DESPITE the removal of a controversial bike lane, residents in Weston are still up in arms over the change to traffic lanes along Streeton Drive.
About a year ago, Weston Creek residents driving along Streeton Drive found that where there had previously been two lanes, there was now one, as well as a bicycle lane the width of a regular car lane.
While this was recently replaced with a painted island, there is still only one lane between Hilder Streetı and Namatjira Drive for motor vehicle traffic heading south on Streeton Drive, which is a major arterial road in Weston.
According to chairman of the Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC), Tim Dalton, this situation is causing nightmares for many commuters.
“What was twp lanes suddenly became one, and this occurs right as other streets intersect with Streeton Drive” Mr Dalton said.
â€œIt is traffic chaos there, you have cars and buses trying to merge from MuIler Street and Hilder Street, while the oncoming two lanes of traffic on Streeton Drive are merging into one lane.
A lot of motorists turning onto Streeton Drive are being penned in because there is only one lane.
â€œThe intersection is o0nly going to get busier as people start moving into the Molonglo and North Weston developments.â€
Mr Dalton said his council had been consulting with ACT Roads director Tony Gill over the changes, and only had achieved the reduction of the bicycle lane which was causing a great deal of confusion and anger for motorists.
But while Mr Dalton believed the new cycle lane was an improvement over he previous one, he said its existence was still a mystery.
The cycle lane starts in the middle of the road and runs right through a T intersection, and then finishes 50 meters later,â€ he said
â€œNot many cyclist would use the lane, particularly as there is a perfectly good path for them to use through a nearby reserve.â€
Vice-chairman of the WCCC, Tom Anderson, has been heavily involved in the discussion with the ACT Government and said it now appeared as though there was little chance of the road reverting to being two lanes, which is what the residents wanted.
“IT had been a two lane road since it was constructed 30 to 35 years Â ago, and most residents would like to see it return to that,” Mr Anderson said.
“It seems as though the government has decided than the area wonâ€™t, go back to having two lanes, so we (council) are waiting to see how residents accept the changes.
“It is better than it has been for the last 12 months, but it is far from .the perfect solution.
“There are serious concerns that Â by coming up with this solution for Â this intersection (Streeton Drive and Namatjira Drive), it has made things a lot worse for residents trying to tum into Streeton Drive from Mulley Street and Hilder Street.”
Mr Gill said the intersection of Narnatjira Drive and Streeton Drive was identified as a ‘Black Spot’ due to the poor crash history so
modifications were undertaken as part of the federally funded Black Spot program Â to reduce the severity , and frequency of crashes involving right turning traffic into and out of NarnatjiraDrive.
“The’ intersection is functioning well however, modifications to the line marking will be undertaken to address some issues raised by the Weston Creek Community Council about the extent of the green on road cycle lane,” he said.
Mr. GiIl said concerns the lane reduction was a hazard would be investigated again following the modifications to the line marking.
However he said there was no plans to increase the intersection to two lanes.
“The current intersection arrangement is considered necessary to improve the safety of the intersection at Streeton and Namatjira Drives,” Mr Gill said.
He said the bike lane was installed following the change from two lanes to one lane at the intersection.
“This resulted in a Section of road pavement not being used by general traffic and the opportunity was taken to provide an on-road cycle lane which is consistent with the ACT Government policy when undertaking road works,” he said.
Mr Gill Said the lane was consistent with ACT Government Â policy for on-road cycle lanes.
â€œThe opportunity was taken to provide an on-road cycle lane at this location as part of the road work improvements.Â On reflection, and after discussion with the Weston Creek Community Council it bas been decided to removeve this on road cycle Iane but provideÂ line markings that assist cyclist use this intersection and connect to the on road cycle lane which exists on Hindmarsh Drive.
By Peter Reynolds
The Southside Chronicle
24 November 2009