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OFFLINE   TV_Expert #101

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 03:39 PM

From today's Sun-Herald:

QUOTE
Bleak outlook for Sydney roads

By Matthew Benns
March 26, 2006


SYDNEY'S traffic experts are unanimous: our city is grinding to a standstill.

Roads are gridlocked with bumper-to-bumper traffic and what was once a "peak hour" now stretches from 5am until after 7pm.

The Sun-Herald sought the opinions of eight radio and television traffic reporters who spend hours every day monitoring Sydney's clogged road network. They agreed that the chaos on Sydney's roads was getting worse.

"Sydney is basically bumper to bumper all day long," Australian Traffic Network spokesman Justin Kelly said. "We see the build-up start at just after five in the morning and not let up until 7.30 at night."

The company provides Sydney's commercial television channels and nearly all of its radio stations with live reports from its base at Bankstown Airport. On-air reporters are fed traffic information from the network's helicopter flying over the city and a reporter monitoring cameras in the Roads and Traffic Authority's traffic control centre.

"We also get calls from members of the public," Mr Kelly said. "Very often we are aware of accidents before the emergency services."

Veteran traffic reporter Ian Wallace, who provides traffic updates to 2GB and MIX 106.3, has been reporting on Sydney's roads for 24 years.

"It is absolutely getting worse," he said. "There are more and more cars on the road and with new motorways people are getting to the ends faster and creating bottlenecks."

Traffic reporter for 2UE Paul Latter said the network always tried to provide drivers with an alternative route but it was not always possible.

"When you get a fatal accident, as we did in Mosman during the week, it causes a backlog all the way to the Spit Bridge and there really is nowhere else for traffic to go from there," he said.

Accidents, rain and fog were all factors that pushed the overburdened road network into gridlock, he added.

Another 2UE reporter, Dennis Lee, said the congestion on the roads was affecting the quality of life of commuters and their families.

"If you are trying to get somewhere, traffic jams make you stressed and make your family stressed," he said. "You are more likely to snap at some little thing."

Traffic experts say the opening of the $1.1 billion Lane Cove Tunnel - slated for May 2007 - will make matters worse as commuters attempt to avoid yet another toll.

SIX OF THE WORST

- M4: Very heavy traffic, even on a good day. The stretch from St Marys to Eastern Creek is particularly bad. Made worse by other roads feeding into it.

- F3: Worst spot is the "Big Dipper" hill into Wahroonga in the mornings and into Mount Colah in the afternoons.

- Victoria Road: From the Gladesville Bridge to Anzac Bridge.

- Spit Bridge: Bottleneck for everyone from the northern beaches and stays solid all along Military Road.

- Parramatta Road: Just about anywhere.

- Epping Road: Extremely heavy from North Ryde along the Gore Hill Freeway to the harbour crossings - bridge and tunnel.

Source: The Sun-Herald


And here is the Traffic reporters' view about Sydney traffic, also from today's Sun-Herald.

QUOTE
Traffic experts who deliver Sydney's bad news

March 26, 2006


Natasha Gray. Reporter for 2CH, C91.3, STAR104.5, i98. Traffic reporter since 1997.

"It is getting worse. We are just running out of space. The NSW Government is trying to improve things by digging tunnels but the roadworks they create are making things worse. The Lane Cove Tunnel roadworks are causing a lot of dramas. We just have to accept queues in Sydney as a way of life."

Warren Purchase. Reporter for 2SM, WAVE FM, NXFM, POWER FM, 2LT. Traffic reporter for 2 years.

"I cover traffic for a lot of rural centres and Sydney is obviously the worst. It is more structured around peak hours in the country whereas in Sydney there is always heavy traffic somewhere. I think public transport could be the solution but it needs a lot of work before people will be tempted out of their cars."

Alf Paranihi. Reporter for Channel 7 Sunrise. Traffic reporter for three years.

"Congestion gets really bad during rain or fog or when there are accidents or breakdowns. The Cross City Tunnel and Lane Cove Tunnel areas are much busier than they were two years ago. Also the introduction of the new motorways such as the M7 has caused bottlenecks of traffic."

Brian 'Sando' Sanders. Reporter for 2DayFM and Triple M. Traffic reporter for 12 years.

"It is getting worse and worse. Everywhere there has been development, with land opening up and people moving in, the traffic has put enormous pressure on Sydney roads. Out on the Old Windsor Road for instance it is always busy. Where the M7 and M2 merge it is also very busy. In the mornings the M4 is progressively getting worse."

Dennis Lee. Reporter for 2UE and MIX FM. Traffic reporter for 1 years.

"There are bottlenecks everywhere caused by the weight of the traffic. The frustration the traffic is causing is affecting everybody's quality of life. You get upset at the traffic jams and take it out on people. We don't chill out, instead the frustration snowballs and Sydney becomes a less pleasant place to live. This is why incidents of road rage are on the increase."

Ian Wallace. Reporter for 2GB, C91.3, MIX FM and WSFM. Traffic reporter for 24 years.

"It is absolutely getting worse. There must be 50 per cent more cars on the road than when I started. They are travelling on motorways, getting there faster and being fed into bottlenecks. The Lane Cove Tunnel is going to be the biggest problem when they close Epping Road from three lanes to one to feed into the tunnel. Motorists will want to avoid paying another toll - it will be chaos."

Geoff Wallace. Stand-in reporter for all networks. Traffic reporter for a year.

"It's stuffed. It's horrendous and I put it down to low interest rates. There is more money around and every household has four cars. Parents are buying high-quality cars for their kids because they want them to be safe. Roads in the suburbs are becoming congested because the driveways are full. It just adds up. Also the workforce has become more mobile and people are driving a long way to work now."

Justin Kelly. Australian Traffic Network spokesman.

"The demand for our service is increasing because traffic is becoming busier. With the population expanding, more and more people are going on the roads. Undoubtedly it has got worse in the eight years we have been providing this service, probably because roads are getting better, cars are getting cheaper and people are living further away from public transport. It is also noticeable that no area of Sydney is quarantined from traffic problems."

Source: The Sun-Herald

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OFFLINE   MelbourneTV #102

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 06:16 PM

Hmmmmm.
Being a badly laid out city doesnt help traffic flow either!

But what solutions does Sydney have?
Building more roads only leads to more congestion.
If it did solve congestion -> why are Sydney's freeways bumper to bumper?

The rail network isnt in a state to be a viable alternative just yet.

Buses use the same roads.

Lightrail- hey there's only one!

Isnt the NSW govt talking about a subway city in parts of Sydney's central area (eg, within 8kms from the cbd?)
That could be quite beneficial. Expensive, but subway trains can run every 90secs, and move thousands an hour. Inner City Sydney is dense enough to support it.
Another option is busways.

Good to see one Australian city has realised the headache freeways are.
Perth spends more on urban rail projects than freeways smile.gif

Melbourne has just enough time to revert the reliance on freeways... Brisbane I think has missed the cut off point and will soon be in Syd's shoes. frown.gif

OFFLINE   Squee! #103

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 08:46 PM

QUOTE (MelbourneTV @ Mar 26 2006, 04:16 PM)
Good to see one Australian city has realised the headache freeways are.
Perth spends more on urban rail projects than freeways smile.gif

Metro Perth is already served sufficiently with our Freeway and Highway network. If there is too much sprawl in latter years, they can simply convert many of the already 1/2 freeway-grade highways into freeways. The only other needed Freeway infrastructure needed will grow with railway (Mitchell Freeway along with the Northern Rail Line (Clarkson/Joondalup Line) or it will be the future Perth-Bunbury Highway development.

OFFLINE   MelbourneTV #104

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 12:23 PM

Im not sure what to think about Adelaide.
IIRC the only motorway in the city is the One Way one that goes to the southern suburbs.
Its good that they havent embraced freeways, but a one way one? Insane!

The one thing I dont like about Perth is the freeways at the CBDs western end, near Barrack Square (well the Barrack Gate).
Its bloody ugly. They really should deck over it and put in some parkland linking WA Parliament, Barrack Gate, and the CBD together.
IMO, that project is more important than decking the rail tracks separating the CBD to Northbridge.
The train station serves a purpose - that canyon where the road runs doesnt. Its just wasted space. A deck should go there ASAP!

OFFLINE   Reuder7 #105

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 02:55 PM

Just wondering why does NSW have so many variations to the standard black on yellow number plates?

OFFLINE   Pun #106

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 10:05 PM

QUOTE (MelbourneTV @ Mar 27 2006, 12:23 PM)
Im not sure what to think about Adelaide.
IIRC the only motorway in the city is the One Way one that goes to the southern suburbs.
Its good that they havent embraced freeways, but a one way one? Insane!


We have the South Eastern Freeway. Port River Expressway should be finished soon, and the Northern Expressway is being planned.

So currently with have 2 freeways, soon to be 3. In a long time, it'll be 4. silly.gif.
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OFFLINE   MelbourneTV #107

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 10:10 PM

What a stupid move for South Australia.
You would think they would have learnt by Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane's experiences that freeways are NOT a viable transportation solution.

What fools South Australia's successive governments must be.

Perth realised it was heading down the path of traffic clogged streets and they woke up to themselves - I would of thought SA would of had some intelligence.

OFFLINE   Pun #108

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 10:16 PM

Indeed. I'd rather see the State Government upgrade the public transport system; but I guess they're doing that anyway... Plans to extend the tram line out the city, electrifying the rail network...

As long as the freeways are toll free I'm not complaining. silly.gif
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OFFLINE   SydneySider #109

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 03:42 PM

Hi-tech wet weather speed limit system for the F3

Australian-first technology will allow the speed limit on the F3 Freeway between the Hawkesbury River and Mount White to be automatically varied depending on the weather, Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal announced today.

The speed limit on the 6km section will increase from 90km/h to 100km/h from next Monday – but it will be cut back to 90km/h in the wet.

In a major road safety initiative, a new $2.3 million system will monitor weather conditions and automatically reduce and enforce the speed limit in wet weather.

Weather stations and moisture detectors will be linked to speed limit signs on this section of the F3 northbound.

“This is technology which hasn’t been used in Australia and improves safety,” Mr Roozendaal said.

“The variable speed limit will reduce the risk of wet weather crashes.

“From next Monday, April 10, electronic variable speed limit signs will automatically display the reduced speed limit when rain is detected.”

A new fixed digital speed camera linked to the variable speed limit signs will enforce the displayed limit.

“The RTA expects the new wet weather and speed camera system will significantly increase road safety in the Mount White area and reduce wet weather crashes,” Mr Roozendaal said.

A rain activated variable speed limit sign will be displayed 5km north of the Hawkesbury River Bridge with a second sign 2km further north.

The fixed speed camera, which will be placed about 1km north of the first variable speed limit sign, will enforce the legal limit displayed.

Static speed limit signs have been installed from 2km north of the Hawkesbury River Bridge, outlining the different speed limits in the wet and dry conditions.

An investigation into the Mount White site has revealed 134 crashes between 2000 and 2004, two of them fatal.

Weather data shows it rains more than 120 days a year on this stretch of the F3, with 57 per cent of all crashes occurring in the rain.

“According to the RTA, the cost to the community of crashes between 2000 and 2004 on this stretch of road was about $3.5 million,” Mr Roozendaal said.

Because of the new wet weather technology, the RTA has conducted a series of integrity and reliability tests on the camera technology to ensure it works correctly in both wet and dry conditions.

The wet weather camera system is an outcome of the NSW Road Users Summit, held last year.

Speed camera sites in NSW are determined using strict criteria based on the crash history and recorded speeds at sites.

An independent report into the effectiveness of fixed speed cameras last year revealed that cameras dramatically improve road safety.

The report found that fatal crashes are reduced by 90 per cent and injury crashes by 20 per cent on blackspot lengths where speed cameras are installed.

----

The stupid thing is that this will only be happening on the northbound section. Southbound will remain at 90km/hr for some unknown reason.

They've spent a lot of money with this new technology and IMO it's a waste. The limit should be 110km/hr like the rest of the freeway. It used to be 110km/hr but they reduced it due to the high amounts of accidents on this stretch of freeway -which was back when there were 2 lanes in each direction. They recently widened it to 3 lanes in each direction which should have improved the safety of the road, so installing all this technology so they can up the speed to 100km/hr is a bit of waste in the first place - it should have been increased after they added an extra lane.

At least it's being increased from the slow 90km/hr to 100km/hr albeit in one direction only. It's the 2nd bit of good news for motorists in a week - earlier this week they announced that the section at the southern end of the freeway will be increased from 2 lanes in each direction to 3 lanes.

As you can see I like discussing this road as I reguarly use it silly.gif

OFFLINE   Commander Slicer #110

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 04:18 PM

QUOTE (SydneySider @ Apr 5 2006, 03:42 PM)
The stupid thing is that this will only be happening on the northbound section. Southbound will remain at 90km/hr for some unknown reason.

They've spent a lot of money with this new technology and IMO it's a waste. The limit should be 110km/hr like the rest of the freeway. It used to be 110km/hr but they reduced it due to the high amounts of accidents on this stretch of freeway -which was back when there were 2 lanes in each direction. They recently widened it to 3 lanes in each direction which should have improved the safety of the road, so installing all this technology so they can up the speed to 100km/hr is a bit of waste in the first place - it should have been increased after they added an extra lane.

At least it's being increased from the slow 90km/hr to 100km/hr albeit in one direction only. It's the 2nd bit of good news for motorists in a week - earlier this week they announced that the section at the southern end of the freeway will be increased from 2 lanes in each direction to 3 lanes.

As you can see I like discussing this road as I reguarly use it silly.gif


Oh I don't know, it sounds like a good idea to me. 10km difference in the wet will make a big difference to the safety of the road; something I've noticed over the years is that many drivers just don't take any notice of different weather conditions and speed on regardless, which is dangerous, so if something like this is done, and it reduces crashes or accidents, I'm all for it.

The lane increases are good news yes.gif

OFFLINE   SydneySider #111

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 06:41 PM

QUOTE (Commander Slicer @ Apr 5 2006, 04:18 PM)
Oh I don't know, it sounds like a good idea to me. 10km difference in the wet will make a big difference to the safety of the road; something I've noticed over the years is that many drivers just don't take any notice of different weather conditions and speed on regardless, which is dangerous, so if something like this is done, and it reduces crashes or accidents, I'm all for it.

Obviously slowing down in the wet is a sensible thing to do. My point is the road should be 110km/hr normally.

OFFLINE   MelbourneTV #112

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 08:27 PM

QUOTE (Commander Slicer @ Apr 5 2006, 04:18 PM)
Oh I don't know, it sounds like a good idea to me. 10km difference in the wet will make a big difference to the safety of the road; something I've noticed over the years is that many drivers just don't take any notice of different weather conditions and speed on regardless, which is dangerous, so if something like this is done, and it reduces crashes or accidents, I'm all for it.

The lane increases are good news  yes.gif


Thats quite true. Today about 3:30 it was pouring with rain, bad visibility.
40kph was in force, due to it being a school zone.
What do I see coming speeding up behind me, with NO headlights - some moronic P plater thinking they're invincible.
I'm a P Plater, and I'm the first to admit I'm harldy an "experienced" driver, (only had my Ps for 11 months), but I have the sense to stick to the limit, adapt to the conditions and turn my lights on.

Lane increases - good in the short term, but what happens in ten years time?

Society has to stop using bandaids and develop some real long term solutions.

OFFLINE   SydneySider #113

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 08:43 PM

QUOTE (MelbourneTV @ Apr 5 2006, 08:27 PM)
Lane increases - good in the short term, but what happens in ten years time?

Well what's your suggestion?

I'm all for lane increases. The difference in traffic flow from 2 to 3 lanes is enormous.

OFFLINE   Commander Slicer #114

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:03 PM

QUOTE (MelbourneTV @ Apr 5 2006, 08:27 PM)
I'm a P Plater, and I'm the first to admit I'm harldy an "experienced" driver, (only had my Ps for 11 months), but I have the sense to stick to the limit, adapt to the conditions and turn my lights on.


Good on your MelbourneTV. thumbsup.gif It's a rare thing nowdays as many drivers, not just the P platers, drive like complete morons,,, it's always good to hear of another person who is taking it easy and driving properly.

OFFLINE   MelbourneTV #115

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:05 PM

QUOTE (SydneySider @ Apr 5 2006, 08:43 PM)
Well what's your suggestion?

I'm all for lane increases. The difference in traffic flow from 2 to 3 lanes is enormous.


I'm not familiar with the area in question, so my solution is only a generic one.
Less dependence on cars.
Better alternative transport
encourage car pooling

A shit load of congestion is caused by children being collected from their schools, or dropped off. This should be controlled.
We'd be freeing up the roads, and we wouldnt have as many fat kids.
I live opposite a primary school, and we cant get into the street, or out of our driveway between 3:15 and 3:45 Mon-Fri.
It is ridiculous.
The faces I see waiting at the school gates are faces I see around the corner.
Those people drive max5 mins to pick the kids up, block up the street (goes from 2 lanes to one). When you apply a similar problem across a vast metropolitan area such as Melbourne, the number of cars on the roads is absolutely enourmous.

OFFLINE   Squee! #116

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:07 PM

QUOTE (SydneySider @ Apr 5 2006, 06:43 PM)
Well what's your suggestion?

I'm all for lane increases. The difference in traffic flow from 2 to 3 lanes is enormous.

Very, Very True. The road I live on here in Perth has a freeway interchange, and is the last interchange before the freeway narrows to two lanes. The bumper-to-bumper traffic starts at around 4:15 (stretching back past the road I live on) and continue to about 6:20. If they increased to three lanes for another 3 or 4km, this wouldn't be a problem.

(If your in Perth, I am reffering to the massive Peak Hour Bottleneck at the Hepburn Ave (Greenwood Train Station) Interchange.

Edited by Boochan, 05 April 2006 - 09:12 PM.


OFFLINE   Splashmo #117

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:14 PM

QUOTE (MelbourneTV @ Apr 5 2006, 08:35 PM)
A shit load of congestion is caused by children being collected from their schools, or dropped off. This should be controlled.
We'd be freeing up the roads, and we wouldnt have as many fat kids.
I live opposite a primary school, and we cant get into the street, or out of our driveway between 3:15 and 3:45 Mon-Fri.
It is ridiculous.
The faces I see waiting at the school gates are faces I see around the corner.
Those people drive max5 mins to pick the kids up, block up the street (goes from 2 lanes to one). When you apply a similar problem across a vast metropolitan area such as Melbourne, the number of cars on the roads is absolutely enourmous.


Living in the area of the East Adelaide schools cluster, and going to a high school that is surrounded by two extremely busy roads, with four large schools in that suburb, there are more parents dropping off kids than you could poke a stick at. There are also dozens of buses full of us, and with students crossing the road in dangerous times and places, it's a wonder that there hasn't been a horrible accident.

OFFLINE   SydneySider #118

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:17 PM

QUOTE (MelbourneTV @ Apr 5 2006, 09:05 PM)
I'm not familiar with the area in question, so my solution is only a generic one.
Less dependence on cars.
Better alternative transport
encourage car pooling

That fact is that people who want to drive don't want to use public transport. If public transport was significantly better some people would still want to drive.

Your point about car pooling...well I know for a fact that the people who use this freeway to travel to work (Central Coast to Sydney commuters for work) most of them car pool. Before the ramps on to the freeway there's an area where heaps and heaps of cars are parked each morning as all the commuters leave their cars there and car pool. So most of the people using this freeway car pool.

Increasing lanes is a great solution yes.gif

OFFLINE   SydneySider #119

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:20 PM

QUOTE (Boochan @ Apr 5 2006, 09:07 PM)
Very, Very True. The road I live on here in Perth has a freeway interchange, and is the last interchange before the freeway narrows to two lanes. The bumper-to-bumper traffic starts at around 4:15 (stretching back past the road I live on) and continue to about 6:20. If they increased to three lanes for another 3 or 4km, this wouldn't be a problem.

(If your in Perth, I am reffering to the massive Peak Hour Bottleneck at the Hepburn Ave (Greenwood Train Station) Interchange.

Yep absolutely true. The freeway that I'm talking about...the traffic starts to become a problem when the 3 lanes merge into 2....and then as soon as you get to the section where it widens to 3 lanes again suddenly the traffic bottleneck has disappeared - it's like a miracle! So increasing the lanes is a good solution.

OFFLINE   Commander Slicer #120

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:31 PM

QUOTE (SydneySider @ Apr 5 2006, 09:20 PM)
Yep absolutely true. The freeway that I'm talking about...the traffic starts to become a problem when the 3 lanes merge into 2....and then as soon as you get to the section where it widens to 3 lanes again suddenly the traffic bottleneck has disappeared - it's like a miracle! So increasing the lanes is a good solution.


Yeah I agree there. It's also a hazard when the lanes merge from 3 into 2 (or 2 into 1), as people get cranky and force their way in, whether it's safe or not. Would be good to see less of these mergings, especially when there's no reason for it.