing congestion taxes, to discourage car use in the cities. Initially the population was against the idea, but now they are overwhelmingly in support of it.

Its really odd that you are anti-bike. If there would be adequate bicycle infrastructure in Canberra, more people would be on bikes, less in cars, so that those who choose to drive would have less traffic jams, and easier parking. Ultimately, the community would be healthier and we all pay less taxes. Good cycling infrastructure means that you in a car do not have to mix with me on my bike on the roads. Bikes and cars on the same road is annoying to you, and dangerous for me. We both actually want the same thing!

Eppo 11:42 am 17 Mar 12

PrinceOfAles said :

Cyclists pay taxes. Therefore they`re entitled to have cycle paths/on road cycle lanes built for them.

Really? Who knew paying taxes entitled you to whatever you desired!

Postalgeek 11:38 am 17 Mar 12

shadow boxer said :

Probably a good example of why people dont like cyclists here.

The concept that a minority sport is being “discriminated” against because they are not catered for on the roads displays a sense of self entitlement the majority of the community finds offensive.

Roads are overwhelmingly built for cars because this is how the community overwhelmingly moves around., by all means share them with us if it works for you but there is no obligation on the community to support your lifestyle choice or replicate everything we build because you choose to ride..

First, bikes aren’t just a sport, anymore than driving is a sport. People rely on them for commuting, or choose cycling over the gross expenditure of resources ( personal and community) to move a body from A to B

Second, this is a good example of why people don’t like car drivers here: a hypocritical sense of self- entitlement.

Third, there is no obligation on the community to support your lifestyle choice or replicate everything we build (like the GDE) because you choose to drive.

PrinceOfAles 11:20 am 17 Mar 12

shadow boxer said :

Probably a good example of why people dont like cyclists here.

The concept that a minority sport is being “discriminated” against because they are not catered for on the roads displays a sense of self entitlement the majority of the community finds offensive.

Roads are overwhelmingly built for cars because this is how the community overwhelmingly moves around., by all means share them with us if it works for you but there is no obligation on the community to support your lifestyle choice or replicate everything we build because you choose to ride..

Cyclists pay taxes. Therefore they`re entitled to have cycle paths/on road cycle lanes built for them.

shadow boxer 8:13 am 17 Mar 12

Probably a good example of why people dont like cyclists here.

The concept that a minority sport is being “discriminated” against because they are not catered for on the roads displays a sense of self entitlement the majority of the community finds offensive.

Roads are overwhelmingly built for cars because this is how the community overwhelmingly moves around., by all means share them with us if it works for you but there is no obligation on the community to support your lifestyle choice or replicate everything we build because you choose to ride..

gasman 8:05 pm 16 Mar 12

Further failures:

There is a bicycle lane for most (?all) of the length of the GDE. Austroads (the federal Govt body that sets the standards for roads and road safety in Australia), specifies that for a road with high traffic, but limited to 80km/h, a 2.5m wide bicycle lane is deemed adequate.

On roads with high traffic flows above 80km/h, Austroads standards specify a bicycle lane that is physically separated from the road.

The GDE has no physical separation of the bicycle lane from the road. As soon as the speed limit was raised to 90km/h, the GDE instantly failed to meet Austroads safety standards for bicycle lanes.

Also, while for most of its length, the bicycle lane is 2.5m wide, there are sections (at overpasses) up to 50m long that narrow to about 1m in width. Its no fun having trucks whizz just a few centimetres past my right ear at 90km/h.

The report commissioned by the government was prepared by AECOM. Their report almost completely ignores cycling aspects of the GDE. The AECOM report incorrectly states that a 90km/h speed limit on the GDE complies with Austroads standards for bicycles.

Finally, the exits along the GDE have no green lane markings for bicycles that continue straight through. These green lanes at exits, while not an Austroad standard, are becoming standard in the ACT for high-speed roads. Again, consistency is important.

Now before this becomes a car vs bike slanging match, I use the GDE as both a car driver but more commonly as a bicycle commuter. I don’t necessarily oppose the 90km/h speed limit for cars on the GDE. I pay my taxes, and those taxes paid for the GDE. If I choose to ride a bicycle, for whatever reason, I should not be discriminated against, nor my safety put in jeopardy.

Safety should be the number 1 priority. If the GDE speed limit is now 90km/h, there should be a physically separated bicycle lane. There should be green lanes for bicycles at all exits.

Aeek 6:50 pm 16 Mar 12

Mr Gillespie said :

80/90? Not much of a difference, what’s 10km/h?

A requirement to keep left at 90 unless overtaking, not so at 80.
The Aranda through Glenoch section flows better if people going straight through keep right,
and leave the left lane to those exiting and entering – especially when busy.
Contradictory.

Sgt.Bungers 5:23 pm 16 Mar 12

Mr Gillespie said :

80/90? Not much of a difference, what’s 10km/h?

A $162 and 1 point fine I believe.

gkcasey 5:10 pm 16 Mar 12

I am involved in trying to sort out a similar mess – disability parking in the ACT. Same problems different standard. Again an example of a national standard being appallingly implemented by the ACT.

pajs 4:56 pm 16 Mar 12

Mr Gillespie said :

80/90? Not much of a difference, what’s 10km/h? And WHY is “noise” being weighed into decisions about speed limits, instead of genuine safety??

Because roads go through planning approvals and decisions processes, which do take noise exposures into account. Speed limits and resident noise exposures were some of the many issues in the mix through the planning & legal history of the GDE.

Mr Gillespie 4:50 pm 16 Mar 12

80/90? Not much of a difference, what’s 10km/h? And WHY is “noise” being weighed into decisions about speed limits, instead of genuine safety??

stahmo 4:34 pm 16 Mar 12

Thanks for posting. I was really confused when I drove on GDE on Canberra Day. It felt quite unsafe, particularly when driving northwards at the traffic light intersection (turning right into Mitchell). How can you go at 90 and then be expected to stop at a red light around a bend/hill-top? I estimate you get about 200–300m before you can see whether it’s red or not. That’s not a lot of time.

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