Roundabout beside Copland College

A new roundabout will be built beside Copland College on the corner of Copland Drive and Verbrugghen Street.

Question and answer

Question

It looks like there are two issues – first is the possibility of seeking amendment to the roundabout design so both sides have protections for cyclists. Second is the broader issue of safety design. Does that accurately reflect your points?

Answer

Yes, 

  • The cycling lanes are protected on one side but not on the other and ironically, where the cars are turning AWAY from the cycle lane, the lane is protected, but where the cars are turning TOWARD the cycle lane, the lane is not. The cyclists are in danger of being cut off. 😕
  • The active travel standard** is to remove the cyclist from the road before the roundabout, have them cross on the side street where the cars are coming FROM THE SIDE and not BEHIND (and therefore clearly visible) and have the cyclist ride onto the cycling lane on the other side of the roundabout AFTER the intersection. 
  • The final point is for SPECIAL consider of the school. A school has many vulnerable road users crossing BOTH roads TWICE a day between 8:00 and 9:00, 15:00 and 16:00. I see no special previsions for these students to cross safely. Wombat crossings, pedestrian crossing, school crossing or underpasses are typical options

When I read the text about the risk management model for TCCS workers and contractors, we must ask, why do we not apply the same model for areas around the school and mitigate the risks for the vulnerable road users. The design here prioritises the motorist and, beside a school, this is inappropriate. 

** This refers to the ACT Standard Drawings (ACTSD) from Municipal Infrastructure Standard 05 (MIS05) found in Active Travel Infrastructure Practitioner Tool (ATIPT).

The tender

The tender (30697-RFT-301) was released by the ACT Government this week. Copland Drive and Verbrugghen Street is a T intersection and the plan is to slow cars here with a roundabout.

The green area at the top of the first picture is grass and the yellow a concrete path.

Copland Dr Verbrugghen St
Roundabout, Copland Dr Verbrugghen St (30697-RFT-301)
Copland Dr Verbrugghen St
Verbrugghen Street pedestrian facilities, Copland Dr Verbrugghen St (30697-RFT-301)

Bike lanes

The new roundabout has bike lanes marked in green. On one side the bike lanes are protected from the traffic through a concrete strip. On the opposite side, this is not the case. It would have been better to protect the bike lanes on BOTH sides through the intersection. Particularly where the bike lanes are unprotected, cars are likely to cut the corner and encroach into the bike lane, thereby cutting off the cyclist or colliding with the cyclist. This can happen either entering or exiting the roundabout.

Many roundabouts in the ACT allow for the cyclist to leave the road before the roundabout and enter it again on the other side after the danger has passed and thereby avoid the conflict zone. This is currently not planned.

bike lanes greened Copland Drive roundabout, Copland Dr Verbrugghen St
On road cycle lanes unprotected Copland Drive. bike lanes greened Copland Drive roundabout, Copland Dr Verbrugghen St (30697-RFT-301)

Protecting workers from traffic

The safety standards for the ACT include mitigation of risk for workers. Copland Drive is a 60 km/h zone so that the traffic on the road is a threat to construction workers. It appears a standard practice to complete a risk analysis. A standard framework is used for this.

30697-RFT-301 Verbrugghen St Copland Dr Rbout SiD Report 2021_03_12, ACT Government
30697-RFT-301 Verbrugghen St Copland Dr Rbout SiD Report 2021_03_12, ACT Government

An example: here is how the danger to workers from traffic is accessed.

RiskWork close to live traffic medium speeds (60 km/h) high volumes (Arterial Road)
Risk OwnerContractor Maintenance
Potential ConsequenceIncident with traffic
FrequencyProbable
SeveritySerious
Existing risk ratingIntolerable
30697-RFT-301 Verbrugghen St Copland Dr Rbout SiD Report 2021_03_12, ACT Government

The next step is to find a way to mitigate it.

Potential Elimination or
mitigation measure
It is not feasible to close the road. Opportunity to use safety barrier or lane closure during construction. Risk reduced by the reduced speed limit and thru lane width reduced during work hours.

Staging of work to consider the impact on traffic, with night time work permitted for major disruptive works.
Risk eliminationNo
FrequencyImprobable
SeverityMinor
Remaining riskLow
30697-RFT-301 Verbrugghen St Copland Dr Rbout SiD Report 2021_03_12, ACT Government

The table looks like this. Note the colouring in red.

Copland Dr Verbrugghen St
Risk analysis for building a roundabout, Copland Dr Verbrugghen St (30697-RFT-301)

Different standards for vulnerable road users

It would seem obvious that we should consider a similar analysis to mitigate the risk of vulnerable road users crossing the intersection. Copland College is on the corner of Copland Drive and Verbrugghen Street. A 40 km/h zone would be appropriate here on both Copland Drive and Verbrugghen Street. Slowing the cars down from 60 km/h to 40 km/h would reduce the likelihood of accidents and reduce the high risk of fatalities that are found when cars collide with vulnerable road users at speeds of 60 km/h.

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