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NSW and [vic]- More trams in Sydney, advice from Mexicans sought

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by smileedude, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/premier-embraces-light-rail-network-20120109-1prvs.html

    So it seems that the light rail network is expanding dramatically in Sydney. I'm not against this, I think the more public transport the better. However I've read many comments on here made by Melbournites about how bad tram tracks are.
    Currently the light rail network is small and mainly off the road. I haven't experienced crossing tram tracks in the wet before. Is it that bad? How many people have crashed because of it? Is the risk bad enough that we should jump up and down saying "not in my back yard"? Should we insist on being consulted in the process of laying the tracks? For those who experience the perils of tram tracks every day, if you had a chance would you go back and protest the introduction of trams?

  2. Surely someone has something to say about this? Even just to say, no tram tracks are not that bad, don't worry about them, the hazzard is minimal.
  3. I don't think the advice you're likely to receive will be exactly "valid" for Sydney...
    The problem (in my limited experience...) is the tram lines that go up the middle of the road, and are therefore parrallel to your direction of travel.
    So far they seem to be either off the road altogether here, or at least cross the roads perpendicular or thereabouts. If you keep it fairly upright and don't grab the throttle or brakes, there shouldn't be a problem.
  4. Tram tracks are awful, they're slicker than weasel shit and all over the place.

    Trams themselves are even worse, they hold up traffic on narrow roads and are a pain in the ass to pass safely in a lot of situations. THey also make it harder to see other traffic on the road.
  5. @NK Yeah, I know that's the situation at the moment, but if you read the article, there are plans to put tracks along ANZAC parade, George st, City road and Paramatta road (all roads I use regularly). I assume these will be parrallel to the direction of travel and hence create the problems seen in Melbourne.
  6. Aah I see - too lazy to read that article, sorry...

    Interesting about Parramatta Road though - it's that wide and a complete mess because it used to have tram tracks!
  7. So what would you do in our situation? Write to the roads and transport minister, telling him not to put in trams, or give him advice on how to put them in to create the least problems?
  8. Admittedly I'm not in Vic so dont have the same level of exposure to tram tracks but I do ride on some of the streets in sydney that have them and cross them every working day. I can't say I have found them too difficult even in the wet - just so long as you know where they are and ride appropriately.

    My view has always been that the only way to reduce the number of cages on the road is to improve public transport (PT) adding more roads or widening them only encourages more people away from PT so I for one would consider any extension of the light rail a blessing - both as a rider and a regular joe.

    I would also imagine that a lot of the extension to UNSW would be along the bus corridor that runs beside anzac pde, combine this with a potential reduction of vehicles on the road or at least a holding of the current level (rather than increase that goes on year after year) I would say there are better causes you could put your effort towards.
  9. Yeah, I think the positives of more PT do out weigh the potential negatives. But I am trying to gage how bad the negatives are, and if there is anything that can be done to minimize the hazards.

    It won't take much effort to write a letter informing the minister of the potential hazards of tram tracks to motorcyclists.

    I was thinking something along the lines of:

    Dear minister,

    I note that the NSW government is considering expanding the light rail network. You may not be aware but tram tracks pose a significant threat to motorcycle safety. Currently there are very few situations in Sydney where motorcycles are required to negotiate crossing light rail tracks while traveling parallel to them. There have been many instances in Melbourne where motorcycles have crashed due to loss of traction while negotiating tram tracks.

    I understand the need for better public transport in Sydney and I applaud the government on this initiative. However I would like to know what strategies the government will be taking to mitigate the safety concerns to motorcyclists?

    I would recommend that;

    a safety campaign should be taken to alert motorcyclists of the hazards involved with light rail tracks, and the appropriate methods to cross them safely,

    tracks are a different colour from the road so that they are more visible to road users,

    tracks are situated on routes to minimize the amount of traffic that needs to cross over them.
  10. Suggest to them that ethanol powered buses would be a much better look, since they're so keen on the stuff, plus it would save the cost of building the tracks.

    They could even have a little garden on the bus roof for growing sugar beets.
  11. Tram tracks taken as perpendicular as possible are not a problem.

    Riders turning at some speed, at an intersection that has a mess of tracks are likely to come acropper in the wet.

    Here's a classic example, http://g.co/maps/y7dmv but any intersection with tram tracks , especially where you change direction can lead to pain - slow down and try not to be leaned while riding over the tracks.
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  12. I read in the SMH yesterday that the sydney exhibition centre is up for a restructure to be finished by 2016, including the destruction of the monorail. Its going to a final tender this year. The same article mentioned the love affair of the light rail and that the network would be expanded.
    Likely related to the destruction of the monorail... i ask you though, which streets in the middle of sydney are wide enough to have a tram line running down it?
  13. If you're going to put 'em in and they have to be aboveground (Banish public transport users to be with the morlocks as far as I'm concerned), then put them in the lane next to the kerb so traffic flow isn't interrupted by the tram stopping and people being unable to overtake because people are disembarking from the tram.
  14. They're only really suggesting Anzac Pde and Parra Road, but there's talk in that article about trams on George Street - can't really see that one happening unless they ban the buses at the same time...
  15. I wonder if they plan to run buses and trams on the same road? If so as we use these lanes, it would be paticularly dangerous for us.

    I had a look through the 2010 and 2011 vic fatalities and there doesn't seem to be any fatalities attributed to tram tracks. Does anyone know of any media about motorcycles crashing due to tram tracks that could be included in a letter?
  16. I think in previous proposals that have touched on this they planned to make George st a mainly pedestrian arcade but allow light rail through. Can't remember which parts of George st would be closed though
  17. There are a lot of benefits in Trams/Light Rail and taken with respect tracks are negotiable in safety; thousands of bike riders do it every day. Melbourne's problem with trams is that is is a system designed in the later 19th and early twentieth century when traffic volumes were much lower. Now traffic delays trams and trams delay traffic in a vicious circle. A light rail system developed in the 21 century should arrange easements and routes to separate road and light rail traffic as much as possible.

    On routes here that are built that way it works quite well, Burwood Hwy, St Georges Rd, Plenty Rd out to Bundoora etc. On some roads, High St Northcote comes to mind it is being made worse, very tram friendly and very motor vehicle unfriendly so that it is becoming a Tram only zone.

    I would try and get your peak body to get involved in the advisory process as soon as possible that way you can get the concerns known in the design phase.
  18. Every year about a dozen Victorians get killed or seriously injured by trams, usually in in 'pedestrianised' areas. Stupidest idea ever.

    The biggest problem is going to be educating the entire driving population not to zoom past a stopped tram, mowing down alighting passengers. I don't think George St is really wide enough to add a tram anyway. Trams on Parramatta Rd looks like a recipe for congestion melt-down. Anzac Parade looks like it might work.

    Roadside parking mixed with trams does NOT work, IMHO.

    Most Melbourne riders seem to have tangled with the tracks at some stage, but you do get used to them.
  19. On my way out of Melbourne in October I ran up Elizabeth Street and Sydney Road alongside the trams.
    At every single stop light I'd get the tram driver opening the door next to me and just stare at me as if I'd done something "wrong".
    I was almost out of the metro area before I realised I should probably have been pulling up short of the door in case passengers were alighting...
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Yes, for our interstate friends Tram Rules
    • Like Like x 1