Traffic

Crisis is a word that gets used a lot in newspapers. There’s the cricket crisis. The Global Financial Crisis. The sports doping crisis. Crises like these are often unexpected, tumultuous events - they naturally grab the headlines.

Meanwhile, three suburbs away a kid threw his ball onto the road…

And then there are the slow burn crises that sneak up on you. Like the obesity crisis or the energy crisis. They’re like a frog sitting in a pot of water over an open flame. Sometimes you don’t notice the crisis until your frog is completely cooked. And so let me draw your attention to a crisis that is directly in front of us, and about to reach boiling point.

Our cities are in crisis. Deep down, we all know it. When it takes 30 minutes to drive a two kilometre stretch of road. When we’re late for work because the bus didn’t turn up. When our kids are late for school because you were stuck in traffic. When we don’t get home until 7pm because of a traffic incident in a suburb five suburbs away.

Our roads and rail systems are struggling under the weight of our ever growing population and it’s time we did something about it.

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  • Bob says:

    06:52pm | 13/03/13

    The answer to the problem has multiple benefits and will cater well into the future. here it is: Ban parents from driving there children to school. “Make them walk or ride a bike.” Benefits: Public health Creating road awareness in children Enhance community involvement Less road congestion. Has anyone noticed… Read more »

  • mikem says:

    06:09pm | 13/03/13

    MP, therein lies the problem.  Too many people who think that others should use public transport whilst they retain the right to drive.  Instead of aspiring to a Los Angeles type solution where the car dominates we should be looking to a Paris or London type solution where public transport… Read more »

 

The Prime Minister and I have something in common: we both want to live close to where we work.

If you ask us, the state of FM radio doesn't help either

So as Julia Gillard decamps to the outer suburbs of Sydney this week, I’m heading the other direction, moving to an apartment in the city. I’m ditching the car and walking to work from Monday.

Phew. No more traffic. No more tailgaters. No more erratic driving from increasingly irate and desperate fellow commuters.

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  • Wayne says:

    06:45pm | 04/03/13

    Sam, your analysis is completely wrong. All the money and more is currently spoken for, so where is the spare going to come from to repay the borrowings and interest? The way we are going we will never pay it back, and if we don’t control the ever increasing spending,… Read more »

  • Blackadder says:

    05:32pm | 04/03/13

    Not necessarily free, but afforadable. As I’ll continue to campaign vigorously here in QLD, it’s cheaper to drive than to use public transport. Government policy should be to make a journey from A to B more affordable than using a vehicle, as enticement to get people off the roads onto… Read more »

 

Are you sick of being stuck in Sydney traffic for hours? Are you annoyed about the near constant traffic chaos around Sydney airport? And do you ever wonder why there are so many cars driving through Sydney’s CBD?

The geniuses who designed this were more concerned with their Christmas bonuses

Well, what you are seeing is a general failure of transport planning by successive governments over many decades. Not since Dr JJC Bradfield have we had a true transport visionary in Sydney. What we get is an endless procession of so-called transport experts who are increasingly just free market fundamentalists having this delusional view that the market will fix all transport and infrastructure problems.

The so-called market in this case are those big private sector companies that just want toll roads so they can simply milk motorists for decades with ever increasing tolls. It’s so easy for a private sector company to build a toll road that barely meets the existing transport needs to just rake in lots of easy money until the toll road can’t cope anymore. Then there’s inevitable call for a new toll road with a new income stream to milk motorists.

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  • Pattem says:

    04:50pm | 05/12/12

    I remember reading (many years ago now) Barry Jones’ Sleepers Wake! where he questioned the fundamental inefficiencies of the motor car.  The whole auto industry and subsidiary businesses are anathema. Big cities should basically be built around public transport, with rail expansion matching building and population growth.  For example, the… Read more »

  • Pattem says:

    04:37pm | 05/12/12

    @Mahrat, I’m in love with the public transport system in Hong Kong.  In a nutshell, something like 80% of the population doesn’t have cars, because: 1. they are so expensive to maintain, and 2. the public transport system is so good. With the rail system, any stop is the centrepoint… Read more »

 

There are sweet days for city commuters and they’re called school holidays. Everyone knows them. They are the days when an empty seat welcomes you on the train or bus and the traffic seems to flow more smoothly along our motorways and city streets.

Is this how you'd rather spend your time?

In a perfect world it would be like that all the time. But our cities are growing. There are more and more people depending on our existing transport networks. With our 18 major cities home to three-quarter of all Australians, congestion is becoming one of the greatest problems we face. It drags like an anchor on our national productivity and steals time better spent with our families.

Here are three uncomfortable facts. Firstly, eight of ten commuting trips in Australia today are still undertaken by car.

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  • LC says:

    06:13pm | 20/11/12

    @ PW, You know that a house that’s close to decent public transport is going to cost several times more than a house in one of those estates? That’s why they are so popular. So how about those stuck in the outer suburbs and the housing estates due to the… Read more »

  • pink says:

    06:02pm | 20/11/12

    Totally agree. Too many whingers! Most of them are probably overweight, grumpy and would have a heartattack if they worked up a sweat! Get the blood pumping grumpy bums, it will cheer you up. The idea for biking may not suit all, but for those who can why not? Read more »

 

Supposedly I’m a menace and a f*%king idiot. Why? I’m not really sure, but I think it’s because I ride a bike around Sydney.

I'm too busy getting fit to hear what you're shouting at me. Photo: Aaron Francis

I wear a helmet. I ride on the left side of the road. But, I have a cheap hybrid bike that can’t move all that quickly, and sometimes, when it’s dusk, I don’t put my lights on.

Last week two men in cars started yelling at me while I was on my bike. This isn’t unusual, it happens a lot, and I’m quite used to it.

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  • John Torkildsen says:

    07:41pm | 27/09/12

    Fair enough I’ll stop hogging the road on my bike & take my Ford F350 truck & trailer instead - its a bit bigger & slower then my bike but at least you wont have to suffer my selfishness. Happy now? Read more »

  • LC says:

    06:26pm | 27/09/12

    So what Jason? If the positions were reversed, they’d have found me through my rego and I’d be hauled in front of a judge. I couldn’t do that here. Do crime statistics show that driver-on-driver road rage is a bigger problem than driver-on-cyclist road rage? Yes they do. That does… Read more »

 

It’s highly annoying when recounting a tale of woe, pouring your heart out and shaking your fist, only to hear an unsympathetic someone crow: “That’s nothing, mate … blah, blah, blah … my neck’s bigger than yours.”

A quiet evening in Rome

So when I hear Australians complaining about how other Australians drive, I tend just to nod my head rather than thicken my neck. I tend not to mention the past 10 years sharing asphalt with the Italians, for whom the speed of light is considered conservative, in the wet, in reverse, in their driveways.

That’s not to suggest I haven’t seen daredevil tactics in Oz. Despite the recent “good news” about 2011 registering the lowest number of road deaths since 1946, we still have our share of hoons, road rage and drink-driving are still a problem, and if I had a dollar for every P-plater I saw texting while driving… It’s as though they think you can steer with a smartphone. Perhaps one day you’ll be able to, if Darwinism extends to gadgets.

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  • The real LDV says:

    11:38am | 13/02/12

    Hey I called LDV first at 08.30 above! Read more »

  • morrgo says:

    10:33am | 13/02/12

    Second both.  I also drove in Palermo, Catania and many places in between, and soon found it logical and not very stressful.  Hitting the horn makes sense too.  Buses do it to let car drivers approaching a roundabout fast know that the bus is not going to slow down to… Read more »

 

How can you tell the difference between a newly-elected government and a party that’s been in power for nearly a decade?

Probably a good spot for a camera, but what about all the others? Photo: Adelaide Now

A newly-elected government is happy to admit that things could be done better.

A classic case in point this week was the new Liberal Government in NSW switching off 38 speed cameras deemed to have no real safety benefit.

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  • Anonymous Driver says:

    04:48pm | 19/10/12

    To everyone that think getting a fine for SPEEDING is bad and its the governmen traising revenue, from driving offence than you’ll be surprised to know that you can be done for driving to SLOW also, YES that’s right you can get done one the right hand lane doing 20km… Read more »

  • Anonymous Driver says:

    04:48pm | 19/10/12

    To everyone that think getting a fine for SPEEDING is bad and its the governmen traising revenue, from driving offence than you’ll be surprised to know that you can be done for driving to SLOW also, YES that’s right you can get done one the right hand lane doing 20km… Read more »

 

As we embark on another busy holiday period on our roads, I’m reminded of a tragic story.

Photo: Glen Miller.

It was late at night. A car ran a red light and an innocent family was in trouble.

As a police officer, I was one of the first on the scene. The father had died on impact in the car. The mother – who was given CPR by ambulance officers – also died at the scene.

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  • icon set says:

    09:45am | 10/10/12

    I consider, what is it — a false way. Read more »

  • The Driver says:

    07:20pm | 22/04/11

    Has anyone driven the Pacific Highway recently? The newly laid (over the top of the old) sections of road anywhere north of Kempsey are a disgrace, and whoever has the contract for such works should not be paid. I do not mean the temporary tarmac laid for diversions while new… Read more »

 

Everyone should abide by driving laws but I reckon there’s a need for a guide to driving etiquette.

Cartoon by the Daily Telegraph's Warren Brown

Is it just me or are drivers becoming more agitated, more selfish and lacking any respect for other motorists? They aren’t necessarily breaking the law, they just make driving more annoying.

Gone are the days when driving was a pleasure. Today it’s a means of getting from one place to another with the least amount of aggro.

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  • Leslie says:

    03:21pm | 29/04/12

    I had someone wave me out when the coast was supposedly clear….straight into the path of an oncoming car! Worst accident I’ve ever had. I would never trust ANYONE waving to me that it safe to proceed…there are no consequences for them if they get it wrong! Read more »

  • david says:

    04:20pm | 19/08/11

    @Tom (who said that he would only pay $1.80 for rego considering how much his bike weighs), Cars, station wagons and trucks up to 975kg cost $238… sooo you would pay $238 if push bikes were classed in the same category. Read more »

 

At the outset I declare that I am unashamedly pro-bike.  Cycling is a great sport, a clean form of transport, and has undoubted health benefits for those who regularly ride.

David and Goliath.

Most years the annual “pollie pedal” route is through my electorate – as was the case this year.  Had I not been heavily pregnant, I would have ridden with the team again (albeit for a short distance).

But I have to say: what’s the deal with designated bike lanes?

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  • Anna says:

    08:09pm | 23/05/10

    You’re right Scott, I was obviously an idiot for assuming that you would understand that I was using a figure of speech with “cost nothing”. I was on the V1 today, or the “brisbane bikeway” as you call it. I suggest you borrow a bike and take it. And take… Read more »

  • Arios says:

    11:54pm | 22/05/10

    In Japan people are allowed to cycle on the footpaths - everywhere. Hardcore cyclists can still ride on the road, but is certainly way more riskier. The footpaths provide a safe alternative for children and slower cyclists. The only downside is that pedestrians have to constantly watch out for bicycles… Read more »

 

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