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Canberra Today 1°/5° | Sunday, May 22, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Northbourne speed limit is wrong, wrong, wrong!

Northbourne Avenue… the 40km/h zone.

Reader GIL MILLER has been fined three times for unwittingly exceeding the new 40km/h limits on Northbourne Avenue. He’s having panic attacks worrying if he’s been caught again.

WHEN I read the opinion piece relating to a potential reduction of the 40km/h zone to a 30km/h one, I just groaned (CN December 2).

I drive around 1000 kilometres a week around the streets of Canberra and, as an “advanced” road user, would like to put forward the following.

I feel as though Transport Minister Chris Steel and I are old buddies, even though we’ve never met. He looms large on my mind when I lie in bed at night composing an email to explain how I feel every time I leave the CBD and have a panic attack when I realise that I have AGAIN been through a 40km/h zone along Northbourne or Barry Drive – and possibly incurred another fine.

I have incurred three “speeding” fines – all related to a single intersection and all doing 50km/h or less. 

The fact is that this policy inflicts real pain and suffering on thousands of Canberrans – totally unnecessarily.

The 40km/h speed zones in Canberra are an ill-advised traffic control measure that are not only ineffectual, but just plain wrong.

The Minister’s office cited “reports show that by reducing the speed limit by 20 per cent (it might have been 10km/h), you reduce the risk of death by 85 per cent”.

I don’t know if the Minister truly believes this absolutely ludicrous statement or not, but I have to ask: “WHAT deaths is he alluding to?” If you want to REALLY prevent death, lock us up in our homes – or, at the very least, stop us driving on the roads.

Northbourne Avenue is a three-lane, each-way arterial road through the centre of Canberra. Has anyone sat and watched how ridiculous the traffic stream is along Northbourne Avenue with the traffic travelling at 40km/h? 

Has anyone realised the congestion that this now causes by driving 40km/h between lights along Northbourne in the CBD? I do because I see it every day. Canberra for the first time in its history now has “peak hour” traffic congestion. Good job!

Do the planning boffins realise how long it takes to travel across the London Circuit/Northbourne Avenue intersection when travelling at 40km/h? 

I was going to list the numerous instances of where the 40km/h signs stop and start inconsistently throughout the CBD – and it would be even more impressive if I took the time to create a coloured diagram – but somehow I think I’d be wasting even more of my time. 

But I can’t help commenting on at least the 40 km/h zone all the way along Constitution Avenue until you get to Russell Offices – after the millions of dollars were spent on upgrading that whole thoroughfare – and it is then reduced to 40 km/h. 

I speak with a tremendous number of people about their angst towards the Minister and the government relating directly to the 40km/h imposition. Most of them are wearing it on the chin. But these same people have not forgotten the fiasco over bus timetables, rate increases, building future slums, budget deficits, fiscal irresponsibility that their grandchildren are going to be paying off and now this totally unnecessary imposition on their hip pockets.

I love this city and I have supported this government in many of its endeavours, but this is beyond the pale and the government needs to be taken to task over the imposition of the 40km/h speed restrictions throughout the Canberra CBD. They are NOT preventing deaths. They are income producing.

One can only hope that the Minister has the fortitude to recognise an error when he sees one.

Gil Miller, via email

The truth is in The Bible, Robert

ROBERT Macklin’s article (CN January 7) at first promised to be a thought-provoking exposition on the response to the rise in Omicron numbers across the country and how truth can be a casualty in the process. 

However, it soon degenerates into an offensive and pejorative rant on what he considers to be the truth in the Christmas story and how religion and faith taints every cause or issue in the world, be it covid, world wars or climate change.

Truth is a verified fact and, as Christians, we believe the facts about Jesus are provided to us in The Bible and that answers to life and the truth are in The Bible. Jesus was saying to us, among other things, that it is an indisputable fact that “I am the Son of God”. So, as Protagoras says to Socrates in Plato’s “Protagoras”: “What is true for you is true for you and what is true for me is true for me.”

Angela Kueter-Luks, Bruce

I won’t be a part of that audience

PRESUMABLY there is an audience for Robert Macklin’s pro forma anti-Christian drivel and Clive Williams’ puerile anti-Christian poem (CN January 6) but I am not part of it. 

Nor will I be joining Macklin and Williams if they are looking for guidance in their lives via your two-page horoscope feature.

“CityNews” has always seemed a respite from the nauseating left-leaning PC content served up by your competitors. Unfortunately, you now seem to be veering in their direction. Please don’t. 

John Farrands, Isaacs 

Hypocrisy of staging Summernats

THE hypocrisy of the ACT Greens-Labor government in permitting the annual four days of heightened fossil fuel emissions and noise pollution that is Summernats was staggering.

For those of us who, encouraged by the ACT government, have outlaid hundreds or often thousands of dollars to reduce our transport and household fossil fuel emissions this event was a slap in the face and revealed the real priority of ACT Labor/Greens government. 

Inner-north residents were forced indoors for four days to avoid the smell, toxicity and noise pollution this event hits us and our children with. No doubt Woolworths, McDonalds, KFC, gas stations and other non-local businesses benefitted, while the police were no doubt on overtime – but not protecting residents.

Judith Pabian, via email

Time to build a 21st century transport system

RICHARD Johnson (Letters, CN January 6) asked a simple question of the ACT Disruption Taskforce; “How could they top this?” in relation to the so-called “light” rail extension.

It is time we stopped the use of “’light rail” for this heavy, fixed tracked, yesterday’s technology transport in Canberra. 

New technologies in guidance systems, scheduling algorithms, vehicle suspensions as well as recognition of the real transport shifts the pandemic has and will reschedule future office work travel need to be considered for future public transport systems.

Any real disruptive thinking for the ACT must be to abandon NOW the waste of that so-called “light” rail expansion.  

Time to build a 21st century transport system that meets the needs of all, for all of the week, with a mix of smart, suitable, productive, integrated devices/vehicles that efficiently use the existing infrastructure. 

Call that what you will, but not “light rail” which obviously only suits some of the people, some of the time.

Lauchlan McIntosh, Deakin 

Freedom will tighten and costs will rise

LIKE many, many others, I have never supported light rail in the ACT. But I have moved past this calamity as I can’t see anything that can be done about it. 

I predict we will not see a change of government in the ACT while the Hare-Clark system exists, and this is something the Labor/Greens government knows all too well.

What I foresee is the tightening of the freedom and right of individuals to choose to use private transport. 

No doubt, parking costs will continue to rise, travel times will be increased by the lowering of speed limits for cars (with dozens and dozens of speed cameras introduced), car rego fees will hit the stratosphere, expect to see RFID tags introduced for travel down main arterial roads, and all sorts of taxes and rate increases invented (all in the name of combatting “climate… yada yada”). 

Expect to see high density housing (with virtually no parking) built around the train line, too. 

This will all be done to force people on to this sham of a public transport system by making it so expensive to avoid it. It will all be done so the current government can claim it a success.

Bjorn Moore, Gowrie

Global heating hasn’t stopped

MAX Flint (Letters, CN December 9) is wrong on several issues. “Institutions” such as Climate Watch have no intention of “sowing panic”; that would be counterproductive.

More importantly, Mr Flint clearly does not believe the mountain of evidence for global heating; the cause of climate change. 

For example, despite his claim to have carried out “computer simulations”, he does not understand how they apply to the modelling of global heating. This involves direct observations, measurements of polar ice core data (oxygen isotopes), and carbon dating (carbon isotopes) for information on atmospheric composition back to a million years ago. 

The following may help Mr Flint understand the science of climate change.

For almost the last million years, Earth’s atmospheric and oceanic temperatures were slowly decreasing in regular variations known as the Milankovitch Cycles, with temperatures between plus 2 and minus 8 from the longer-term mean. At the same time, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration varied between 180 parts per million (ppm) and 280 ppm.

The long-term trend was towards another glacial period (or Ice Age). About 350 years ago, that trend quite suddenly reversed. This coincided with the beginning of the first Industrial Revolution, which was in large part driven by the burning of coal and the emission of huge volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. 

This began global heating, which has been accelerating ever since. Atmospheric CO2 level is now the highest in at least a million years.

Earth is now heating at a rate at least 10 times faster than at any time in geological history. Serious action to rein in emissions is needed urgently. 

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

Candidate Pocock just helped Zed

BY throwing his hat in the ring, David Pocock is increasing Senator Zed Seselja’s chances of re-election, as the independent candidates will get individually fewer votes. 

If David really wants to oust Zed he would be better off supporting Kim Rubenstein and making a run for the Senate at the following election. 

Carol Carlyon, Mawson


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13 Responses to Northbourne speed limit is wrong, wrong, wrong!

James says: January 18, 2022 at 4:44 pm

While I don’t disagree with Gil Miller about the need for 40km/hr speed limits, how many times does one have to get caught before they change their behaviour?

Most people learn pretty quickly after the 1st time. 3 times and counting – if you can’t fix your folly and start meeting the speed limit (Whether you like it or not) you should wear the consequences. Its not hard to make the change, while still having a grumble about justification for the change in the first place.

Anne Rasmussen says: January 18, 2022 at 6:59 pm

James maybe you don’t drive in the city as much as Gil but when you go though morning and night it does become stressful. Another real issue is if the light changes and you are just about to go through at 40kms there is a good chance at 40 kms you will get a red light ticket too or worst speeding get to the other side before the camera gets you at 40kms. I’m upset James because I got done 5 times doing 47 – 50 . two of them were morning and night on 2 days. I haven’t gone over 40 kms since I realised and I am damn sure it is a revenue coup or they would have put the decent sign up in the first place as they have now.

James says: January 20, 2022 at 10:54 am

Same point applies to you Anne. You’ve been caught 5 times for goodness sake. And if the light changes, hint hint – don’t enter the intersection. Learn the road rules if you think ‘orange’ = go.

I think its a rubbish change as well, but its not like there isn’t massive signs up everywhere making it clear its a 40 zone…..

Christopher Emery says: January 18, 2022 at 5:52 pm

I am sure RoadsACT could give Gil Miller the exact average increase in journey time and traffic volumes through the new 40km/hr zone. I would suspect an increase of 20 seconds together with an increase in traffic volumes. Volumes increase because the spacing between vehicles decreases at slower speeds.

Ahmed says: January 18, 2022 at 5:53 pm

TCCS need some top management drive through North Bourne Av and London Cct to feel the pain and see how it’s causing more congestion.
In 21st century we still dealing with signals, 40 km zone on a 3 lane main road going through the city, very slow light rail.
How about flyovers and under passes, signal free corridors, fast trains. Looks like they always think of upgrade not something new and and more futuristic.

Bob says: January 20, 2022 at 10:57 am

Did you think the tram was expensive….. some of those ‘futuristic’ ideas (as wonderful as they could be) would make it look cheap.

Michael says: January 18, 2022 at 6:23 pm

I feel that the 40km/h limit was brought in to protect pedestrians from themsleves – i.e. j-walking, not crossing at crossings. In other cities, pedestrians respect that there is a place for walking, a place for driving, and a place for crossing – with pedestrian crossings to give way to pedestrians, and other crossings requiring pedestrians to yield. moving to Canberra over a decade ago, it still surprises me how pedestrians simply stroll out onto the road.

How about putting some perpex screens to stop pedestrians crossing – in the middle of Barry drive or along northbourne. Seriously – these are 6 lane, arterial roads. Or at least consider making them like school zones, treating adults like children who don’t know how to wait for the green man. I leave work in the evenings or drive through the city on a Sunday – 40km/h is absolutely ridiculous.

Does it surprise me – nope. Just look at the 40km/h zones near schools – do we really need to slow down all traffic at every school for the entire day, and sign post the change with tiny little signs (NSW now has nearly every sign with lights).

Brenton says: January 18, 2022 at 6:44 pm

This is all about revenue not safety it is an insult to our ability to drive safely at 60kmh in the city the same as changing Barton hwy between Gungahlin dr and federal hwy to 80kmh wtf 2 lanes no houses cross traffic controlled by lights it’s pure revenue with no justification I hate it

Zac says: January 18, 2022 at 11:50 pm

It’s not about how many times before anyone to change their behaviour! It is about making things right and reasonable, I didn’t get caught but even though the wrong speed limit does not match with the street type and people still might forget “we are still human” it is only a personal opinion from Chris Steel and it is truly just an income producer!
the way they deal with a public is ridiculous forcing thousands of people to drive at 40km/h in a roads like this is just insane it is not a private property and it is 100% wrong wrong wrong
this is a democracy not a poor collection place, can any of these people put down the death statistics on that rods for the past 10 years?
If what they are claiming is correct then why don’t they make all roads 40km/h? I believe we will be safer !

bjorn moore says: January 19, 2022 at 2:26 am

40Km/phr are you serious? I will soon see bees fly past me when the introduction of a 10Km/hr restriction is introduced as the new “public safety” message. All in the effort to force people onto this sham of a “light rail” system (great letter BTW Mr. Mcintosh). We have been absolutely done over with this rubbish and financial burden – please come on people realise this con job this is for what it is.

James says: January 20, 2022 at 10:55 am

You do realise there are 40km/hr zones in a whole bunch of places nowhere near light rail don’t you. I know many love to have a go about that, but it is not the driving force behind this change.

Gil Miller says: January 20, 2022 at 9:11 pm

Hey James. Maybe you should put out a general ‘grumble’ letter to all those idiots that have had more than one ‘speeding’ fine through the CBD. Then you wouldn’t have to denigrate them one by one.


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