Wednesday 27 October 2010

Why is the traffic so bad in Cairns?

The daily traffic that banks up near the airport turnoff for kilometers each and every day, is not a 'rush hour' problem, it's a roading problem.

As our population has increased over the last 10 years, little in road infrastructure has changed or improved to accommodate the substantial amount of additional vehicles travelling into the city from the Northern Beaches.

An identical drama unfolds every morning on the Southern approach, as suburbs South of Cairns continue to grow and sprawl.

Is there a lack of spending by the State government or Council in this area?

Another pet gripe, and one that many readers share with me, is that the Police are quick to ticket anyone doing 66 kms in a 60 zone, or 86 in an 80 zone, but never ever appear to catch those wankers that hog the right hand (passing) lane. I reckon it's one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. Others are then forced to pass on the left. It's not difficult to cite a 'P' plater in the right hand lane, sticking to his religious 80kph speed, believing he (or she) is doing this right thing. Well, they are doing the right thing, and that's my point, God dam it (sorry god, but your nic-name often comes in handy in times of frustration.)

I'm always so amazed at how many simply don't understand their road rules and that it's not appropriate to sit in the right hand lane like this. Signs were re-installed in March last year at the beginning of the 80km and 100km start points. Are these drivers blind? Maybe they are, because they're wankers ;-)

Numerous times I've spotted drivers doing this right-hand hogging behaviour. I even spotted a good Mr Policeman doing the same thing!

It's easy for Police to focus on speed, and for obvious good reasons too, but often it is to the detriment of other rules that help flow of traffic. I hope our good blog mate Russ might give his perspective on this.

There ya go, morning rant over.


stinhambo said...

Why would you be passing if everyone is driving at the speed limit?

Also, consider that people want to turn right later so it's best to stay in the right lane to prepare for this.

The problem is a lack of mass transport options (light rail) and dependency of the CBD for work opportunities.

Perhaps they should consider building technology or commercial parks outside the CBD (Edmonton and Smithfield), connected by the NBN.

Fosnez said...

Why is traffic so bad? Two words: Public Transport - Specifically that lack there of. Sure we have a token "bus network" which really only consists of angry 50 something men that get annoyed when they have to stop their precious blue ramming machines.

Then we hear that a proper solution, such as light rail is "Too expensive". Conveniently they ignore the fact that cities such as <a href=',_Washington#Local_and_regional_transportation">Tacoma, Washington</a> (which has a population very similar to Cairns) has a functional light rail system. With Cairns being a very north<->south city, light rail actually makes much more sense than the cockup another bus "network" will be.

Michael P Moore said...

A reader just emailed that police can only issue a speeding ticket if its 7 or more KM over the speed limit (which does not facilitate that cars on the road are allowed to be 10% out of wack according to ADR’s (AU Design Rules)… So – at highway speeds (100km/h), you can be 10KM/h our of wack but we can fined for it.

Rowan said...

The ADR is a lot more specific and you will find no new car that under reads - most over read by 2-4km/h.

This constant speed limit change on the northern roads is extremely frustrating and I often find many cars doing 80 in the 60 zones.

Reality is 2 lanes with huge delays at roundabouts is much to blame. From Smithfield to the City it should be 3 lanes.

If money was spent on upgrading our roads you would find that bus transit times, especially in peak times would drop.

As far as the mobile blue Mercedes speed van based in Cairns, that is primarliy about revenue. Dont speed and you wont get fined. Simple. Dont contribute to Bligh's slush fund anymore than you need to

Leigh Dall'Osto said...

After living in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast, I find traffic here pretty good actually. People need to keep more to the left but new drivers are not confident mergers and will stay right if they are turning at some point. As long as they are doing the speed limit.....there should be no problem with that.

Public transport here is extremely poor. The light rail system is much too expensive, I understand that. The bus network is expected to improve with the introduction of the dedicated bus lane in the new highway on the south side.....that will be great....IN 30 YEARS!! For now, we need better drivers, better safety regulations, customer service courses and twice the number of buses on the roads. Only then will the situation be adequate for our population. Can I see it happening? Well, no.

Andrew Tunney said...

Seriously; go to Brisbane for a week and you will know what constitutes bad traffic.

Cairns traffic is good, we just need to not screw it up like Brisbane!

Luke Mahoney said...

After living in Sydney for many years, you appreciate how great the drivers are there. They Do keep left, they DO allow you to merge, they only get into the right lane shortly before the next turn right (instead of 10 KMs away).

Stinhambo's argument about both doing the speed limit in both lanes is VERY rare here in Cairns. I travel from Clifton to Cairns each day (and formally Edmonton to Cairns) and the amount of frustration that drivers not obeying the rules cause the others is just infuriating. And then people take risks to get around the driver (be it they are driving slow, wrong lane, with their break lights on or what ever else).

But that all said, yes - we do need a train system and more lanes. Both solutions would be more green for the environment (as a stopped car in traffic is not a green car).

stinhambo said...

Based on this information -

You do need to keep left if you are travelling straight ahead in an 80kph speed limit IF there is a "Keep Left" sign (say from Cairns to Port Douglas) but I'll sit in the right hand land if I'm going to be turning right at the next roundabout which is also legal.

What's dangerous are drivers that get up to about an inch of my back bumper so in those instances I slow to about, mmm 50kph.

What the hell are people in such a rush for? Should have left home earlier.

Fosnez said...

@stinhambo "What's dangerous are drivers that get up to about an inch of my back bumper so in those instances I slow to about, mmm 50kph."

No, what's dangerous is pretentious people like you enacting their own version of "karma" on people. People are up your arse for a reason - you are in the wrong (as you just said, staying in the right lane when you actually don't need to be). People are in a rush because there are too many people like you on the road making the rest of us late.

Take the bus.

stinhambo said...

Nice assumption Foz but as I said, I'm going to be turning right at the next roundabout. If I'm doing 80kph then there's no reason to overtake and if people are approaching me then they're breaking the speed limit no?

Making you late? How can I be if I'm doing the speed limit. I only slow if people are speeding and putting my families safety in danger.

Take a reading course *and* a driving course.

Unknown said...

Mike, this shit's been going on for decades from the northern beaches. I fondly remember my father swearing profusely on the daily trip from Clifton to the city at people in the RH lane. I genuinely think people are not aware of the rules, so my point about it happening for years it that it's now culturally ingrained, and it's not gonna change. Part of the Northern Beaches "charm", if you will.

Luke Mahoney said...

@stinhambo Because we are not all retired and cant all afford to travel twice the time at half the speed!

Keeping left? May pay to have a word to SUNPALM to port douglas – I am forever getting caught behind them as they are so ignorant to the 20 cars behind them!

Oh – and the road between Holloways and machens is 100KM/H and keeping left must be adhered to – but cairns people don’t seem to feel they have to.

Luke Mahoney said...

As much as I hate to agree – I do agree Tony.

No user on the road has the right to teach others a lesson (READ: Stinhambo) but that said – there should be no reason to keen an inch away from your bumper if your keeping left or overtaking on the right.

Why not fine people like they do in NSW for this kind of conduct (both tailgating and not keeping right). While we are onto it – why not give ALL drivers lessons on using roundabouts and those things call indicators (Optional extra on cars sold in QLD).

stinhambo said...

@Luke Mahoney - Then you're breaking the speed limit!

Even in a 100kph zone, if you're turning right then you have a right to be in the right hand lane.

When the speed limit is 90 km/h or more on multi-lane roads, you must not drive in the right-hand lane unless you are:

* overtaking
* turning right
* making a U-turn
* avoiding an obstacle
* driving in congested traffic.

So as I said before, I am perfectly entitled to be in the right hand lane if I'm going to turn right at the next roundabout. What's dangerous is cutting into the right lane at the last moment while people are overtaking while breaking the speed limit.

The reason I slow down is of course to piss off the person behind but they are carrying less kinetic energy at 50kph so if they hit me from behind then there's less chance of me and my family being killed and run off the road.

I do disagree with people who drive below the speed limit in the right lane but it is legal to undertake.

Basically the roads are poorly designed for keeping to the left. To accomplish this you need road ramps that you only exit on the left then go above or below the main road for you to turn left or right (or turn around or go back on).

Bryan Law said...

A defensive driving course will teach you that, if the car behind is tailgating (following at an unsafe distance for the speed being travelled) the correct remedial action IS to reduce speed until the existing distance is safe at that speed. In extreme cases, one would need to stop altogether.

I see no need to compromise my safety, or that of my family, just because some juiced up twenty something is testosterone affected.

stinhambo said...

Thank you Bryan.

Fosnez said...

"Luke Mahoney - Then you're breaking the speed limit!"

Except for the fact that the road was built for 100km/h and was like that for years."The reason I slow down is of course to piss off the person behind" You do realize that your vigilante method of "getting that guy back" is actually more dangerous than just pulling over and letting them pass, right? You can't claim to be concerned about safety if you have just admitted that you are purposefully pissing off drivers. Yes, you should be in the right lane to turn right, but not 2km beforehand.

@Bryan Law. Actually, a defensive driving course will tell you to move to the left if the left lane is available to remove yourself from the danger of the tailgater. Also your comment of "juiced up twenty something is testosterone affected" is blatant ageism and I would have expected more from you than that.

But anyway, to both of you. Lets not let common sense get in the way. You certainly shouldn't try to remove yourself from any perceived danger of a tailgater by moving left. That would be far too intelligent, clearly. No, you should sit there, slow down and put yourself in more danger to "teach them a lesson". Darwin Award anyone?

John Downer said...

@Fosnez ... So you're a tailgater if the guy in front is driving on the speed limit, and you want to speed past him? Idiot!

In the UK it's illegal to 'undertake', even the cops won't do it if they're on an emergency with their siren going .... it's dangerous.

If you're travelling into the city from the North, during normal morning travel, you're entitled to stay in the outside lane of a two carriageway road, as long as you are sitting on the speed limit, who are you meant to be moving over for? If everyone was in the inside lane the speed of flow would decrease, forcing more people to pull out and overtake, making the journey more dangerous.

Fosnez said...

*John Downer.

"If you're traveling into the city from the North, during normal morning travel, you're entitled to stay in the outside lane of a two carriageway road"

Actually, no. You are not. You are breaking the law. Now who's the idiot?

Colin Riddell said...

I have driven everywhere and you tossers drive like wankers.
You speed ,drive up arses ,run red lights ,amber means plant your foot .You park on the wrong side of the road .You are the worst I have ever seen.

T. Asquith said...

Luke Mahoney said "Oh – and the road between Holloways and Machens is 100KM/H" Really? I just drove through there before and would swear it has 80 signs. Anyone?

stinhambo said...

Either way Fosnez, you're admitting that you drive over the speed limit so my actions only kick in if someone approaches me quickly *while I'm doing the speed limit*.

Some stretches of road are longer and I don't make a habit of hogging the right lane unless there's a bit of traffic on them but even then I stick to the limits.

Really this argument is about people in the right land *and* driving under the speed limit.

You can't level any grievance at driver on the speed limit in the right lane as technically you'd never catch up to them legally.

So go ahead and admit you drive over the speed limit and we argue which is more dangerous.

John Downer said...

@Fosnez ... "When you drive on a multi-lane road where the speed limit is more than 80 km/h, you must not travel in the far right lane unless you are: ...... - driving in congested traffic." Now who's the idiot?

If the traffic is taking up both lanes, and moving at the speed limit, you are allowed to stay in the outside lane, there isn't room for everyone to be in the left lane, and the only traffic that NEEDS to be there are those doing less than the speed limit.

And you haven't answered my point about you being an idiot if you gain on someone doing 80 in the right lane and ride up their arse.

Fosnez said...

@T. Asquith

Well.. the road was built / designed for 100km/h.

Because the average Cairns driver appears to not have the skills to navigate it at this Queensland standard speed means that we need to reduce the "limit" to the lowest common denominator.

Bryan Law said...

Foznez accuses me of "blatant ageism", yet I was inspired by his own comments above citing

"a token "bus network" which really only consists of angry 50 something men that get annoyed when they have to stop their precious blue ramming machines"

OK, two wrongs don't make a right, but Fozzy might benefit from a bit of broader perspective on like.

Oh yeah, and a bit of realism too. If he thinks tailgating in Cairns only happens on the dual carriageways, then he musn't be getting out much.

Settle down young mate. A few seconds here or there - even a minute - doesn't add up to much in the scheme of things.

Russ Parker said...

Mike sorry I didn't chime in earlier here. I'm on holidays at the moment so have been busy running around and doing all those little things that you keep putting off in the course of the normal working week scenario!

Firstly, Luke Mahoney - slow down mate or you'll blow your licence! The limit's 80kph between Holloway's and Machan's - steady up there old son!

Now where was I? Yes, you are supposed to keep left along that section of the highway now that the appropriate signs have been reinstated. Ordinarily if it's a multi-lane road with a speed limit of 80kph and no 'Keep left unless overtaking' signage is in place, then it is lawful to drive in either lane, much like say Sheridan St/Mulgrave Rd etc.

The signs used to be there and then they were removed for a few years and have now reappeared so there may still be some confusion there with some drivers. It is common courtesy to keep left however common courtesy has become a bit like common sense - not very common!

This highway is a bit of a bugger of a situation because it has become so busy in recent years. Residents of any of the beach suburbs who are heading home after work all have to enter the right lane to turn into their respective suburbs and this is where inconsiderate drivers can make it very difficult for this to occur. There seems to be this unspoken Cairns driver mentality that forbids allowing people to change lanes!

They will be travelling in the right lane and when someone slightly ahead in the left lane indicates to move into the right lane they take it as a personal affront and step on the accelerator to prevent that from occurring. I think this is why a lot of people will grab the right lane well before hand and stay there until they're ready to make their turn. I can understand why they do it too, as some of these wankers will not let you change lanes for all the tea in China!

With regard to the Police car in the photo in the right lane, it's difficult for me to say what the go was there without seeing if he had just overtaken or whatever. I can state that there is a general exemption for Police vehicles under the regulations and that is for a reason. If a police vehicle is in traffic and attempting to detect unregistered/uninsured vehicles or intoxicated drivers for instance , the driver needs to move through the general traffic flow at a higher speed than the general traffic movement. If they don't then they are going to be basically looking at the same drivers and vehicles for the entire patrol. Sometimes too, you'll need to stop and park in some odd places that ordinarily wouldn't allow parking etc. The particular regulation doesn't allow for things like dangerous operation of a vehicle or drink driving and so on though obviously!

Hopefully that's explained a few things folks. Now - and let's be perfectly honest, how many people do you know of that have been booked for doing 66kph? Come on - none of the old, "I know a bloke and his cousin's wife's hairdresser was saying that her step father's mate got pinged for going 6kms over the limit"

I've probably started something here!



The Essence of Good Taste said...

I have been driving in from Freshwater for 10 years and the single most effective traffic congestion cause in that period has been the instigation of a 40kph zone outside Mother of Good Council School. Now while I don't have an issue with keeping kids safe this is madness. There is a set of pedestrian traffic lights manned by lollipop people during the school in/out period; very few children cross there (most are dropped in the side streets by parents) - in fact we have a competition to spot the school kid as we go through that particular section of Sheridan St... If we are going to be fair how about we put a 40kph zone along Hoare St from Grove St to Pease St - that is a much more dangerous and highly populated area at student in/out times?...
Anyway the 40k zone at the end of the highway does nothing but log jam the traffic and it clears again once back in the 60k zone... very frustrating

Unknown said...

Germaine Queer is spot on about orange lights. That's an even bigger problem in VIC, where running dark oranges and reds is a national sport. Also, someone mentioned getting blocked by people speeding up when you want to get in the RH lane to go round the roundabout and get off at the beaches. That reminds me of another thing people coming and going from the northern beaches have been doing since the roundabouts were put in - heaing north, going right around in the LEFT LANE, screwing any though-traffic. I've personally seen 3 people wiped out at those roudabouts in the 90's doing exactly that.

Andrew Vostrikov said...

try melbourne traffic