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Why Flemington Road needs a transit lane

By Leon Arundell - 22 September 2016 5

FlemingtonRdTurnLanes

Part two of why Canberra needs transit lanes.

Only one of the four lanes on Flemington Road is fully-used by morning peak traffic.

Turning the first sod for Capital Metro’s Mitchell depot, Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said on 12 July that “the project demonstrates the ACT Government’s commitment to addressing congestion now, rather than waiting until the city is gridlocked.”

That billion dollar Capital Metro project will eventually reduce congestion. Its Environmental Impact Statement estimates that by 2031 it will reduce Gungahlin-Civic-Gungahlin peak car commute times by eleven minutes, compared with doing nothing. But in 2021 it will add three minutes to base commute times.

The Minister can address congestion now by fixing the bottleneck at the intersection of Flemington Road and Northbourne Avenue. She can fix this bottleneck by putting T2 signs along 150 metres of the Flemington Road busway.

This T2 lane can cut up to three minutes from car commute times. It will also cut bus travel times if it is combined with a T3 lane near the former Northbourne Avenue Visitor Information Centre, as I explained in Part One. Even more bus time can be saved by transit lanes on the Northbourne Avenue approaches to Antill, Ipima, and Girrawheen Streets

The bottleneck

At the end of the Barton Highway, one kilometre from Flemington Road, fifty vehicles pass through in the two lanes that turn right into Northbourne Avenue, during the minute that the right turn arrows remain green.

But in the same period only forty vehicles pass through the two right turn lanes at the end of Flemington Road. Extra vehicles that arrive along Flemington Road progressively bank up as far as Sandford Street in Mitchell, adding as much as three minutes to the time it takes to drive the 1.3 kilometres from there to Northbourne Avenue.

The Flemington Road intersection could accommodate fifty right-turning vehicles, if twenty-five vehicles could queue up in each of two lanes. One of those lanes is currently only long enough for eight vehicles. The result, as shown in the photo above, is that only one of the two right turn lanes operates close to its capacity.

A T2 lane can fix it

The rightmost turning lane will operate at full capacity if traffic in the single lane from Mitchell is directed into it.

A T2 lane will allow the intermediate turning lane, between the rightmost turning lane and the bus lane, to also operate at close to full capacity. The intermediate turning lane currently accommodates eight vehicles. Seventeen or more additional vehicles – cars with passengers, buses, taxis, motorcycles, left-turning vehicles, and drivers who risk being fined – will be able to queue in the T2 lane, move smoothly into the intermediate lane, and turn right into Northbourne Avenue while the lights are green.

Even if fifty vehicles arrive while traffic lights are red, they will all be able to get through while the lights are green, without causing a traffic backup.

The time savings offered by each transit lane will encourage more car drivers to become car or bus passengers. Each driver who becomes a passenger will reduce congestion at every intersection along the route.

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
Why Flemington Road needs a transit lane
John Moulis 4:22 pm 23 Dec 16

Flemington Road was originally a dirt track from Northbourne Ave to the racecourse (pre Thoroughbred Park). It was then sealed as a single lane country road and came to a dead end. When Gungahlin was developed it was extended through to the town centre. It was never intended to be a major arterial road. Why it wasn’t upgraded and turned into a divided road with two lanes in each direction is a total mystery.

rommeldog56 9:04 am 23 Dec 16

Leon Arundell said :

Transport Grinch Meegan Fitzharris will condemn Canberra’s bus commuters, and all Gungahlin’s commuters, to two more years of unnecessary travel delays. On 21 December the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate acknowledged “that during the period of [light rail] construction there will be delays in transit between Gungahlin and Civic,” and confirmed that Grinch Fitzharris has again refused to consider using inexpensive transit lanes to reduce traffic delays.

Well, ACT voters put Labor/Greens back in, despite these plans. Especially so for voters/ratepayers in Gungahlin – a bastion of ACT Labor support. So, the good people of Gungahlin will have to suck it up I suppose.

Besides it will be little different to what will happen when the Tram crosses the Lake on its way to Woden. As I understand it, one lane of Commonwealth Ave bridge each way will be Tram dedicated. And no study (as there was for Tram stage 1) to gauge the impact on traffic and congestion either…..

You voted for it Canberra !

dungfungus 8:41 am 23 Dec 16

Leon Arundell said :

Transport Grinch Meegan Fitzharris will condemn Canberra’s bus commuters, and all Gungahlin’s commuters, to two more years of unnecessary travel delays. Converting part of the Flemington Road bus lane to a transit lane would increase traffic flow through the intersection of Flemington Road and Northbourne Avenue. That would cut several minutes from peak travel times for private vehicles. Converting strategic sections of the left lane of Northbourne Avenue to T3 lanes would cut several minutes from bus travel times, without affecting other traffic. On 21 December the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate acknowledged “that during the period of [light rail] construction there will be delays in transit between Gungahlin and Civic,” and confirmed that Grinch Fitzharris has again refused to consider using inexpensive transit lanes to reduce traffic delays.

It doesn’t matter how “inexpensive” the transit lanes are, the fact is the government it broke and adding deficits of $100m a year to the disaster so expect nothing.

Leon Arundell 8:24 am 23 Dec 16

Transport Grinch Meegan Fitzharris will condemn Canberra’s bus commuters, and all Gungahlin’s commuters, to two more years of unnecessary travel delays. Converting part of the Flemington Road bus lane to a transit lane would increase traffic flow through the intersection of Flemington Road and Northbourne Avenue. That would cut several minutes from peak travel times for private vehicles. Converting strategic sections of the left lane of Northbourne Avenue to T3 lanes would cut several minutes from bus travel times, without affecting other traffic. On 21 December the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate acknowledged “that during the period of [light rail] construction there will be delays in transit between Gungahlin and Civic,” and confirmed that Grinch Fitzharris has again refused to consider using inexpensive transit lanes to reduce traffic delays.

wildturkeycanoe 7:23 am 23 Sep 16

The real question is “Why does Flemington Road have congestion in the first place?”
It is because in the morning everybody from Gungahlin is trying to get to Civic and the parliamentary triangle. Instead of looking for more ways to move all these people to and fro, why doesn’t the government look for ways to avoid them having to move at all?
If government departments were spread out across Canberra and people could work in their own suburban business hub instead of conglomerating in the City, there would be less need for traffic improvements. But in its wisdom the politicians and business leaders bring all their infrastructure to one central? location, knowing full well that people are living where it is affordable, or where they believe is a better place to raise their families. Not all public servants who spend 40+ hours a week staring out their windows at bleak, grey building exteriors want to return home to an apartment that has the exact same view. They want to live in quiet suburban streets with playgrounds and parks in walking distance, with the surrounding mountain ranges for a wallpaper. Unfortunately though, to afford this lifestyle they must spend hours every day stuck with all the rest of the workforce battling each other for pole position at the lights.
I believed in the past there were plans to create satellite branches of government in these town centers, but that has all gone the way of the dodo through the centralization of services. Now, instead of going to your local shops to deal with government departments, you have to join the rest of Canberra and go across town to their “one-stop-shop” for a multitude of social services. They have created their own monster and their solution is to spend more money exasperating the issue by developing even more high rise business along these congestion areas.
Why does a government employee need to travel 20km to sit in an office and work on a computer that is connected via the net to the rest of the world? They can do that from an office in Belconnen, Gungahlin or Tuggeranong, even from home if the infrastructure is there. Is it purely for social interaction that they need to be on the 3rd floor of the “such and such” building? How easy is it to log on from home and do your 8 hours connected to the server with the convenience of dropping the kids off during a smoko break?
Technology was supposed to make life easier, but it seems to have compounded the problems of commuting instead.

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