Roundabout roulette


Surprise! Surprise! Grafton people seem to like their new pedestrian traffic lights. Fancy that.

Meanwhile the cost of the Yamba mini roundabouts keeps on increasing, as does the population and traffic volumes in Yamba.

Will the seven (eight if the one at Yamba St is included), existing/proposed roundabouts speed up traffic flow on Yamba Road? Unlikely. At every one, every vehicle has to slow down, even stop, to negotiate them. For large vehicles this slowing down and speeding up is a slow process.

Putting it another way. At major/minor intersections there are give-way or stop signs on the minor road. With roundabouts first-there (theoretically) has priority no matter which road they’re on. It’s like taking away the stop/give-way signs at regular intersections. It becomes the brashest driver who has priority.

I’m not against roundabouts. They are great in low volume areas, but in major/minor or even major/major intersections they are not the best solution. And because the rules in practice are not black and white, I suspect they also create more driver stress.

Smart coordinated traffic lights, based on volume and time of day, would allow a faster constant speed traffic flow, particularly during peak hours.

The real unanswered problem though, is that along the whole length of Yamba Road there are still no safe, pedestrian priority, crossings.

Housing is booming on the SW side, but shopping and recreation are on the N side. There are schools on the S, which have students from the N.

Is there any parent who would let any of their children (say under the age of 12), cross Yamba Road without adult supervision, whether it be for school, recreation, the markets or picking up some groceries? This also applies to the elderly, the handicapped and bus users (either coming or going), who can’t do a 20m dash through an ever-diminishing gap between vehicles.

Isn’t it time the CVC stopped letting the tail wag the dog as they often seem to do, and look at what is the best long-term solution for the whole Yamba community?

John Ibbotson,