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Speed limits all over the place around the airport

By Sgt.Bungers - 2 January 2011 45

An open letter to the ACT Government (also emailed directly to government and opposition transport ministers. Their responses will be posted here.)

Speed limits around the airport vary between 60km/h, 70km/h, 80km/h. Currently, speed limits can vary on the same stretch of for vehicles heading in different directions. Speed limits can be different for motorists travelling in the same direction along the same stretch of road, depending on how they’ve entered the road.

The ACT Government has the most speed cameras in the country per capita on our roads, we are more policed than any other people when it comes to the speed limit. We have just had the second worst road toll in a decade… we are still bombarded with “slow down” “obey the speed limit” “if only motorists would just get the message”.

Yet despite this high level of enforcement, and high level of education, the ACT Government appears to have absolutely no quality assurance process when it comes to the final and perhaps most important stage of setting a speed limit… putting up speed limit signs.

The included map is a rough guide I’ve put together showing the speed limits around the airport as currently signposted. As you can see, in three locations, the speed limit is different for different directions of motor vehicle traffic on the same road. In all three of those locations, the road is a two way, undivided road.

If a person driving a motor car mistakes the speed limit to be something other than signposted, they’ll receive a monitory penalty, be awarded demerit points, possibly lose their licence, their job, their home, receive a criminal record… then penalties can be severe.

When ACT government employees or contractors are careless when it comes to installing speed limit signs, or fails to verify a posted speed limit is consistent… what is their punishment, if any?
A government who is complacent when it comes to building and signposting roads, is going to encourage complacency among drivers.

Suggestions for ACT Gov:
• Immediately fix the signage around the airport so that speed limits are consistent and not changing up to 6 times in 4.5km (as is currently the case for westbound traffic travelling along Pialligo Ave)
• Audit your speed limit signage quality assurance process. How did this particular scenario happen and why?
• Investigate the viability of changing all speed limits on roads around the airport to 70km/h. Including:
o Majura road past Brand Depot.
o The top end of the Monaro Highway and Morshead Drive.
o The brief ~200m 80km/h zone at the south eastern end of the airport on Pialligo Ave.
o Fairburn Ave from ADFA to the War Memorial (most motorists appear to travel at 70km/h on this road, there are no driveways or access points along most of it.)

More consistent road safety and speed limit signage standards that are clearly thought out, are more likely to be respected and obeyed by an intelligent population.

What’s Your opinion?


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45 Responses to
Speed limits all over the place around the airport
H1NG0 5:00 pm 03 Jan 11

“Majura Road – It changes from 90 to 80, North Bound approaching the Federal Highway. The road gets wider and smoother in the 80 zone? Do most people slow down to 80? 3 guesses. And now I await the flak from road safety experts.”

I have to totally agree with this. I find it strange that the 90 zone of Majura road is good enough for that speed, but as soon as it turns into Horse Park drive where it is smoother and wider, it drops to 80kph.

vg 4:57 pm 03 Jan 11

“I think you’ll find that most drivers ignore the speed limits around the ACT, when they are illogical or overzealous”

I think you’ll find that’s complete bull. The majority of ACT drivers adhere to the speed limit, exemplified by the % that actually get fined for not doing so. If most ignored them then statistically 51% of more would be fined each year, which doesn’t happen.

I have relations who have been driving in the ACT since the early 60s and have never been fined for speeding, and none of them drive like ‘nannas’. If you are getting booked for speeding in this town more often than not its through your own inattention, ignorance or stupidity

ppd 3:04 pm 03 Jan 11

Dragon is right: “I think you’ll find that most drivers ignore the speed limits around the ACT, when they are illogical or overzealous.”

I think both the ACT roads and traffic management authorities and ACT drivers need criticising.

Anyone who drives on ACT roads knows that most ACT drivers ignore the speed limits, particularly road project/construction areas signed 40 km/h. And where the signed speed limits are logical and appropriate, drivers tend to go 5-10+ km/h over. AND, drivers who follow the rules are subject to aggressive behaviour.

As a rule, I have always followed speed limits. But since moving to Canberra from Melbourne, I’ve found I now more frequently use ‘common sense’ to determine what speed I should go – because the speed limits the authorities here set often can’t be relied on as sensible and logical guides. As a result, driving here requires more greater focus and alertness, and I think it’s no wonder that drivers here tend to display more aggro. And that’s not to mention drivers’ inconsistent approaches to indicating, merging and what have you – I diverge, I could go on here…

One of the best examples of ACT authorities setting an inappropriate speed limit and drivers subsequently ignoring it is around the new Russell flyover. The percentage of drivers who follow the 40 km/h speed limit here would be minuscule.

As I see it, there’s incompetence on both the government and drivers’ behalf.

I think, one, ACT drivers must cut the idiotic agro towards drivers who obey the rules, particularly speed limits (regardless of if you think they’re inappropriate). And two, the ACT authorities need to be take more care in setting fitting speed limits so that drivers become less inclined to ignore them because they’re beyond common sense.

Lastly, I call for a dialogue on improving driving on ACT roads!!!

sepi 2:40 pm 03 Jan 11

Macarthur Ave where it changes from 80 to 60 with the speed sign tucked in near the roundabout is a speed change that many don’t notice also – and the police catch quite a few…yours truly included.

madamcholet 12:43 pm 03 Jan 11

All of the speed limits could do with an audit.

There is a lot of inconsistency with speed limits as the OP says.

My bug bear is Fairbairn Ave. It goes along behind Campbell at 60km which is unnecessary as it’s not residential or even remotely pedestrian. It has a bus stop, but its set back from the road and access to the bus stop is from behind rather than the road side. It’s one of those roads that it is actually really difficult to maintain the correct speed on and most people do at least 70. It should be 70. 60 on this road just feels like you are crawling along – not that I speed, but sometimes you just have to be more realistic.

Also needs to be some attention paid to removing road work signs when the need to reduce speed is over or not necessary.

s-s-a 11:00 am 03 Jan 11

I wish they would mark speed changes actually ON the road as they do in NSW.

Obviously, turning from a suburban street onto a main road the speed will change, but I am more talking about speed limit changes for traffic continuing on the same road – eg Canberra Ave between Manuka and Queanbeyan, Hindmarsh Drive change to 60 in the vicinity of Woden, Parkes Way change from 90 to 80 near New Acton.

Joew 10:51 am 03 Jan 11

“The ACT Government has the most speed cameras in the country per capita on our roads, we are more policed than any other people when it comes to the speed limit.”

Sgt.Bungers, you obviously haven’t been to Melbourne?!!

thatsnotme 10:25 am 03 Jan 11

This is something I’ve been thinking about recently too, but more in relation to 50km/h zones. I can really see on rhyme or reason as to how the decision is made when it comes to deciding whether a road will have a 50 km/h or 60 km/h limit. Just in my area alone, you can drive down Southern Cross Drive towards Kippax, then you have the options to:

* Turn left into Starke St – 60km/h, quite a wide road, residential and business along it;
* Turn left into Beaurepaire Cres – 50km/h, quite a wide road, residential and business along it, no longer has a school on it;
* Turn right onto O’Reilly St, then left or right onto Osbourne Drive – 60 km/h on both, lots of residential on both sides of the road, intersections on the crests of hills, some corners with not very good visibility;
* Turn left onto Spofforth St – 50km/h, big, straight wide road, residential on one side only, with the golf course on the other, houses well set back from the road.

And the white van is often seen on Spofforth, likely the safest piece of road out of any of the above. I’d love to know the last time there was an accident on that road…

Thoroughly Smashed 10:21 am 03 Jan 11

“Also, the intelligent people of the ACT Government have replaced the 90km/h speed limit signs between DFO and Queanbeyan westbound with 80km/h signs, when there is no need for a reduced speed limit – in fact there is no reason it cannot be 100km/h.”

Except for the fact there’s a set of traffic lights there, but let’s not let road design standards get in the way of a good rant.

beejay76 8:30 am 03 Jan 11

Yes, this sort of thing has been getting right on my tits lately, too. Is it getting worse?? I have no problem with speed cameras and so forth, but inconsistent, badly signposted and illogical changes in speed limits make it extremely difficult for a driver to maintain the legal speed. I’ve never been booked for speeding, and I’d like to keep it that way!

sexynotsmart 1:44 am 03 Jan 11

Wow, a cogent and concise set of suggestions.

I had to do a Sydney daytrip just before Christmas. Was the first time I’ve driven out that way for some time. The signs that jerked me around were those intended to show the short-term parking entrance. After dutifully doing two loops of the new Virgin terminal, I ignored the signs and went with gut feel. Result: parked in 60 seconds!

Back to the op and noting that the same missive went to some Ministerial types… you may want to enter your suggestions at https://www.contact.act.gov.au/app/ask. You’ll always get scintillating and incisive commentary at Riot Act. And a Minister may commission an audit of sorts. But you may get some quick roadsign changes from the dutiful functionaries at act.gov.au.

Dragon 12:43 am 03 Jan 11

I think you’ll find that most drivers ignore the speed limits around the ACT, when they are illogical or overzealous. The inconsistent speed limits that you mention are prime examples. What about the extended 80 zone northbound on the Monaro Highway (the opposite side of the Gaol)? It used to be 100 km/h until the gaol was built, and I suppose the justification is the merging lane for those exiting the gaol?

Of course, being incompetent Canberrans who have never merged onto the Hume Highway with a speed limit of 110, 80 is necessary for those 5 people who will use that merging lane on any given day. And the white van which regularly sits in that zone is definitely there for safety (cough cough) purposes.

Majura Road – It changes from 90 to 80, North Bound approaching the Federal Highway. The road gets wider and smoother in the 80 zone? Do most people slow down to 80? 3 guesses. And now I await the flak from road safety experts.

alloneword 10:01 pm 02 Jan 11

Reminds me of this:

http://the-riotact.com/roadworks-signs-ummmm-ok-then/25188

80 then the road work ends 20 meters down the road.

squashee 9:38 pm 02 Jan 11

Also, the intelligent people of the ACT Government have replaced the 90km/h speed limit signs between DFO and Queanbeyan westbound with 80km/h signs, when there is no need for a reduced speed limit – in fact there is no reason it cannot be 100km/h.

I am just waiting to see the white van there. They will catch 8 out of 10 cars exceeding the reduced speed limit.

screaming banshee 9:36 pm 02 Jan 11

Got bit by double demerits did we?

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