Roaming car window washers are no longer allowed to ply their trade at major intersections along Northbourne Avenue due to the arrival of the light rail this weekend.
Window washing has been banned at five intersections along the light rail corridor, including the Flemington Road and Federal Highway intersection, Barton Highway and Federal Highway intersection, Antil Street and Northbourne Avenue, Wakefield Avenue and Northbourne Avenue and Barry Drive and Northbourne Avenue intersection.
Signs posted along the five intersections by Transport Canberra and the ACT Government stated that “due to light rail safety concerns, it is now an offence to undertake on-road commercial activities within 50 metres of the intersections”.
On-road commercial activities include window washing, displaying ads, selling or offering items for sale, hitchhiking or seeking contributions or employment from someone in a vehicle.
The ACT Government said undertaking these activities could result in court action or an infringement penalty of $75.
A Transport Canberra spokesperson said the legislation prohibiting on-road commercial activities at the five “high-risk” intersections has been in effect since October last year and the approach to date has been to educate the community about the change in legislation.
“Light rail safety is of paramount priority,” the spokesperson said. “The intention is to ensure pedestrian safety across the entire light rail alignment. This new section regulation is due to safety concerns for pedestrians obstructing traffic and interacting with the light rail.
“The five intersections represent intersections and specific locations where light rail services are active and provide the greatest safety concerns to members of the public who provide on-road commercial activities.”
The spokesperson said the new legislation was a result of lengthy consultation with community groups, AFP, ACT Policing, the Human Rights Commission, Canberra Metro, Community Services Directorate and Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate.
The ACT is the only jurisdiction that currently allows a person to solicit contributions, employment or business from a person in a vehicle or wash or clean or offer to clean the windscreen of a vehicle, without a permit.
The spokesperson said notifications have been sent out to community groups and charity organisations informing the recent changes to laws in the territory relating to pedestrians undertaking on-road commercial activities.
We’ll move to another intersection, window washers say
Simon, who has been a window washer at the intersection of Barry Drive and Northbourne Avenue for over a dozen years, said he plans to move to a different intersection along the corridor.
He said he had heard through word-of-mouth from his friends that they would have to move to a different intersection.
“I haven’t been told which five intersections we have been banned from,” he said. “My mate got told by some government person that he couldn’t work on the straight on Northbourne Avenue.
“I would expect them to come to tell me but they haven’t.
“I have been working at this intersection for 12 or 13 years and I haven’t been hit before so I don’t see why I would now.”