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Sunday, February 9, 2014

'Community Concepts' - DCSCA submission 10

This is the tenth submission by the Drysdale and Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) to the City of Greater Geelong's 'Community Concepts' programme.

For background on the programme, and earlier DCSCA submissions see "'Community Concepts' - making the process transparent" on this blog (22 January). 

 Focus Group - Traffic Congestion in Geelong CBD.

 Currently, east-west traffic through Geelong is very inefficient and subject to much delay. Vehicles spend a large percentage of their journey sitting at traffic lights, wasting time and precious fossil fuel and polluting the atmosphere in the CBD. DCSCA believes that detailed analysis of the system would reduce this congestion by fine-tuning the traffic light control system.  Some examples:
  • Traffic data could be recorded, a modification to the traffic light operation trialed and subsequent data compared. 
  • Designate “Green Light Routes”.  One route (e.g. McKillop St.) would have the traffic light sequencing optimized for east to west traffic; another route (e.g. Myer St.) would be optimized for west to east traffic.  Traffic flow along these routes would also be synchronized to the appropriate north/south flow through the traffic lights through LaTrobe St. at Ryrie St.  This would allow further efficiencies for traffic to and from Melbourne and the Bellarine.
  • Realign the western end of McKillop St. such that it intersects with LaTrobe at Little Myers. This would eliminate the dangerous and inefficient Rail Level Crossing.  This will eliminate the dangerous and inefficient Rail Level Crossing, which is the cause of significant traffic delay.  An attached image indicates that 2 continuous east/west lanes of traffic could be provided. It may be desirable to only allow one lane to exit LaTrobe into Little Myers - this would allow a designated left turn lane out of Little Myers. Whether a right turn from LaTrobe would be allowed would need to be determined by VicRoads. The fact that an area of land, currently occupied by McKillop Street, would become available for carparking or development may offset any costs of this project.
Council should set up a focus group to investigate the factors contributing to traffic congestion and inefficiencies in Geelong CBD and to recommend improvements. Focus group personnel should include representatives of State and Local Governments, VicRoads, local community groups and businesses and invited experts. CoGG and VicRoads to progress project to completion.

Objectives of the project
  • To reduce traffic congestion in Geelong CBD by implementing minimal-cost actions that optimize the existing system and reduce unnecessary traffic delays.
  • To provide a healthier atmosphere in the Geelong CBD.  Audited data should enable CoGG and VicRoads to demonstrate that they are displaying a “Duty of Care” to Geelong residents by reducing the amount of carcinogenic exhaust fumes being generated in the CBD. 
  • To reduce traffic congestion in Geelong CBD and hence improve the ambience within the CBD.  Reduced congestion will increase the tourism attraction and accessibility of both Geelong and the Bellarine, and hence grow the local economy and increase local employment opportunities.
  • To improve pedestrian safety within Geelong CBD.  This action will reduce the number of vehicles in the area of the CBD where pedestrians are most numerous. 
  • To improve road safety.  Reducing the number of vehicles having to stop at traffic lights will reduce the number of front to rear crashes.
  • To reduce the amount of carcinogenic diesel fumes and pollution in the Geelong CBD. Vehicles travelling at a constant speed emit much less pollution than when stopping and starting. Hence this proposal will reduce pain and suffering, improve community health and wellbeing and reduce the cost burden on the health system. 
  •  To reduce the wastage of fossil fuels with consequent environmental and economic benefits to the community and the country. The potential savings may be estimated as follows (Values used are as an illustration.): 
  • Number of vehicles passing through Geelong CBD per day: east to west 10,000, west to east 10,000. Average journey time through approx. 3 km of Geelong CBD: 7  minutes. Average journey time to travel 3 km at a constant 60 km per hour (the speed that a green light route strategy could allow): 3 minutes. Time spent idling at traffic lights = 7 min – 3 mins = 4 mins per vehicle = 4/60 = 0.0667 hours. If, on average a vehicle uses 2 litres of fuel per hour when idling, then fuel used while idling at traffic lights may be calculated as follows: 20,000 vehicles per day x 0.0667 hours x 2 litres = 2,667 litres per day.  This is 973,333 litres/year.  At $1.50 per litre this is $1.46million!  This money could be more productively spent in the Geelong economy!
  • To reduce climate change, sustain and enhance the natural environment and contribute to Geelong being a Clean and Green City.
  • To reduce the carbon footprint of the traffic system.
An internet search shows that for every litre of gasoline used, about 2.4 kg of CO2 is produced; for every litre of diesel fuel, about 2.7 kg of CO2 is produced.  Approximately one third of the vehicles on the road are diesel and this percentage is increasing.  Thus the 973,333 litres of fuel per year produces in excess of 2400 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Street address and suburb: Geelong CBD
Council ward: Brownbill
Estimate of total project cost:  $20,000. Ongoing cost implication minimal – within existing VicRoads responsibility.
DCSCA Secretary Neil McGuinness has been actively involved in discussions with CoGG personnel on the issue and has had items published in the Geelong Advertiser on the issue.  These and other documents are available on request.

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