Letters / Government fines rather than fixes tram problem

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I MUST be one of the “cynical Canberrans” who “are still scratching their heads over a police crackdown on jaywalking” (Mike Welsh, Seven Days, CN, August 22).

Canberrans have learned from experience that it’s quite safe to cross against a red signal when either:

(a) the road is empty of approaching vehicles for half a kilometre, or

(b) vehicles in the lane/s you are crossing are stopped at a red signal.

Ten years ago I proposed that pedestrian signals along Northbourne Avenue should be allowed to show green when the adjacent and parallel vehicle signals were green. The change reduced wait times by up to two minutes. It also reduced the proportion of illegal-crossings-against-red from 42 per cent to 30 per cent and reduced numbers of legal-but-risky crossings away from the traffic signals.

Since then the government has reduced unnecessary pedestrian wait times by installing staged pedestrian crossings with appropriately-timed signals, at the intersection of Melrose and Hindmarsh Drives in Woden. This almost certainly improved safety. It installed another staged pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Marcus Clarke St and Rimmer Street in Civic. But the signals at that crossing routinely impose unnecessary red phases on pedestrians.

Pedestrian signals along the light rail line are programmed so that most of their red phases occur when there are no trams approaching, and it is actually safe to cross. In March I raised this issue with the former transport minister.

Since then another pedestrian has been hit by a light rail vehicle, while crossing against a red signal that happened to occur when a light rail vehicle was actually approaching.

Instead of fixing the pedestrian signal problem, the government has responded by fining pedestrians.

How many pedestrians have been fined for safely crossing the light rail when no trams were approaching?

Leon Arundell, via citynews.com.au

Minister ruining Gungahlin 

MINISTER Mick Gentleman is ruining Gungahlin employment by not building business parks and not utilising vacant land in Gungahlin.

Light rail is a failure and trams from Civic to Gungahlin are empty as there are no offices and business parks in Gungahlin resulting in a loss of $1.2 billion to ACT ratepayers.

Woden has Health and IP Australia, Tuggeranong has DHS and DSS, Belconnen has Home Affairs, but there are no big Federal departments in Gungahlin.

Gungahlin needs more commercial land releases and the Draft Variation to the Gungahlin Territory Plan must be approved immediately so that business parks can be built.

Michael Clarke, via email

Environment ‘loaded’ with radiation

“CITYNEWS” readers may be interested to learn that Swiss parliamentarians have recently called for a moratorium on the rollout of 5G technologies. 

MPs have voted in favour of asking the World Health Organization to conduct independent scientific studies on the effects of radiation from 5G frequencies. 

“The environment will be increasingly loaded with magnetic waves, and no one knows if their accumulation is harmful to health,” said signatory Bertrand Buchs. Other European countries such as Belgium are following suit.

Swiss Re, a leading provider of insurance, has released a report that identifies potential risks of digital and radiation-emitting technologies. 

Published in May, “SONAR, New Emerging Risk Insights”, identifies new and not-yet-envisioned risks that the insurance industry needs to have on its radar, including fifth generation (5G) technologies that will allow high-speed, internet access with higher capacity. In addition to devices used by people, it will be used to connect machines to each other, known as the Internet of Things (IoT). 

According to the report, the rollout of 5G networks will require more antennas and this will involve more exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) than ever before.

The current 4G technology operates at 4GHz levels. It should be noted that the “5G” you see in today’s WiFi routers means “5GHz”. This is NOT the same as the 5G rollout which means “5th Generation” infrastructure. Actual 5G (“5th Generation”) is planned to operate at 25-90+GHz frequencies, use beam-forming/targeting systems, and be integrated with thousands of satellites to blanket the earth. The wireless industry has purposefully obfuscated this, in an attempt to normalise and gain acceptance of the term “5G”.

Lisa (surname withheld), via email

Bus changes ‘unacceptable’

 TWO days after the ACT Liberal and Greens MLAs helped to engineer an ACT government agreement to an “urgent action plan” that would address aspects of the worsening weekend public transport service, the government, which includes the Greens, has announced that local weekend hourly bus services will soon be cut to “up to every two hours” (“ACT Labor cuts weekend bus services” citynews.com.au, August 16).

ACT Greens Transport spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur’s shocked response about the announced changes being “unacceptable” is a gross understatement.

The resulting inefficiencies linked to individuals’ journey planning from September 28 will see many having to give up work, and formal and informal social, cultural and sporting commitments at weekends. 

It is clear that the years of government promises about major transport improvements and the encouragement of “active travel” are only guaranteeing benefits to those who live within easy walking distance of a Rapid bus route or a light rail stop. 

Sue Dyer, Downer 

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  1. Thank you Lisa, wonderfully written piece on the maddening radiation levels being felt here in Canberra by many. Great to see CityNews publishing these concerns and making this information available to the public, as like Lisa said, it’s being hidden on purpose.

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