A tale of three intersections

This morning I went to check out the intersection of Banfield St and Gympie Road at Chermside, about a kilometer from Webster Road, which has recently had the zebra crossings on the slip lanes replaced with two-colour signal lights. I’m not sure exactly when, or how much it cost, or even how it was financed, as TMR didn’t publicise the works and it doesn’t appear to be in QTRIP.

This is a very busy intersection for both vehicle traffic and pedestrians, as Banfield St is an entrance to Westfield Chermside shopping center, and the Chermside Medical Center and the Wheller Gardens / Parkview aged care villages are on the other side of Gympie Road. In the 5 minutes I was taking photos, about a dozen pedestrians crossed the slip lanes – guess how many pushed the button and waited for the lights?

If you guessed “zero”, well done.

Next, I went down past the shopping center to the intersection of Rode Rd and Gympie Rd. This intersection exists in a mysterious parallel universe, where an intersection between major roads can function perfectly well without slip lanes or auxiliary left turns, and with single-stage pedestrian crossings across all four legs to boot.

The boot” is long gone, though.

In fact, it’s surprising just how few slip lanes there are along Gympie Road inbound from Chermside. In the three kilometers between the shopping center and Stafford Road, there are only three – two at Kitchener Road and one at Edinburgh Castle Road – and all three are scheduled for removal next year as part of TMR’s Northern Transitway project.

The final stop on my tour today was at Bangalow Street and Albany Creek Road in Bridgeman Downs, where work is about to begin on signalising the intersection.

This intersection upgrade will be welcomed by a lot of locals, as it will be the only signalised crossing of Albany Creek Road for almost a kilometer in either direction. However, despite the potential for this being a high-pedestrian area – it’s immediately adjacent to several medium-density townhouse complexes, a childcare center, the pathway along the creek, and bus stops on Albany Creek Road – the slip lane is being retained.

Not simply retained, but demolished and rebuilt – which would definitely be against TMR’s safety policy, if not for the loophole of signalisation.

So, why do some areas of the TMR network, like Aspley and Bridgeman Downs, get the fuzzy end of the slip-lane lollipop, while in other areas slip lanes are routinely removed by the Department without issue? Is it perhaps a matter of representation, and whether local politicians care enough about road safety to push for better outcomes in their area? I’m going to email Bart Mellish, MP for Aspley, to ask if he has any thoughts on the slip lane at Bangalow St, and I’ll let you know.

Edit: Here’s Bart Mellish’s response:

“I’m pleased that locals who live on Bangalow Street will still be able to turn into it as a result of the works that are being undertaken. The works will improve the overall safety of the intersection for motorists and pedestrians alike. I appreciate your interest in good local transport outcomes as you know, but it’s not my role as a local member to direct traffic engineers in the design process for every standard intersection upgrade.”

Edit 2: TMR have gotten back to me and told me that the crossing signals at Banfield St were installed in August, at a cost of $270,000, and were funded from the Road Safety Minor Works Program.

Webster Road slip lanes Update #5 – November 22

I made a Right to Information request for the Webster Road project documents at the start of June, and the documents finally came back in late August – you can read them here.

While the documents – unsurprisingly – show that no alternative to slip lane signalisation was ever acknowledged, much less considered, at Webster Road, perhaps the most important admission is not in the documents themselves, but in the Decision Notice. My RTI request specifically asked for information the Department holds concerning “what the safety and compliance implications of the chosen treatment are”, and the Department confirmed in the DN they “do not hold documents related to [this] as the project basis was to comply with the department’s Road Safety Policy.” In other words, confirmation that there is nothing underpinning the idea of signalised crossings as a safety treatment, besides the Department’s desire to continue building and operating slip lanes.

Meanwhile, the correspondence continues: