Childers Street, City West, has recently been modified. The road’s pinch points have been removed, the speed limit has been dropped from 30km/h to a 10km/h shared zone… (makes sense to speed a road up then tell pedestrians they may legally meander across whenever they like…)
There are still centre lines painted on the road, a redundant pedestrian crossing still exists, which is only going to cause confusion. On a road where drivers are not permitted to operate their motor vehicle at above 10km/h, are centre lines really necessary? Pedestrians have the same rights as though in motor vehicles to be on the road for the entire length of the shared zone, hence the pedestrian crossing is unnecessary.
After some observations for the last few days, it looks as though the majority of motor vehicle operators are travelling at 40-50km/h… well above the posted 10km/h.
Not surprising really… and this particular shared zone has the similar road markings that we’ve all been used to for decades… encouraging driver confidence and higher speeds through a pedestrian heavy area… real smart ACT Gov/ANU. Whoever designed, approved, then built this horrendous example of shared space is apparently trying to get somebody killed.
As someone who walks in this area regularly, I have been utilising the road like any pedestrian… a second class citizen with no rights. We must give way to those in machines because… well I’m not sure really… that’s the way it’s always been.
Today I decided to test my legal right an equal human being on this brief 100m long stretch of road. As I approached the road, I checked left and right, as we’ve had drilled into us since we were kids. A vehicle was approaching at several times the 10km/h speed limit… the driver had passed at least once large electronic billboard flashing “shared zone, give way to pedestrians” as well as other shared zone signs. The vehicle would not have been what I would’ve considered close… far from it. Plenty of time to slow down to even triple the speed limit and let me completely clear the thoroughfare before passing… but no. As I stepped off the curb, the driver did not slow down from ~50 odd km/h and lay on the horn. I stopped… the driver did not slow down in the slightest, passing me within cm at a speed where if I had stumbled would have either severely injured or killed me. I did have a few choice words to shout at the time… including something about a shared zone, one expletive.
Bit of a terrifying shared zone experience really… thought I might get a horn blown at me out of ignorance… but didn’t think I’d come so close to being run over.
Did not grab the number plate unfortunately.
So who’s to blame here?
-The ACT Gov/ANU for allowing the world’s worst and most confusing shared zone to be built?
-The driver who was not only travelling at 4-5 times the speed limit, but apparently thought fit to scare another human being with a 1.5 tonne machine?
-Or me, for daring to venture out into a shared zone as a mere, pathetic, lowly pedestrian?