Unhappy street cruelled by endless traffic woes

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Unhappy residents… Elizabeth Wetherill with Daniel Harrison and Molly. Photo: Danielle Nohra

SEVENTY household representatives from the upper part of Goyder Street, Narrabundah, have signed a petition calling on the ACT government to take urgent steps to fix the street’s traffic issues.  

Residents living on the top part of the street, which sits between Jerrabomberra Avenue and Dalrymple Street, have been there since before the new developments, and have united to raise frustrations around planning, traffic, speeding, noise, and even safety fears. 

One resident, Daniel Harrison, has a seven-year-old daughter, and says she’s absolutely not allowed past the front gate.

“It’s a shame because it’s a residential street but she can’t go past the front gate because of the speeding traffic on the street,” Daniel says. 

He’s not alone when it comes to these concerns, with another family saying they’re looking into moving because of concerns for their two young children. 

The petition claims that the excessive volume of traffic on Goyder Street is “seriously affecting [their] ability to enjoy living in [their] neighbourhood”. 

“These issues affect the safety, enjoyment and amenity of our street. It has made our street unsafe for families,” according to the petition. 

Making the issue worse, the ACT government has permitted three developments on the street since 2017 (one finished, one underway and one planned), bringing 220 new homes which the residents fear has worsened, and will continue to worsen, the traffic issues.

“It stems from a lack of planning from the outset,” Daniel says. 

“You’ve got a whole bunch of new developments that are going to significantly increase the amount of traffic but there’s not been any infrastructure improvements to handle it. These residences are not even at capacity yet.”

Daniel, who doesn’t believe there’s any government funding to fix these issues, suggests that the building developers could contribute money towards the new infrastructure needed to support their expansions to the street.

“The solution isn’t speed cameras or police,” says Daniel, who has a background in projects and risk management, and from that perspective, suggests that a bus bay could be more effective, and could improve the flow rate of the street. 

“People are breaking the rules. They try and get around buses and cross on the other side of the road quickly to avoid getting stuck behind them,” he says.  

“When you put all of the issues together, with inadequate traffic solutions, people start to get frustrated, they make rash decisions and someone gets hurt. 

“It’s absolutely a safety concern when you’ve got traffic that’s backing up and taking about 20 minutes to clear at the intersection.” 

Lacking proper planning from the outset, Daniel says Band-Aid solutions have been used in an attempt to fix the problems, and he worries that the government will use more. 

Another resident, Elizabeth Wetherill, who’s been living on the street for four years says the traffic has got much worse.

“A lot of it seems to be people using Goyder Street as a shortcut,” she says. 

“There’s families that fear that their children will run out on to the street.

“During the planning stages for the retirement villages I don’t think that the government had really paid attention to the amount of traffic that they would generate.”

After speaking with the government earlier in the year, Elizabeth conducted a survey asking the street if they were happy with the government’s response, and out of the 34 people who participated, 74 per cent of participants said they weren’t happy, 21 per cent said they weren’t sure, and five per cent (two people) said they were happy. 

Out of all the issues 70.5 per cent of participants said they want measures put in place to improve traffic flow at the top of Goyder Street (near Dalrymple), which Elizabeth says can often be congested and hazardous.

About 68 per cent said they want a ban on trucks once the developments are complete and about 44 per cent want the speed limit on the street reduced. 

At the “hazardous” intersection between Dalrymple Street and Goyder Street, resident Jinglong Chen recommends that the government put in a traffic light or roundabout.

I have been living in Goyder Street since 2012 [and] the traffic volume has increased dramatically in recent years,” he says. 

“With the completion of the Marymead and [another] new retirement village, the traffic is likely to be increased rather than decreased.” 

Jinglong also proposes that a new speed limit of 40km/h is implemented on the section of Goyder Street between Jerrabomberra Avenue and Dalrymple Street to reduce the noise and increase safety. 

He wants there to be rules or signs to divert the traffic to Hindmarsh Drive via Jerrabomberra Avenue, too.  

Elizabeth says the street would welcome a meeting with government officials to address these concerns. 

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Danielle Nohra
Danielle Nohra is a "CityNews" staff journalist.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I am a resident on La Perouse St a few houses away from Mr Pentony, the liberal candidate for the area. He is new to the area and may not have noticed, but I have been here for over thirty years, the traffic has increased in volume and is getting faster, less safety conscious and louder.

    Builders and ‘tradies’ who make their own rules about how fast to drive and where to park have taken over the streets, however they will move on.

    The majority of long time residents of La Perouse St (from Carnegie Crescent to Flinders way are concerned about the dramatic increase in traffic and the increase in stupid unsafe speeding, up and down La Perouse St. Another concern is that when around 800 or so more people move into the new flats being build at Red Hill shops, traffic will increase by around 800 cars a day as most well-off households have 2 cars, especially those investing in a new high priced ‘residence’ or flat as I call it.

    Our concern is that La Perouse St, a single lane neighbourhood street, will become a speedway, no longer as safe as it is now (not very) for slower pedestrians to cross.

    This is still our home, even if the developers now have more power over what happens here than the rate paying residents. People in Griffith, Red Hill and Narrabundah still want to go for walks and cross roads, without having to dodge the traffic, as if this area is just a transit zone. The developers have made their money, now they move on and we are left with the consequences

    I would like some of the rich people in this street, in the $2mill plus houses, to think about what the value of their homes will be, once the street is just a speedway for residents of the new flats to get to work.

    Thats around 800 new cars moving around the suburb to get to work each day, just from one development at the Red Hill Shops.

    Add the huge numbers in Goyder St, including aged care workers, health care workers, residents cars, visitors, suppliers and daily food and laundry deliverties and community buses.

    Then there are the teachers, parents and student traffic from Narrabundah college and the normal workers at Red Hill Griffith and Manuka shops.

    Then there are the cars of parents of every child dropped at Red Hill School,the French Pre School, the Child Care Centre, the Catholic school, the Astrolabe st Aged Care Respite Centre, maybe around 2 thousand cars, plus the new traffic of perhaps that many again.

    Then there are the cars that already use the street as a speedway to get to Narrabundah lane to cut through to Tuggeranong and back. Its pretty bust WITHOUT a couple of thousand new cars of residents.
    Did I mention the cars of the existing RATE PAYERS? Tradesmen, visitors etc.

    For the safety of all residents We need, speed bumps, one way only sections of road and for parts of La Perouse (and Goyder) to be closed off to stop through traffic. We need access to Hindmarsh for the new Redhill flats, not a speedway through Griffith and Redhill streets. Captain Cook Crescent was designed as a dual carriage way, with 4 lanes, surely traffic should be funnelled onto that street as it has been designed with that intention.

    We need a BIG change in this town. It used to be a beautiful place and now its a planning mess and is beginning to look unliveable.

    The ACT government has let the leafy ambience of La Perouse St decline, by not properly attending to the borer issues of the streets trees, Pin Oaks. These trees last for generations in Europe. Here they will die because of neglect. They used to be a tourist attraction, with people photographing their autumnal splendor. Now they just drop branches and wither. The government maintain drive strips to the road. Mine has had NO attention since I have lived here (34 years). I fell over tripping on the broken pavement and the ACT Government says, ‘sometime’ next year they may get around to it. Yes folks that IS the attitude.

    And we DO need inspectors to patrol the suburb and ticket ‘tradies’ cars and trucks when they are illegally parked and impede our safety and our footpaths and roads.

    I say to the suburb newbies to the inner south, you’d better get out your protest banners and make some noise, because no one in government or planning is taking any notice of the land values around here. They dont care if heavy traffic makes your home worthless, they will move in their developer mates and have a field day of bargain hunting at your expense. Be afraid.

  2. Gina you do realise a large proportion of those Red Hill new flats will not have 2 car spaces – so your 800 car number is going to be way out.Most will be 1 beddie with 1 car space. And then you cant really add already existing traffic to that estimate to overegg your estimate of additional volume. And that’s before you take off any volume that previously used that site as well. If your going to go down that route, tell the real story – not the one that suits your argument.

    That isn’t to say there is not a clear traffic issue that needs to be managed. But that is very separate to the nimby argument you are trying to mix into the story around development. Or would you have preferred the Red Hill public housing and its associated issues remain?

    And if you really think Canberra is ‘unlivable’, I’d suggest you actually sit back for a few seconds and realise just how good we have got it here – have a cuppa and reflect on the great life you have in our city. You would of paid a fraction for your property compared to its value now, and the the mere fact you have the time to rant about issues that don’t even rate a mention in many, many places around the world says it all really. Yes there are annoyances – sure. And things that should be improved – sure. But unlivable – go take a cold shower if you genuinely believe that!

    It’s all a trade off at the end of the day. Every other suburb has similar issues, as there is not enough money to do everything that everybody wants immediately. 101 public finance problem right there – insatiable needs and desires, but limited resources.

    Be constructive rather than simply destructive in your comments and you might get somewhere. Show respect to those hard working people in the Public Service, doing their best day in day out to make things as best as they can. Many struggle to see the difference between the public servants – who at the end of the day serve the Government of the day, and the political party that is in Government.

    And if you think land values are going down any time soon where you live, you are truly living in a fantasy world.

    • Point of order Jim. Come to the sunny uplands of Gunghalin to see how people manage multiple cars per flat. The streets get blocked and open spaces serve as stand in car parks. That is the reality of poor design.

      Gina’s concerns are real. The strategic issues of over-population versus under-servicing are issues that should be addressed before development occurs.

      • It is the same in Wright. Every bit of grass has a car parked on it outside business hours. They need multiple cars because the suburb was built without shops. So much for a planned city!

      • Never said the concerns were not real, but the assertions were clearly over-egged. As I said, traffic issues need to be dealt with. But they are very separate to questions around whether development should occur or not.

        • No there are not. There is a urban consequence management matrix that needs to be gone through to look at the need to upgrade utilities, road capacity and education support when major population builds occur. In a planned city such as ours this should occur but hasn’t since it became a “developer led” issue.

          To pretend otherwise is either naïve or incompetent or both.

          • Of course Palmerston – but unless there are fundmental ‘show stoppers’ the decision to develop is not based on such factors up front. They are second order, once a decision to develop is actually made.

  3. This the very sad and inevitable outcome of the current government’s urban infill on steroids agenda. It happening all across Canberra. Whole streets are being turned over to bulldoze the lot and build from fence to fence multi-unit developers. As the residents of Goyder Street are finding out its all costs and no benefits them. While the developers and the government are making good money out their over development everyday folk are being get stuck with:
    + Increased congestion on local roads,
    + Reduced privacy as new higher density housing overlooks existing homes and yards,
    + Reduced access to sunlight as higher density buildings overshadow existing homes,
    + Increased noise, air, and light pollution,
    + Excess demand on local area services that can’t be met (shops, cafes, schools, GPs, etc.)
    + Decreased property values for homes hit by reduced privacy and access to sunlight and open spaces,
    + Loss of vegetation that will decreases property values, increase local summer temperatures and cooling costs, reduce air quality, and protection from high winds.

  4. Yeah, good luck ! Seriously, that new guy, Chris Steel, wont do a damn thing. I’ve been waiting a year for a reply about car racing/wheelies in Douglas Waterhouse Drive, Dunlop, and it took a year for DAS to finally give me a negative answer about one barking dog. This Government needs a kick in the butt, bureaucrats need to be more professional and caring. Elections are a coming and I wont be voting for “them”….Fast Train Party for me, thanks.

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