Pedestrian and bike path musings…

November 17, 2010 at 20:40 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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I can’t help feeling it’s a sad day for pedestrians in Sydney. The traffic lights at the intersection between Kent St and Bradfield Highway are now in operation. At least in part, this junction was signalised in order to facilitate the bicycle path that has runs along Kent Street, which I suppose is to be applauded. However, the result is now that pedestrians, rather than just crossing the road whenever they need to, are forced to wait several minutes until the little green man gives them permission.
I think this is a retrograde step. People should have priority over cars, not the other way around. I also see that the traffic seems to be queuing for longer too, so it’s for the most part not helping drivers either.
I worry that this is a trend, and that zebra crossings are in general being replaced with signalised crossings. This is a pity, I think. I’d like to see lots more zebra crossings in the place of the current signalised ones. Make the cars stop for the people, and force drivers to pay attention to their surroundings. (And for those safety nannies out there, note that UK research shows that where zebra crossings are replaced by signalised crossings, the pedestrian injury rate tends to rise, not fall).

Whilst on the topic of inadequate pedestrian crossings, the crossing at the western end of Pyrmont Bridge is also poor. It’s simply not wide enough to cope with the volume of pedestrian traffic – indeed, the footpath outside the pub is also too narrow. There really needs to be one less car lane here, and the footpath needs to be much wider. It causes problems for cyclists too, as there are frequently a lot of pedestrians waiting in the ‘cycle’ area, which for example means that bikes don’t trigger the bicycle lanterns because they can’t get on top of the sensors – as illustrated in the picture.

In any case, the induction loop trigger on the cycleways are wholly inadequate. It’s a classic example of the RTA being unable to build anything except car infrastructure. Has anyone been able to get the lights at Kent / Erskine junction to trigger when going north? It doesn’t help that the sensor is for the most part in front of the stop line, but this morning I sat right on the middle of it on the Radish – a bike that has a lot of metal! – and the light didn’t trigger. Very frustrating.

Still, riding the Radish always makes me happy. Actually, riding any of my bikes makes me happy, but in different ways. I’d like to spread that happiness around, so I’m going to do something a friend suggested and attach a bubble machine to the back of the radish. Then I can cruise around leaving a trail of happiness and bubbles behind me.

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