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Light rail and intersections?

By WoodenAgent 1 March 2015 60

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According to Capital Metro:

Who will have priority at traffic lights?

A level of priority is typically provided for light rail to help the service run efficiently. This occurs as a part of planning that helps the light sequencing to support the major traffic flow (such as the inbound traffic in the morning peak). This means that the major vehicle traffic flows generally benefit through light rail priority work.

We already know that the railway will go on the same grade (i.e. level) as cars, trucks, buses, bicycles and people. This means we will fight over who has priority at intersections.  Unless the trams can have absolute priority, they will be time-inefficient.

Elevating the public transport overcomes these issues quickly.

Is there evidence that the government has considered the option to elevate the trams or use another elevated technology, like aerial ropeways (gondolas)?

Lastly, must we use steel wheels? Paris metro moved to rubber wheels.

What’s Your opinion?


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Light rail and intersections?
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rubaiyat 9:03 am 15 Sep 15

Skyring said :

JC said :

Light rail will NOT have absolute priority. Where does it say that? All it says is priority. Trams will still have to stop at red lights, that is for sure. Just like now cars along Northbonre Ave have priority over cross roads, but you still get stopped.

So if trams have to stop at red lights, just like buses, then where’s the advantage? Why spend a billion dollars on duplicating what we already have?

Obviously it is not duplicating “what we already have”.

It will be quiet, run in its own right of way, not on the roads damaging them as buses do, on clean renewable energy, have vast capacity that will stand in good stead for a very long time, let people work as they go to work, is actually significantly cheaper than driving, and most importantly will divide up the city with multi-lane freeways and acres of concrete/bitumen car parking.

Skyring 11:55 am 04 Mar 15

JC said :

Light rail will NOT have absolute priority. Where does it say that? All it says is priority. Trams will still have to stop at red lights, that is for sure. Just like now cars along Northbonre Ave have priority over cross roads, but you still get stopped.

So if trams have to stop at red lights, just like buses, then where’s the advantage? Why spend a billion dollars on duplicating what we already have?

JC 11:18 am 04 Mar 15

Skyring said :

rubaiyat said :

danieleatspizza747 said :

In fact, because the trams cannot pass the tram ahead (even if it has broken down) and because trams will stop at every station, all it takes is one tram running late to mess the entire network up.

Seen lots of buses broken down, can’t say I have ever seen a tram broken down.

A rare sight in Canberra, to be sure!

Trams break down with the same regularity as other vehicles of similar size and complexity. Tram-owning cities such as Melbourne also run trucks with “pusher” bumpers so that they can move broken down trams to the workshop. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pobox448/5066845114/

Trams break down for sure, though at much less regularity. Simple reason is electronic motors and the like are much more reliable than (more complex) diesel engines and the like.

JC 11:16 am 04 Mar 15

Skyring said :

That’s a given. Nobody’s disputing that.

There are times when the road traffic along Northbourne is stopped to let cross and turning traffic flow. Granted, they are less common during peak hours, but still the traffic lights turn red to Northbourne Avenue traffic every few minutes.

If the tram comes along during these times, and it has absolute priority, then cross and turning traffic must necessarily stop as well. That’s less time available for you to make your right turn from Mouat onto Northbourne. You’re going to be waiting longer because some of the available time is going to be taken up by the tram.

Light rail will NOT have absolute priority. Where does it say that? All it says is priority. Trams will still have to stop at red lights, that is for sure. Just like now cars along Northbonre Ave have priority over cross roads, but you still get stopped.

JC 11:12 am 04 Mar 15

danieleatspizza747 said :

Quite a loss if you ask me! Truly ironic that Gallagher is petitioning for more road widening in Gungahlin ; you would think that Flemington Road would be the most important route to widen of any. The bus network during the morning peak will really suffer from the loss of the bus lane, there will be no reason for anyone to take the red rapid during that time so I imagine those services will be significantly scaled back or withdrawn completely. Even by 2019 there won’t be enough movements between Gungahlin and the city to justify running both a bus service and a light rail service once every 10-15 minutes.

Must admit I do not understand why they need to do this, should not be too hard or costly to make Flemmington Road dual lane, plus light rail all the way. Seems to be penny pinching where this is one area it shouldn’t be.

That said think your being a tad melodramatic. Lysaght Street to Sandford Street, where the lanes will go from 2 to 1 is only 600m long, and north of it is only one lane to Well Station Drive and to the south of Sandford Street it is 1 car and 1 bus lane.

Now considering the existing constraints on either end, quite frankly the impact to car traffic will be basically zilch. Though again I will say it should be bloody well duplicated all the way anyway.

rubaiyat 10:46 am 04 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

Trams depend on network reliability too. This is what happens when gremlins get in the signalling box.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/o-train-service-suspended-until-at-least-thursday-1.2979622

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_National_Highway_110_traffic_jam

And remember the massive traffic jam on the Pacific Highway a few years back that went on for a day over one accident.

I was caught in a half day jam north of Goulburn (in the middle of nowhere) due to an overturned truck, and have enjoyed countless hours of monotonously regular jams in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, San Francisco, L.A., Washington, New Jersey and truly shockers in New York.

But thanks for the tip, I’ll avoid Ottawa.

Happens every day at peak hour?

dungfungus 10:16 am 04 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

Skyring said :

rubaiyat said :

danieleatspizza747 said :

In fact, because the trams cannot pass the tram ahead (even if it has broken down) and because trams will stop at every station, all it takes is one tram running late to mess the entire network up.

Seen lots of buses broken down, can’t say I have ever seen a tram broken down.

A rare sight in Canberra, to be sure!

Trams break down with the same regularity as other vehicles of similar size and complexity. Tram-owning cities such as Melbourne also run trucks with “pusher” bumpers so that they can move broken down trams to the workshop. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pobox448/5066845114/

Trams break down with the same regularity as trams. That is, not very often. They are basic, electrically driven platforms with seats on top. Which is why they remain in service for astonishingly long times.

Trams depend on network reliability too. This is what happens when gremlins get in the signalling box.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/o-train-service-suspended-until-at-least-thursday-1.2979622

rubaiyat 9:51 am 04 Mar 15

Skyring said :

rubaiyat said :

danieleatspizza747 said :

In fact, because the trams cannot pass the tram ahead (even if it has broken down) and because trams will stop at every station, all it takes is one tram running late to mess the entire network up.

Seen lots of buses broken down, can’t say I have ever seen a tram broken down.

A rare sight in Canberra, to be sure!

Trams break down with the same regularity as other vehicles of similar size and complexity. Tram-owning cities such as Melbourne also run trucks with “pusher” bumpers so that they can move broken down trams to the workshop. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pobox448/5066845114/

Trams break down with the same regularity as trams. That is, not very often. They are basic, electrically driven platforms with seats on top. Which is why they remain in service for astonishingly long times.

rubaiyat 9:47 am 04 Mar 15

Skyring said :

I wouldn’t say Canberra is badly planned. On the contrary.

However, it is designed for people driving cars to get around, with buses as public transport.

The basis of Canberra’s planning post 60s was satellite towns, with people working where they live. As a decentralised city, it worked just fine. There was never a rush hour as such. Traffic flowed smoothly, there was plentiful free parking, getting around wasn’t a hassle.

What we need is to get back to the bus system we had in the 80s, and to the town plannng model which applied then. Gungahlin has no major government offices for public service employment: the model is that Gungahlin residents work in Civic.

And we see the unhappy results every morning and every evening.

As for the cross streets along Northbourne Avenue, there are eleven of them, and traffic on them will be slowed and delayed by the tram, which is apparently not going to stop with the regular traffic. That’s going to delay cross traffic and right-turning traffic. Can’t be avoided.

The notion that people will live next to where they work, for life, is a nonsense that wasn’t even true back in the ’70s when it was already obvious that driving long distances to work wasn’t either a good lifestyle or sustainable.

But then the dangers of asbestos were also well known at the time and people chose to ignore that as well.

The Canberra model of widely separated townships rapidly eating up the countryside is exacerbated by the quality of those townships. They are all 2nd rate copies of British ideas of New Towns, by the wannabe Town Planners who never, ever got the idea that this is Canberra. In the southern hemisphere. Where the sun is in the north. Where cold winter winds blow through from the south west. Remote from almost everywhere else.

Canberra became a land based Ponzi scheme, built on government land speculation, where increasingly large amounts of land had to be constantly sold off to pay for running the place. That’s why the government favours new sites ever more remote from the centre, that maximise its income.

Obviously this can not go on forever.

The Federal Government knew it back in 1988 when they dumped it with forced self government. Something the resentful locals didn’t fathom.

As to the details of the town planning, all three of the major satellites, Woden, Belconnen and Tuggeranong are badly oriented, soulless and desolate for pedestrians. Gungahlin finally managed a more intimate and liveable centre but with still the same remote suburban sprawl laid out in a lambs brain road network, disregarding solar orientation, with tiny overbuilt blocks and narrow streets far from people’s work.

The spruiked “Green” Gungahlin at the time was laughably ascribed to “Gungahlin has natural gas”!

In every single development right down to the latest, Molonglo, there is no transport planning. Just the assumption that every household will have multiple cars and drive everywhere. The few who don’t are left with perpetually cut back buses that never can serve suburbs and town centres that follow no linear network and whose sole object is to ensure a long drive to anywhere.

Canberra’s solitary railway station, which could have been its connection to the outside world, is not even in its urban centre. It is not even near the local suburb Kingston, which is why it got ignored. The airport is the same, without even a usable bus connection to the city.

Trying to fix the long list of mistakes made is going to be difficult, especially without any coherent urban infill or transport planning. All we get is the disgusting od hoc high rises in Civic and the regional centres that only satisfy the short term financial objectives of the developers with their shabby building standards.

The only exceptions I can see to institutional mediocrity are Lonsdale Street and New Acton, both of which are showing sparks of life. Lonsdale Street should be the root of a lively growth corridor up and out to Dixon, centred around a quick clean tram line linking it to Civic, fed by surrounding higher urban density for people who enjoy inner city living.

Is it possible we can step out of the petty thinking that simply obsesses how YOU are going to live in the dead past and YOU are going to drive to work and whether YOU are going to be held up at some traffic intersection or other?

Get with the big picture and give Canberra a transport plan to fit a tighter urban plan.

Something beyond a slapped on Light Rail to nowhere.

Skyring 8:55 am 04 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

danieleatspizza747 said :

In fact, because the trams cannot pass the tram ahead (even if it has broken down) and because trams will stop at every station, all it takes is one tram running late to mess the entire network up.

Seen lots of buses broken down, can’t say I have ever seen a tram broken down.

A rare sight in Canberra, to be sure!

Trams break down with the same regularity as other vehicles of similar size and complexity. Tram-owning cities such as Melbourne also run trucks with “pusher” bumpers so that they can move broken down trams to the workshop. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pobox448/5066845114/

rubaiyat 8:09 am 04 Mar 15

Skyring said :

rubaiyat said :

Skyring said :

It doesn’t matter what traffic on Northbourne Avenue is doing. It’s the traffic on the cross streets that will be interrupted.How do you think cars get onto Northbourne in the first place? They aren’t born on it.

And no, people are not going to stop driving cars, just because there’s a tram running down Northbourne. The city is far too spread out for that.

I’m trying to follow this. So cars crossing don’t interfere with other cars? Nor Buses? Nor the turning cars that back up behind each other or get jammed in the median strip?

Nobody is suggesting people will stop driving cars, it isn’t an either/or.

And yes the city is badly planned. Your solution is more of the same?

I wouldn’t say Canberra is badly planned. On the contrary.

However, it is designed for people driving cars to get around, with buses as public transport.

The basis of Canberra’s planning post 60s was satellite towns, with people working where they live. As a decentralised city, it worked just fine. There was never a rush hour as such. Traffic flowed smoothly, there was plentiful free parking, getting around wasn’t a hassle.

What we need is to get back to the bus system we had in the 80s, and to the town plannng model which applied then. Gungahlin has no major government offices for public service employment: the model is that Gungahlin residents work in Civic.

And we see the unhappy results every morning and every evening.

As for the cross streets along Northbourne Avenue, there are eleven of them, and traffic on them will be slowed and delayed by the tram, which is apparently not going to stop with the regular traffic. That’s going to delay cross traffic and right-turning traffic. Can’t be avoided.

wildturkeycanoe 5:40 am 04 Mar 15

danieleatspizza747 said :

rommeldog56 said :

I heard a poll result thats aid about 70% of Gunners residents supported the tram. Fair enough – they live in the area that will benefit from it. But I wonder if anyone in Gunners knows the full story – including the loss of the road capacity as stated here (assuming that is correct) and the probable loss of direct bus sevices into the City via Northborne Avenue ?

Nrver mind re loss of road capacity in Gunners – Ms Fitzharris, the Katy Gallagher replacement for Labor in the LA for Gunners, is already petitioning her own Gov’t/party for more road duplication/widening in Gunners too !

It’s sort of comical really………

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberras-light-rail-infrastructure-work-worth-120m-tipped-to-take-five-years-20141102-11fqpa.html

The narrowing of Flemington Road to one lane each way from south of Lysaght Street was reported in this Canberra times article; I also found it after extensive digging around to find the actual plans.

To quote this article:

“…two car lanes will be reduced to one southbound in Flemington Road between Lysaght Street and Sandford Street.

One bus lane and one car lane between Sandford Street and the Federal Highway will be reduced to one lane and two car lanes will be reduced to one northbound in Flemington Road between Randwick Road and Lysaght Street.”

Quite a loss if you ask me! Truly ironic that Gallagher is petitioning for more road widening in Gungahlin ; you would think that Flemington Road would be the most important route to widen of any. The bus network during the morning peak will really suffer from the loss of the bus lane, there will be no reason for anyone to take the red rapid during that time so I imagine those services will be significantly scaled back or withdrawn completely. Even by 2019 there won’t be enough movements between Gungahlin and the city to justify running both a bus service and a light rail service once every 10-15 minutes.

Which again raises the question of what benefit the light rail will actually bring over buses. In fact, because the trams cannot pass the tram ahead (even if it has broken down) and because trams will stop at every station, all it takes is one tram running late to mess the entire network up. In contrast, buses can easily overtake each other, as is commonly seen around bus stops down Northbourne. Also, there is no reason why people who do not currently take the rapid bus services down Flemington (instead taking those which run through the suburbs and closer to their houses, such as Route 58) would suddenly decide to take the light rail.
It would be considerably more cost effective to simply build more bus lanes; the only benefit of the tram is that it is “kind of cool”.

I also highly doubt that most Gungahlin residents are aware of this plan to narrow Flemington, or have considered the misery of three years of roadworks ahead.

No point using logic anymore. Blind Freddie can see the downsides but our incompetent government has blinkers on and cotton wool in their ears.

rubaiyat 11:43 pm 03 Mar 15

danieleatspizza747 said :

In fact, because the trams cannot pass the tram ahead (even if it has broken down) and because trams will stop at every station, all it takes is one tram running late to mess the entire network up.

Seen lots of buses broken down, can’t say I have ever seen a tram broken down. They are extremely reliable.

Is that problem?

Skyring 11:22 pm 03 Mar 15

JC said :

Think you have missed the point. Sure vehicles have to join Northborne Ave from somewhere, and I even after light rail is built will still be driving my car down Northborne Ave from West Belconnen.

The point is that Northnorne Ave is the main direction flow. Even today as someone that enters Northborne Ave at Antil Street, I and others on that road have priority, in terms of long light phasing that at other intersections. In terms of light rail, as it will be flowing along the main flow, it will have priority anyway.

That’s a given. Nobody’s disputing that.

There are times when the road traffic along Northbourne is stopped to let cross and turning traffic flow. Granted, they are less common during peak hours, but still the traffic lights turn red to Northbourne Avenue traffic every few minutes.

If the tram comes along during these times, and it has absolute priority, then cross and turning traffic must necessarily stop as well. That’s less time available for you to make your right turn from Mouat onto Northbourne. You’re going to be waiting longer because some of the available time is going to be taken up by the tram.

Skyring 11:08 pm 03 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

Skyring said :

It doesn’t matter what traffic on Northbourne Avenue is doing. It’s the traffic on the cross streets that will be interrupted.How do you think cars get onto Northbourne in the first place? They aren’t born on it.

And no, people are not going to stop driving cars, just because there’s a tram running down Northbourne. The city is far too spread out for that.

I’m trying to follow this. So cars crossing don’t interfere with other cars? Nor Buses? Nor the turning cars that back up behind each other or get jammed in the median strip?

Nobody is suggesting people will stop driving cars, it isn’t an either/or.

And yes the city is badly planned. Your solution is more of the same?

I wouldn’t say Canberra is badly planned. On the contrary.

However, it is designed for people driving cars to get around, with buses as public transport.

The basis of Canberra’s planning post 60s was satellite towns, with people working where they live. As a decentralised city, it worked just fine. There was never a rush hour as such. Traffic flowed smoothly, there was plentiful free parking, getting around wasn’t a hassle.

What we need is to get back to the bus system we had in the 80s, and to the town plannng model which applied then. Gungahlin has no major government offices for public service employment: the model is that Gungahlin residents work in Civic.

And we see the unhappy results every morning and every evening.

As for the cross streets along Northbourne Avenue, there are eleven of them, and traffic on them will be slowed and delayed by the tram, which is apparently not going to stop with the regular traffic. That’s going to delay cross traffic and right-turning traffic. Can’t be avoided.

rubaiyat 11:07 pm 03 Mar 15

My greatest concern is the removal of the avenue of trees the entire length of Northbourne Ave.

Which would be avoided if the Light Rail did not use Northbourne, but was a local tram running from Dickson south through Lonsdale Street and through Garema Place as a curbside service.

Not interfering with the trees in the centre of the street, and actually being at the doorstep of all the high rise apartments and restaurants.

rubaiyat 11:00 pm 03 Mar 15

rommeldog56 said :

I dont think its the overhead wires as much as the gantrys that support them. As you point out, given that there are alraedypower poles/wires, street lights, sigage, etc, why on earth would you want to add to that visual pollution with more of the same.

Given that these things already exist visually, is no excuse to add to that.

I’ve seen them. Have you? They are essentially a slim, round, not too tall pole with a cross spar, all in line and evenly spaced. Less obtrusive than Canberra’s light poles.

…and yes we do have telegraph poles. Not everyone lives in the prestige inner suburbs.

Remove unsightly car parks in the city and elsewhere and it is plus, plus, plus.

Skyring 10:44 pm 03 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

It is hypocritical to object to the neat isolated wires for light rail and not object to the mess of telegraph poles, street signs and general ugliness and noise that surrounds the alternative which is cars and buses.

Telegraph poles??????

rommeldog56 10:28 pm 03 Mar 15

danieleatspizza747 said :

rommeldog56 said :

I heard a poll result thats aid about 70% of Gunners residents supported the tram. Fair enough – they live in the area that will benefit from it. But I wonder if anyone in Gunners knows the full story – including the loss of the road capacity as stated here (assuming that is correct) and the probable loss of direct bus sevices into the City via Northborne Avenue ?

Nrver mind re loss of road capacity in Gunners – Ms Fitzharris, the Katy Gallagher replacement for Labor in the LA for Gunners, is already petitioning her own Gov’t/party for more road duplication/widening in Gunners too !

It’s sort of comical really………

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberras-light-rail-infrastructure-work-worth-120m-tipped-to-take-five-years-20141102-11fqpa.html

The narrowing of Flemington Road to one lane each way from south of Lysaght Street was reported in this Canberra times article; I also found it after extensive digging around to find the actual plans.

To quote this article:

“…two car lanes will be reduced to one southbound in Flemington Road between Lysaght Street and Sandford Street.

One bus lane and one car lane between Sandford Street and the Federal Highway will be reduced to one lane and two car lanes will be reduced to one northbound in Flemington Road between Randwick Road and Lysaght Street.”

Quite a loss if you ask me! Truly ironic that Gallagher is petitioning for more road widening in Gungahlin ; you would think that Flemington Road would be the most important route to widen of any. The bus network during the morning peak will really suffer from the loss of the bus lane, there will be no reason for anyone to take the red rapid during that time so I imagine those services will be significantly scaled back or withdrawn completely. Even by 2019 there won’t be enough movements between Gungahlin and the city to justify running both a bus service and a light rail service once every 10-15 minutes.

Which again raises the question of what benefit the light rail will actually bring over buses. In fact, because the trams cannot pass the tram ahead (even if it has broken down) and because trams will stop at every station, all it takes is one tram running late to mess the entire network up. In contrast, buses can easily overtake each other, as is commonly seen around bus stops down Northbourne. Also, there is no reason why people who do not currently take the rapid bus services down Flemington (instead taking those which run through the suburbs and closer to their houses, such as Route 58) would suddenly decide to take the light rail.
It would be considerably more cost effective to simply build more bus lanes; the only benefit of the tram is that it is “kind of cool”.

I also highly doubt that most Gungahlin residents are aware of this plan to narrow Flemington, or have considered the misery of three years of roadworks ahead.

This sounds like a significant reduction in road capacity in/out of Gunners to me, JC !

rommeldog56 10:13 pm 03 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

“telegraph poles”??????
That is exactly the point. Canberra is unique as it has deliberately under-grounded utilities and communications in our beautiful, planned city.
Why wind back the clock 100 years for ugly stanchions and saggy wires.
The starlings and mynas will be writing in soon to vote for the light rail. Have you ever been “guanoed” by a bird?

NOW it is poopy birds that stand in the way? Wow!

What I see in Canberra is acres and acres of unsightly car parking, ticket dispensers and parking signs, eating up very bit of green space it can.

If you can look past that I doubt you will notice the simple poles and thin cables of modern Light Rail.

See for yourself:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-09/what-will-a-private-metro-mean-fo-sydneys-public/5443646

If you can ever get yourself out of that beautiful addition to the Canberra landscape, the automobile and the hectares of bitumen and festive traffic lights and signs.

OMG – its beaudiful. I really can’t wait for Northborne Avenue to look somewhat like this. I wonder how close the ACT Gov’ts artists impressions are to what it will end up looking like in the flesh ?

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