Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The impossible bus/tram interchanges.

Indicative only map from June 21st Significant Infrastructure Application
I am not aware of any road in Melbourne that carries both trams and buses, but then the Melbourne transport system was not designed by a self-proclaimed genius. The map above is from the Significant Infrastructure Application supporting document, released on June 21st, three weeks after the anonymous Department contributors leaked the names of the dots in the Wikipedia. This document is a legal requirement for an EIS and is available on the Transport for NSW website. The grab above is full size so the lack of discernible detail is quite deliberate.

We cannot say anything about the Carlton Street dot except the this is one of the crunch points that force all vehicles into the bus lane. We can note that the Todman Avenue dot is a long way south of its namesake, the horizontal white line, and the UNSW dot is midway between Day Avenue and High Street. This is inevitable. The one the only bus-and-every-other-vehicle lane must swerve around tram stops and hook-turn lanes, bus stops, loading bays, local short-term parking bays, set down bays for students driven to Uni, taxi ranks and service vehicle bays, ducking and weaving more often than an eco-nazi on the Randwick City Council. The kerbside lane beside the tram stop becomes the hook-turn lane and if this is not long enough to cope with the worst-case scenario then through traffic is blocked. Unfortunately the tram stops will be set in concrete and unable to cope with changed circumstances.

Bus stops are traditionally placed adjacent to cross roads, for obvious reasons: passengers who do not live or work directly on the route can use the footpaths of the cross road to reach the stop, rather than clambering over fences and rooves. If placed before the intersection, buses can be allowed to jump the queue of vehicles waiting to pass through the intersection, as at Taylor Square:
Queue jumping bus lane

Hook turns put an end to all this. Bus stops must be placed after the intersection. Even if bus passengers became frustrated with interminable congestion in the bus lane and left the bus en masse, and trekked back over the pedestrian crossing, over the length of the hook lane and over the extra pedestrian crossing, and transferred to a tram, the bus would have to carry on empty to the terminus because hook turn lanes prevent buses turning around.

The anonymous Transport for NSW authors of the Wikipedia article referred to the Kingsford and Randwick dots, the two termini, as possible bus interchanges which distinguishes them from all the other dots, which are impossible bus interchanges. They have now changed this description to future bus interchanges. That is future as in after the Environmental Impact Statement.

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