Recent studies demonstrate that bad ACT road design is a major factor in why our roads poorly serve pedestrians and cyclists. Kambah is a good example. The roads need to be fixed quickly with affordable solutions. If you would like your children to be able to walk around the suburb safely, Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) is worth knowing about.
At Taylor Primary School we can see a reoccurrence of the same problem that was brought to our attention with the Lyneham Primary School e-Petition. Even with a pedestrian crossing, drivers fail to stop and intimidate children with their big motor vehicles. Jump to the last section for that.
What is Local Area Traffic Management
Local Area Traffic Management is about identifying a range of measures to make streets safer – typically through traffic calming. For over a decade, TCCS is well aware of the importance of making roads safer for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists. Particularly children benefit from traffic calming as they have been traditionally neglected in road designs found throughout Canberra.
It is a two stage process. First, TCCS will commission a Safe Systems Infrastructure Assessment. “Safe Systems” refer to the Austroads methodology for road safety studies. The study considers improvement options, assesses the benefits, and provides a cost estimate for the work. The implementation of the recommendations depends on funding and currently, in the ACT, the approval of the Transport Minister Chris Steel.
The information below comes from the Question Time Brief (QTB) for the Ministers Budget Estimates 2021-22 for Transport Minister Chris Steel obtained through a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) 21-111 released 3 November 2021.
Why traffic calming?
• Achieving safer speeds on the ACT road network is an essential element of the ‘safe system’ approach outlined in the National and ACT Road Safety Strategies.Question Time Brief (QTB), Ministers Budget Estimates 2021-22, TCCS, FOI 21-111, released 3 November 2021, 142.
• A range of integrated speed management measures covering engineering, enforcement, encouragement and education are part of the ACT Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan.
• One of these measures is to implement local area traffic management (LATM) treatments in residential areas using a range of traffic calming measures.
• Traffic calming measures are physical devices; either horizontal in nature such as kerb alignments and roundabouts, or vertical such as speed humps and speed cushions. Their aim is to reduce vehicle speeds. Relevant signage and line marking is also used in traffic calming projects to reinforce safe traffic speeds.
TCCS hires a traffic engineering consultant to do the Safe Systems Infrastructure Assessment study such as R.D. Gossip Pty Ltd for Kambah. Safe Systems is a standard methodology from Austroads and is documented extensively on their website. Austroads does a lot of good stuff for those interested in that sort of thing (which most are not).
• TCCS considers a range of factors such as traffic volume and speed data, crash history and surrounding land use to identify the need for, and priority of, traffic calming measures on residential streets. High priority streets are then further investigated, and a traffic management plan (TMP) is developed to mitigate identified risks on the road.Question Time Brief (QTB), Ministers Budget Estimates 2021-22, TCCS, FOI 21-111, released 3 November 2021, 142-143.
• All directly affected residents (residences adjacent to the measures) are advised of the proposed works prior to their implementation via letterbox drops/door-knocks. Any concerns raised are discussed with the resident (usually on site) and addressed where possible.
• Consultation is also undertaken with Transport Canberra staff to discuss the impact proposed traffic calming measures would have on their ability to run its bus services on affected roads. For example, the size and placement of speed cushions is selected to ensure buses and other heavy vehicles, such as fire trucks and ambulances, are not impeded.
• All other affected stakeholders, including schools, Emergency Services and Community Councils, are also informed of the proposed works as appropriate.
Who delivers the works
o Delivery of LATM works is predominantly carried out byQuestion Time Brief (QTB), Ministers Budget Estimates 2021-22, TCCS, FOI 21-111, released 3 November 2021, 144.
Infrastructure Delivery, inclusive of notification to residents.
o Some low-cost LATM works that are overdue, such as Ministerial
commitments may also be delivered through Roads
Where has it been done in 2020-21?
Safe Systems Infrastructure Assessment study
The implementation of recommended measures from the studies below are currently unfunded (as of 12/10/2021). There must be a large backlog of work that needs to be done. The studies “Boddington Crescent and O’Halloran Circuit, Kambah” and “Marconi Crescent, Summerland Circuit and Livingston Avenue, Kambah” are attached as FOI 21-119.
In 2020-21, Roads ACT completed traffic studies on the following streets:Question Time Brief (QTB), Ministers Budget Estimates 2021-22, TCCS, FOI 21-111, released 3 November 2021, 144.
o Bugden Avenue, Gowrie. (FOI 21-114)
o Owen Dixon Drive, Evatt.
o Antill Street, Knox Street and Aspinall Street, Watson.
o Boddington Crescent and O’Halloran Circuit, Kambah. (FOI 21-119)
o Marconi Crescent, Summerland Circuit and Livingston Avenue,
Kambah. (FOI 21-119)
o Kosciusko Avenue, Palmerston.
o Beasley Street, Torrens/Mawson.
o Theodore Street and Carruthers Street, Curtin.
o Knoke Avenue and Jim Pike Avenue, Gordon.
Implemented LATM measures
We were surprised by how many implementations there were. All the studies could be obtained via FOI. The Safe Systems Infrastructure Assessment study for “Newman-Morriss Circuit, Oxley” (FOI 21-117) was completed and implemented within 2 years.
In 2020 – 21, Roads ACT implemented LATM measures on:Question Time Brief (QTB), Ministers Budget Estimates 2021-22, TCCS, FOI 21-111, released 3 November 2021, 144.
o Heagney Crescent, Chisholm/Gilmore.
o Newman-Morriss Circuit, Oxley. (FOI 21-117)
o Heysen Street, Weston.
o McInnes Street, Weston.
o Namatjira Drive, Chapman/Fisher/Stirling/Waramanga.
o Krefft Street, Florey.
o Charnwood/Flynn/Fraser LATM study.
o Bandjalong Crescent, Aranda.
o Phillip Avenue and Majura Avenue, Watson.
What have we learnt?
The most common measures from this sample of Safe Systems Infrastructure Assessment studies in Kambah was speed reduction and lane narrowing. The troublesome roads are typically past schools with 5 m wide lanes and faded signs. The standard recommendation for these streets is:
- speed reductions to 50 km/h
- replace all the 60 km/h signs with new 50 km/h ones
- narrow the lanes from 5 m to 3.5 m by painting a shoulder (white lines on the road)
- the shoulder can serve as an unofficial bike lane – which means it looks like one but legally is not one.
On straight sections of roads, speeding can be very common. Where there is a history of accidents, speed bumps are a likely recommendation. Speed cushions are more common and likely for no other reason than that they are cheaper – but not better than other alternatives.
The studies also discovered missing links and recommended that they be filled. Further, missing gutter ramps, misaligned gutter ramps, and poorly maintained paths are common with the predictable recommendation “fix it”. The paths “on the back of the curbs” are all recommended for replacement with paths that have at least a 400 mm separation from the curb but preferably 1 m (ACT Active Travel Standards).
Children and schools
Not surprisingly, when there was bad driver behaviour, children walking or cycling to school were the victims.
Livingston Avenue / Vosper Street
Livingston Avenue / Vosper Street has a nasty reputation and on the day that the traffic engineers were there, a child crossing the road was almost driven down by a speeding driver. The cause – poor road design.
During the site visit, a near-miss was observed between a child, cycling to school, crossing the road from north to south and a vehicle travelling through the intersection from west to east. While the child failed to look for traffic before beginning to cross the road, the speed of the vehicle through the intersection is expected to have been significantly in excess of the safe system speed for pedestrian and cyclist crashes and on this basis would be expected to have a high likelihood of resulting in serious injury or death. In addition to high vehicle speeds through the intersection, the poor-quality pedestrian facilities and long crossing distances at the intersection, both contributed to the conflict.Traffic Investigation on Marconi Crescent, Summerland Circuit and Livingston Avenue, Kambah, FOI 21-119, 49.
Taylor Primary School Children’s Crossing
We see at Taylor Primary School a reoccurrence of the same problem that was brought to our attention with the Lyneham Primary School e-Petition. Even with a pedestrian crossing, drivers fail to stop and intimidate children with their motor vehicles.
TCCS have advised that concerns have been raised by the community in relation to poor driver compliance with the children’s crossing adjacent to Taylor Primary School. This poor compliance was observed during the site visits with numerous drivers (from both directions) failing to stop for children (without adults) waiting to cross the road. This occurred within approximately 20 m of the mobile speed camera. Furthermore, it was noted that when drivers did stop for pedestrians, the pedestrians appeared uncomfortable when crossing the road (i.e. rushed / jogged across the road, waved apologetically to the drivers).Traffic Investigation on Marconi Crescent, Summerland Circuit and Livingston Avenue, Kambah, FOI 21-119, 60.
The report makes recommendations how to fix the problem: a zebra crossing.
In order to improve driver compliance at the children’s crossing, it is recommended that the children’s crossing be raised onto a platform. This will increase driver awareness of the crossing as well as acting to locally reduce vehicle speeds. This raised platform could also be utilised as an additional speed hump in front of the school, reducing speeds to below 40 km/h.Traffic Investigation on Marconi Crescent, Summerland Circuit and Livingston Avenue, Kambah, FOI 21-119, 64.