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The roads to chaos

By perkinsp 2 June 2009 28

Back in 1964 looking south from Theodore Street Curtin were empty sheep paddocks stretching as far as the eye can see. The landscape was a blank canvas devoid of any existing structures and few geographical difficulties. Unlike Sydney there were no engineering problems posed by landscapes as challenging as the Blue Mountains, the Ku-ring-gai Chase and waterways. There was an opportunity to build something magnificent, something world class and a chance for Canberra to proudly create an innovative city worthy of the twentieth century and beyond. It could have been a role model for later Canberra neighbourhoods and cities elsewhere. Regrettably we got the sad road system that still exists today – Hindmarsh Gridlock, the Yamba Glacier, Smelrose Crawl and the Drakeford Dyke The only straight line east west road of any decent length in South Canberra is Hindmarsh Drive…whatever were they thinking?

The road planners have now inundated Canberrra with hundreds of sets of traffic lights, and the notion of a ‘green wave’ such as that experienced in Sydney and Melbourne is totally non-existent in the ACT. In fact it is the opposite. Canberra drivers are forced to stop at each set of lights. These primitive two way intersections festooned with outdated timed traffic lights allow up to twelve different traffic flows at each intersection. Usually the green light is so short that only a handful of cars get through an intersection. On other occasions a green light shines on a road completely devoid of cars. I understand that Sydney has over 2000 modern traffic lights which intelligently change lights to manage actual traffic flows. Why doesn’t Canberra have such an efficient system

Since the 1950’s cities all around the world have introduced one way traffic to overcome increasing traffic congestion. A well designed grid system of one way roads south of Yamba Drive could have reduced traffic directions from twelve directions to four directions….straight ahead and right OR straight ahead and left.

Canberra’s wide roads have progressively been officially vandalised by reducing two and three lanes to the dreaded “Lane one Form” format and an (often car sized) bike path. The volume of cars in Canberra is constantly increasing yet our road capacity is effectively cut in half. All this adds to ever increasing amounts of stress and petrol consumption (due to much longer travelling times). Canberra has become just a place waiting for accidents that have to happen.

Pale neutral coloured concrete impediments have also been introduced on the gutterside of many suburban roads. These can be difficult to see, especially at night, as evidenced by skid marks traversing such aberrations. We also have the addition of multiple steel poles with helpful notices advising motorists to keep left to avoid concrete hazzards.

I am sure that many Canberrans would be interested to know what road improvements the ACT Government has in mind to remedy the gridlock situation in South Canberra and elsewhere. Where is a stimulus infrastructure program when you really need one?

Is the ACT Government considering implementing one way roads to reduce traffic directions down from twelve directions down to two directions? Are they considering longer left and right exit lanes? Are they planning underpasses or overpasses especially over congested roundabouts? There are too many issues to list here but I do think Canberrans deserve some answers.

What’s Your opinion?

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28 Responses to
The roads to chaos
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pug206gti 12:10 pm 04 Jun 09

I used to think that the traffic lights synced so you should get a good run of green lights, at least during peak trips. However recent Northbourne trips make me think that it isn’t the thing anymore. Not sure…

astrojax 2:21 pm 03 Jun 09

while i agree that moving into the right lane is the nice thing to do when someone is in the slip lane looking to come onto the parkway (or wherever), it is the obligation of the slip lane driver to merge when safe and what really gets my goat are the drivers who want you to move into the right lane when someone else is there overtaking you and you can’t, but the slip laner insists and almost drives into you, then gives you a filthy look. sheesh.

ant 12:36 pm 03 Jun 09

I figure that being in 1st and 2nd gear all the way from Yass Rd in Qbn, to the Canberra Airport, constitutes heavy/slow traffic. That is a 100 km/hr zone, by the way.

People who take Canberra Avenue from Qbn to south Canberra also get to crawl along, although at least that keeps moving, generally, albeit very slowly.

chewy14 11:57 am 03 Jun 09

Clown Killer said :

I’ll happily speed up a little when merging if there’s some brain-dead muppet dawdling along in the left hand lane oblivious to the fact that traffic is entering from a feeder.

Yeah, i actually think the worst thing you can do when trying to merge onto a major road is slow down.

Clown Killer 11:29 am 03 Jun 09

I’ll happily speed up a little when merging if there’s some brain-dead muppet dawdling along in the left hand lane oblivious to the fact that traffic is entering from a feeder.

Ceej1973 11:13 am 03 Jun 09

shanefos said :

Ceej1973 said :

Clown Killer said :

And what about giving way when leaving a slip ramp onto the Parkway or Adelaide avenue when they cross that broken line, instead of speeding up to 110kmh and assuming someone is gonna let them in just because the indicator is on.

So you’re one of those people that sits in the left hand lane when there is merging traffic. Because it’s oh-so safe for someone to try to enter a stream of traffic travelling at 80kmph from a standing start…
Probably sits in peoples’ blind-spots and ignores their indicators when they try to change lanes too.
Being even vaguely considerate of other drivers on the road is a skill you mustn’t have learned 20 years ago, huh?

You are bieing over presumptios Shanefos. Just cause it annoys me that people speed up to 110kmh in an 80kmz just so they can forse their way in, doesnt mean that I do not share the roads with other road users, contrary to the driving habits of most Canberrans. It was a statement of fact!

Clown Killer 9:43 am 03 Jun 09

Even in the rain this morning and the traffic going a fair bit slower on the Parkway I was still at my office in Kingston by 8.55 after dropping the kids at school.

I had to laugh though at the people who still ‘dabbed’ their brakes out of habit as they passed the speed camera at Hindmarsh Drive – even though the traffic was flowing along nicely at 80km/h.

hax 7:59 am 03 Jun 09

Planning of everything has taken a turn for the worse.

If you want change, vote for the other party. If you don’t like the other party, vote for them anyway and then vote them back out the next time – it’s the only way to send the message that you don’t want ‘more of the same, please’.
(and who knows, once the other guys are in maybe they’ll have a chance to make some changes for the better)

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