Governments seem to find the most expensive solutions to traffic and parking problems, instead of thinking outside the square.
We don’t necessarily need more expensive electronic signs, traffic lights, wider roads or more lanes. Sometimes, the answer can be quite cheap.
Currently lane-filtering is on the agenda in several states of Australia. It is a simple and cheap answer to lightening the traffic load in peak hours. But there are other simple solutions, most of which involve simple changes in the rules.
We recently mentioned the American situation where riders can proceed even when there is a red light so long as they have stopped. This is because some traffic lights don’t detect a rider. It would prevent frustrated drivers sitting behind a bike which hasn’t triggered the lights.
Some cities also have a rule where you can turn left (in countries where you drive on the left and vice versa where you drive on the right) on a red light, so long as you give away to any traffic. This is yet another example of a simple and inexpensive method for clearing blocked traffic.
Brisbane has been trialling the system and found no incidents have been caused. They are now planning to extend the rule to up to 50 more intersections across the city. There are many cities around the world that have this rule and for some strange reason, some of them are reducing the number of intersections where it is permitted.
There are also many intersections which have red arrow lights despite there being plenty of vision available to make a safe turn. These should be reviewed.
Now Brisbane City Council is calling for public submissions to help with parking issues. You can make a submission very quickly with their online survey. Just tick the areas you want to comment on, then add your comment.
The first area I commented on was “parking meters (locations, charges and operating hours) and all I wrote was that there should be reduced rates or free parking for motorcycles to encourage more people to ride and reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and parking demand.
The next was “Council’s investment in parking technology and innovation”. It says “Brisbane City Council is currently using innovative technology to provide more convenient parking payment methods such as phone payments and Pay Wave/Pay Pass. Council is also trialling in-ground parking sensors that will provide real-time information on where on-street spaces are available.”
However, if they simply provide more free places for motorcycle parking, they won’t have to invest as much money on hi-tech solutions.
The third comments section was “CBD and inner city kerbside space” to which I suggested simply following Melbourne’s example of free footpath parking – under certain restrictions. I also suggested this should be extended to suburban areas, not just the CBD.
All are simple solutions that cost nothing except the loss of parking and fine revenue.