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The Pialligo roundabout is dead

By SheepGroper - 7 August 2009 16

Although its ghost lingered on in the form of a circle of barriers long after the roundabout itself had been removed, even the ghost is now gone.

A shiny new set of traffic lights are now controling the intersection of Picturesque Pialligo and boy does it feel strange approaching it at speed when habit demands you slow down to peer around first.

If you’re heading towards Civic there’s still a one metre merge lane for the outer lane to filter into the continuing lane, so there’s still potential for damage if drivers don’t pay attention – coffee drinking while driving lady, yes I’m looking at you.

What’s Your opinion?


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16 Responses to
The Pialligo roundabout is dead
dvaey 12:51 pm 08 Aug 09

MrPC said :

Isabella/Drakeford once kept me stuck for a good 10 minutes southbound on Drakeford at 5:10pm, about two months ago. There was too much traffic coming out of Tuggers into the roundabout that those coming south off the Parkway just couldn’t get into the intersection.

Well, I got stuck at the traffic lights out the front of Flinders St Station in Melbourne for 30min at 5pm because of traffic lights. At high traffic times, sometimes road designs cant handle the load, no matter how well you design them. Thats just part of life.. Why completely redesign a road, because for a 10-min period everyday, some people have to wait upto 10min. The one thing you will notice though, is that even though you wait 10min, you are generally crawling along for that time. If you get stuck at traffic lights, you might move once or twice, but its more of a surge than a smooth flow.

MrPC said :

The only set of lights that I really want to see replaced just now is that useless set at Mugga Lane and Monaro Highway. I certainly wouldn’t replace it with a roundabout though, since even less northbound traffic on the Monaro would get through than does now.

Because, the round-about at Isabella/Monaro or Johnson/Monaro are so bad? What makes you think that a round-about at Mugga Ln/Monaro wouldnt flow as easily as the two roundabouts I mentioned? If you think these roundabouts cause backed up traffic, check some of the speed camera threads here and youll often see people caught speeding into the round-about because theyre still doing above 80 by the time they reach the entry lane.

Roundabouts generally do provide better traffic control, but only if drivers are sensible and educated enough to know how to use them. The biggest problem with roundabouts occurs when people dont understand how to use them, and either dont merge at appropriate speeds, stop before merging, turn from the wrong lane, etc.

cranky 10:37 am 08 Aug 09

The lights at the Monaro Highway/Mugga Lane are heavily biased in favour of Monaro Highway northbound morning traffic.

2 and a half minutes for the Monaro, 20 seconds for Mugga Lane. Probably a fair split, but causes a considerable bank up of Mugga Lane traffic.

Not helped by the goose travelling northbound on the Monaro who decided to do a ‘U’ey at this intersection. Mayhem ensued, at 80K’s.

Gungahlin Al 11:12 pm 07 Aug 09

Roundabouts are OK in balanced traffic flows, but crash in unbalanced and peak flows.

Where there is a dominant flow (such as along Majura Rd past Brand Depot because of course hardly anyone goes in there…) the roundabout just slows down the dominant flow, while the minor flow doesn’t get a look in – witness Kings Ave.

And lights can be adjusted for different time periods to give greater precedence to peak flows at peak times, yet still give the minor flows a chance.

Roundabouts are simply over-rated.

bd84 10:19 pm 07 Aug 09

on roads like parkes way and morshead drive the fewer roundabouts the better, the ones at coranderrk st and kings avenue need replacing with over/underpasses and link roads as soon as possible. Maybe the Government will finally learn that merging lanes should be as long as possible to allow traffic to flow. I think pigs will fly first though.

MrPC 10:07 pm 07 Aug 09

Isabella/Drakeford once kept me stuck for a good 10 minutes southbound on Drakeford at 5:10pm, about two months ago. There was too much traffic coming out of Tuggers into the roundabout that those coming south off the Parkway just couldn’t get into the intersection.

Thank $DEITY I don’t have to use that roundabout in peak hour daily.

The only set of lights that I really want to see replaced just now is that useless set at Mugga Lane and Monaro Highway. I certainly wouldn’t replace it with a roundabout though, since even less northbound traffic on the Monaro would get through than does now. That one needs an overpass from southbound on Monaro to westbound on Mugga, and a give way sign from eastbound on Mugga to Southbound on Monaro.

There are a whole lot of roundabouts I’d like to see replaced by -anything- else. Three way roundabouts on main roads in general should be given bypass lanes in one direction and over/underpasses in the other, assuming we’re talking about the main traffic flow being straight ahead on the main road. We have plenty of bypass lanes, but that just creates worse problems for the traffic flow heading in the opposite direction, with no break from turning traffic.

I’d definitely give that sort of treatment to every roundabout between Pialligo and Civic on Morshead/Parkes. There are too many roundabouts between the Airport and the City. Up until the other day there were 7 roundabouts to contend with up until the big one at Corranderrk Street. That’s about 7 too many IMHO. At least they are looking at doing something at Morshead/Parkes/Kings. That still leaves 5, and 5 too many.

ant 9:32 pm 07 Aug 09

MrPC said :

They actually had to have a flagman there stopping the traffic from the airport/queanbeyan from entering the roundabout so that people that work at Snowtown or who otherwise need to get to the Airport could even enter the roundabout in the first place!

Actually, the flagmen were originally hired by Guideline after local residents and business-owners complained that they coudln’t get out of the road due to the traffic roaring in from the airport end, and the way traffic queued up across that roundabout. There were stories of cars waiting 15 minutes to get out, and traffic banked back up the raod.

The flagmen then started preventing traffic from queuing across the intersection so more directions could flow.

I am not a supporter of lights in general, but sadly this intersection needed the lights.

Anna Key 9:17 pm 07 Aug 09

On the subject of poor planning, why were the Hindmarsh-Jerra Ave lights being switched on and off yesterday without any police to monitor the intersection? Given the traffic flow through there I would have thought it would have been prudent to have the police controlling traffic than a more laissez-faire approach

Anna Key 9:14 pm 07 Aug 09

OYM said :

I’m not a traffic engineer

From my trip home today from the Fed Hwy via Majura and Monaro Hwy, neither is anyone in ACT roads. Interesting though the change in thinking. The Isabella-Drakeford intersection was changed from lights to a roundabout. Not sure that change was entirely beneficial in retrospect. Although any roundabout in a 80kph zone is good for some sideways drifting

MrPC 7:04 pm 07 Aug 09

Should’ve built an interchange – and learnt from the Glenloch mistakes.

It’s too low to the waterline to have built an underpass (with a river and a creek a few metres away) and it’s too close to the airport for a 3 stack overpass (to avoid the mistakes of Glenloch). You’d only be able to build a 2 level overpass there (if the money and inclination existed). 2 levels isn’t enough with 4 approach roads each having 3 possible routes. The best you could do is have an overpass for one priority flow and a roundabout underneath it, but if you did that, nobody would be able to get in or out of Pialligo during peak hour with all the rat runners from Queanbeyan plus the Airport arrivals turning right/north monopolising the hypothetical roundabout’s traffic flow.

MrPC 6:58 pm 07 Aug 09

Roundabouts are absolutely lousy at busy intersections. Canberra is proof of that. You have to slow to about 30km/h to swing around the roundabout regardless of whether it’s midnight with no traffic or whether it’s peak hour and traffic is moving steadily at 40-50ish. They cause delays. They prioritise absurd traffic flows and offer no priority to priority traffic flows.

The traffic at Pialligo the last few days has been a dream compared to my experience of the last eight months. Typically in the morning getting from the Monaro Highway to Snowtown involved a 5km/h stop start crawl all the way from the new bridge to the roundabout, because of heavy traffic leaving the airport heading up towards Majura Road or Fairbairn Ave. All that traffic (presumably folks from Queanbeyan rat running Canberra Avenue to get to/past the War Memorial) got priority over people trying to get into their office 1km down the road.

They actually had to have a flagman there stopping the traffic from the airport/queanbeyan from entering the roundabout so that people that work at Snowtown or who otherwise need to get to the Airport could even enter the roundabout in the first place!

The traffic lights now let you cruise through at 70 almost all of the time. If only it was as simple as that though, since the speed limit there is still 40 to protect the nonexistant (most hours of the day and night) construction workers.

OYM 5:11 pm 07 Aug 09

I’m not a traffic engineer, but my understanding is that roundabouts work well in certain circumstances and poorly in others and it depends on the traffic flow. The Pialligo roundabout has an uneven and heavy traffic flow and may be better served, at least for now, by lights.

Hopefully the new westbound cycle lane has an off ramp so that cyclists can jump back on to the cyclepath.

youami 4:42 pm 07 Aug 09

fnaah said :

roundabouts control traffic flow a lot more efficiently than lights

Interesting, since a rounbdabout doesn’t control traffic at all, and traffic lights do.

Can’t wait until that second lane is open though, that will be the real test as to how well the traffic flow is managed.

Fair point you make fnaah, although, I think your point is nonetheless flawed. But so is my use of the word ‘control’ so let me suggest an alternative word. You see lights don’t control traffic either; a driver has control of the vehicle at both roundabouts and lights, drivers can chose to give way at roundabouts or not, and drivers can chose to stop at lights or not. Line markings on the road, either broken at roundabouts or continuous at lights are practically the same in terms of controlling a vehicle.

Let me suggest rather that roundabouts *direct* traffic flow better than lights. And this is true because with lights vehicles need to stop at a red light in a pre-determined loop, so it is arbitrary regardless of traffic volume and flow or not. At roundabouts traffic can merge and do not need to stop unnecessarily. Of course, roundabouts have to be designed properly with entry and exit points clearly marked etc etc. Oh and drivers who know how to use them.

Why are roundabouts used more often than not in Europe, especially in the UK. Population and traffic clearly greater than Canberra!

c9 3:01 pm 07 Aug 09

Should’ve built an interchange – and learnt from the Glenloch mistakes.

fnaah 2:47 pm 07 Aug 09

roundabouts control traffic flow a lot more efficiently than lights

Interesting, since a rounbdabout doesn’t control traffic at all, and traffic lights do.

Can’t wait until that second lane is open though, that will be the real test as to how well the traffic flow is managed.

youami 1:25 pm 07 Aug 09

Shame though as roundabouts control traffic flow a lot more efficiently than lights, especially when lights are installed here in the ACT there is a habit of installing stupid bloody arrows for all turning traffic no matter the road conditions! Some large wide busy roads I can understand, but small intersections like this (and the one at Glenora Dr for eg. arrow when turning from Queanbeyan)? Arrgh! Even intersections in Sydney have their arrows either turned off outside of peak periods etc or only activate green if vehicles are waiting for a while to turn, even Queanbeyan lights along Canberra Av turn off their arrows. I wonder if Gershon needs to check the efficiency of intersections where traffic is unnecessarily stopped because of arrows, not to mention pollution and time-is-money. But it looks like we are all going to be controlled to the n-th degree, no wonder Canberras are ridiculed in other states for driving poorly. Pialligo roundabout R.I.P.

P.S. They have put lights at the two intersections that actually worked well with roundabouts IMHO (just needed more lanes to get to them) yet they have kept the roundabout closer to Civic where there is a disproportionate amount of traffic turning from Civic (Morsehead Dr) across towards Monaro (Dairy Rd). In fact they made two lanes turn right so it is more difficult to cross the roundabout. Go figure.

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