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What are the worst traffic lights in Canberra?

By Crazed_Loner - 22 October 2014 40

By the ‘worst’, I mean the most frustrating and disruptive, the ones that always seem to be red, no matter from which direction you approach them, and particularly if it’s on the more important road of the two at an intersection.  The ones which really get on your wick.

My own ‘top two’ are the Hindmarsh Drive-Dalrymple St-Mugga Lane intersection, followed very closely by the Gungahlin Drive-The Valley Ave-Kosciuszko Ave.  I hate that latter one with a passion and go out of my way to avoid it.

What about yours?  Have a good vent.  But seriously, maybe this could highlight some fundamental road or traffic signal design issues and might lead to the ACT Government taking action to improve them.  Or not.

What’s Your opinion?

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40 Responses to
What are the worst traffic lights in Canberra?
Southmouth 7:45 am 23 Oct 14

Smart lights are the way to go. Would be a much better way to spend a billion than a on a tram.

wildturkeycanoe 5:15 am 23 Oct 14

My gripe is with every single traffic light on roads with 80km/h limit. Unless you put the pedal down at the first green and do 90km/h, you will not get a run of greens turning amber but instead stop at every intersection. I don’t know if this is a ploy to encourage speeding for more revenue raising but it HAS to be by design and not just an accident.
That being said, for specifics I can name the Brisbane Avenue and National Circuit lights heading towards the lake. It will be green forever and turn red just before you get there to allow invisible cars to pass before your eyes.

bigred 12:13 am 23 Oct 14

Lady Denman Drive to the arboretum intersection. These were installed as a temporary measure during GDE construction and have never been removed.

quostatus 9:19 pm 22 Oct 14

Ginninderra Drive heading East in the morning seems to have no priority. You hit a red – usually from one car – at Aikman, Allawoona and Braybrooke. You expect a red at the Haydon Drive intersection but the others are just frustrating and annoying.

Masquara 9:00 pm 22 Oct 14

Bottom of Anzac Parade. The timing is off. Instead of waiting for three seconds from the “turn left green” arrow until the “go straight ahead” green light, it’s about six seconds.

JC 8:45 pm 22 Oct 14

BenjaminRose1991 said :

1. The intersection of Kingsford Smith drive and Ginninderra Drive approaching from the east. Lights randomly go red when there are no cars waiting at or approaching the intersection from other directions. Noticed after usually after 7pm. Hypersensitive induction sensors?

Nope, no faulty sensor, just normal behaviour.

All traffic lights have a default direction. Basically if they receive no traffic for a period of time they will revert to this direction. On the ones you mention the default direction is east (city bound) along Gininderra Drive. They also have to change in set sequence sequence. They can miss a sequence, but if a vehicle arrives at the missed sequence whilst a later sequence has green lights it will return to default sequence before the missed sequence can get a green.

For example on the lights you mention, lets say it is 11pm and the lights are on the default sequence no vehicles around. Then a car then arrives on Kingsford Smith wanting to go straight, then say 5 seconds later a car comes from the opposite direction wanting to turn. What will happen is the car going straight will tell the lights it wants to go straight, the lights will pretty quickly give the default sequence an amber followed by red. Now even though the turning car has arrived before the straight direction gets the green the lights would have already decided who goes next, so straight gets green. The lights then return to default, for about 10 second of green then service the turning car.

If however the turning car arrived first followed by the straight heading car the turning car would get green first, followed by straight before returning to default.

Oh PS like many here I do wish that after certain hours intersections like this one would not present turning lights, would make things so much better.

As mentioned this example is when traffic is light, eg between 7pm and around 6.30am. Between 6.30 and 7pm, each direction gets a longer run through the lights and generally traffic comes from all directions meaning the lights generally just follow a fixed sequence.

charmer88 8:31 pm 22 Oct 14

The traffic lights at Dickson Pl and Cowper St, as well as the ones coming off Kuringa Dr onto the Barton Highway drive me nuts. If you miss the green light, you can be waiting up to 5 minutes at them.

BenjaminRose1991 7:10 pm 22 Oct 14

1. The intersection of Kingsford Smith drive and Ginninderra Drive approaching from the east. Lights randomly go red when there are no cars waiting at or approaching the intersection from other directions. Noticed after usually after 7pm. Hypersensitive induction sensors?

2. The intersection of Gungahlin drive and Sandford street. Heading both north and south.

Inappropriate intersection design.

It along with the Gungahlin Drive-Wells Station drive intersection should be ‘bypassed’ for the northbound lanes like Belconnen way westbound lanes bypasses the intersection at Haydon drive. (I would extend this to the southbound lanes on Gungahlin drive with its intersection with Kosciuszko avenue.

A digression I know. Sorry.

Innovation 6:29 pm 22 Oct 14

As far as sequencing is concerned, Northbourne Avenue lights! I realise that you can’t please everyone all of the time but I can’t help feel that the lights are based on an average speed above 60km/h. The average speed should be closer to 50 to 55km/h (depending on peak hour) to accommodate heavier traffic and discourage speeding/red light running. (As well, during peak hours, I think right hand turns and cross traffic should be banned at all but about four or five intersections).

As for the most dangerous intersection, for a relatively new one, the Belconnen Way/GDE lights are a shocker. The turns are too long and the lights don’t even stay green long enough for the lead car to make it across.

Pork Hunt 6:19 pm 22 Oct 14

Who ever designed the intersection of Barrier St/Newcastle St/Tennant St deserves special mention if not a special place in hell.

Antagonist 6:04 pm 22 Oct 14

There are two sets that regularly taunt me – and only ever in the mornings. And the sad part is that I know exactly what confirmation bias is …

1. Drakeford Drive and Soward Way intersection, northbound. I cannot remember the last time I had a clean run through that intersection in the morning.
2. Drakeford Drive northbound, turning right onto Athllon Drive. The lights in the morning rarely stay green for long enough to clear the slip lane of all turning traffic and often leaves cars stuck in no-mans land trying to get into the slip lane. The cops would have a field day catching two or three cars at a time trying to run the orange/red gauntlet on every cycle, rather than waiting 2-3 minutes for the lights to cycle through again.

Postalgeek 5:45 pm 22 Oct 14

I’m not claiming they’re the worst in Canberra, but I have a special hatred for the Captain Cook/Stuart St lights. Spiteful lights. May they melt in hell.

HenryBG 4:58 pm 22 Oct 14

Northbourne Avenue. Heading North, usually, every single light changes to red as I approach it.

Rollersk8r 3:07 pm 22 Oct 14

Mine would be Coulter Drive generally – near impossible to get a straight run through there. Yes, it intersects with two other major drives – but always seems to be the minor sets, at Nettlefold and at Joynton Smith, that get you.

Leon 3:05 pm 22 Oct 14

However ‘bad’ traffic signals are for drivers, the pedestrian signals are almost always worse.

Drivers on Northbourne Avenue may have to wait almost two minutes for a right turn signal.
Pedestrians making an equivalent diagonal turn can wait 30 seconds for a first green signal, wait another 90 seconds after the signal goes red while they are crossing the median, and then wait again for a green signal that allows them to complete their turn.

At mid-block crossings (e.g. Wattle Street), the pedestrian signals have a extra built-in delay between when the pedestrian button is pushed and when the vehicle signals commence to change – even if it’s been ten minutes since the last car came along.

The pedestrian crossing across Barry Drive at Marcus Clarke St doesn’t allow enough time for pedestrians to complete their crossing. So they are legally required to wait for the next cycle.

The pedestrian crossing across Barry Drive at Kingsley St has a special 7 second delay, to give priority to taxis or motorcycles that illegally proceed forward from the right-turning bus lane.

Many pedestrians, out of courtesy for drivers, cross against red signals without pressing the pedestrian button. Their other option is to press the button, wait for the the road to clear, and continue waiting until more cars arrive in time to be delayed when the pedestrian signal finally goes green.

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