Thursday, October 25, 2012

No Left Turn onto Albert Road

A letter has been received from Hornsby Shire Council Traffic and Road Safety Branch, proposing to install "No Left Turn" signs on the entrance to Albert Road off Beecroft Road for traffic going south.  Their objective is to improve morning traffic in the northern end of Wongala Crescent during school drop off times.
The Civic Trust has reservations about this proposal, which will force such traffic to turn left onto Chapman Avenue, and then left again into that section of Wongala Crescent.  There is already too much congestion on Beecroft Road approaching Chapman Avenue in the morning.  Increasing the number of cars turning left onto Chapman Avenue will compound the Beecroft Road traffic problem.
The Trust believes that developments including the Northern Rail Freight Corridor, with changes to car parking and major construction, and the development of the Beecroft Shopping Centre to five storeys with anticipated huge increase in traffic demand, mandate a comprehensive review of all traffic arrangements affecting Beecroft Road.  Installing a couple of No Turn signs to force more cars to drive into the Beecroft/Chapman bottleneck area is not the solution.
Submissions are required by cob Monday 12 November.  Please consider, and whatever you decide have your say by writing, subject "Proposed No Left Turn into Albert Road (East)", to
The General Manager
Hornsby Shire Council,
PO Box 37
NSW 1630,
email to


  1. This is an issue of safety for children aged 3-12. I agree that there a significant traffic flow issues but I believe that the safety of pedestrians particularly child pedestrians is of greater importance than traffic flow.

    According to RMS:

    "Children are impulsive and have little or no sense of danger.
    Their thinking and sensing skills are not fully developed.
    They don't have the developmental skills to identify safe places to cross the road.
    They don't behave consistently on the roads.
    They are small and may not be able to see over a parked car."

    Lets prioritise the protection of our children.

  2. The way to fix the mess up that is Wongola Cres (around Arden) is to ban parking on at least one side of the road, if not both. I drive through there on rare occasions and the area is mayhem. The road is narrow with gum trees growing virtually on the road. Without parked cars blocking the view and making road dangerously narrow, through traffic can see pedestrians and kids will be safer.

    I nearly got backed into by a reversing car because I stopped to let oncoming car get through. We were both were waiting for parents+kids to cross the street but the reversing car only looked behind in one direction.

  3. By Peter Hewitt, Secretary BCCT
    In considering this issue please remember that the Third Rail Project intends to relocate the commuter parking from near the station to along Wongala Crescent between Chapman Ave and Albert. So if commuter traffic can't come down Albert,it will have to turn into Wongala off Chapman and drive up on the west side, with the driver looking for car spaces on his right side. And if unable to park will then do a U-turn and come back down for another look. Of course if that section of Wongala was made one-way north going, then the commuters won't be able to u-turn, but will have to exit back onto Beecroft Rd through Albert and come down through Chapman for another try.
    Then consider the consequence of the Beecroft Shopping Centre upgrading to five storey mixed retail and residential!
    We need a comprehensive traffic management plan!

  4. I am a resident of Wongala Crescent very close to Arden and have lived here for nearly 20 years. In that time I have seen the most horrendous traffic chaos during school drop off and pick up times and have photos to prove it! The only time that traffic chaos eased was when the "illegal" No Left Turn sign was erected. I have to agree with Rae. I have personally witnessed, not only children, but also countless parents, being impulsive in their behaviour whilst arriving and leaving Arden and the Child Care Centre as NO ONE can predict whether a child is going to suddenly run out on to the road or even run across a resident's driveway when it may be unsafe to do so and there is heavy drop off and pick traffic around. Safety of these children should be of the utmost importance and if reducing the traffic flow for a total of 3 hrs on school days helps,then so be it.
    Also Peter Hewitt, we are talking about restrictions during school days, 8-9:30am and 2:30-4pm only. Train commuters have already claimed their parking spots by 8am and the main users of Wongala Crescent at this time are the "kiss and droppers" and the "rat runners" ('Approximately 290 vehicles during the morning period and approximately 20 vehicles in the afternoon period' quoted from the HSC proposal, 26 October 2012) trying to bypass the traffic on Beecroft Road all for the sake of saving at the most 10 seconds on their journey.I fully support the No Left Turn Proposal and would further support the banning of parking on at least one side of the road should that proposal come up.

  5. Peter Hewitt again. After surveying the traffic there, I suggest the following, whether or not the “no left turn” sign is implemented.

    1) Fit speed bumps along the whole length of Wongala Crescent from the Albert Road turning to Chapman Avenue, both to reduce driving speed and to encourage “rat-runners” to turn off Beecroft Road at Chapman Avenue rather than Albert Road.
    2) Install an illuminated flashing School Zone sign on the western side of the north end of the school zone – at present the only School Zone sign is on the eastern side, inside the bend in the road, and is almost hidden to south bound traffic by dense foliage.
    3) Make car parking to the north of the present school bus zone on the western side of the road restricted duration (10 minutes?) between 8am and 9am so parents don’t have to turn right and park on the eastern side of the road to drop off their children.

    Any comments on this? Feel free to phone me on 0417 215 774 with your views, we have to respond to council's proposal by mid next week.

  6. Wongala Action Group and Peter - great to read other's views.

    Again I would stress pedestrian safety.

    Yes a "comprehensive traffic management plan" is needed but should we hold off on pedestrian safety measures while waiting for such a plan?

    I was thrilled to see a HSC councillor and others there inspecting the area this morning. Great Job HSC for looking into this.

    And i totally agree with the person who mentioned the gum trees. What a nightmare!

  7. And Peter (2) is great - I have heard discussion of this numerous times and I believe it has been requested (Arden's flashing lights are on Beecroft Rd which Arden kids are discouraged from using). Completely agree re dense foliage but this is Hornsby Shire - nothing is going to be done there so moving the signs or installing additional signs is a great idea!

    I also believe RTA/RMS should look at providing a crossing supervisor for Chapman Ave pedestrian crossing - especially if cars are forced to turn left down Chapman instead of Albert. For those of us who walk from the south we have to cross Chapman - we are trying to ease the traffic situation by walking (or many park at shops and walk up the hill - again alleviating traffic issue) but this crossing is not easy for kids to navigate (just this morning i had to haul a child back as it looked like a car wouldn't stop). The bus company changed their route this year and come down chapman and it is only going to get worse.

  8. @ Peter Hewitt
    Your suggestions from October 31 are options that will significantly increase the safety factor along Wongala Crescent and should be considered by HSC as they are both practical and easily able to be implemented by Council. My personal opinion is that HSC would find it difficult to dispute these suggestions given the safety impact.

    Just a little feedback re your suggestion 2. This should be should be extended to having the signs installed at the southern end as well.
    In regard to 3) perhaps it would be more consistent to have the limited parking time period to the same hours as school zone hours i.e. 8:00am-9:30am and 2:30-4:00pm. I think 10-15 minutes limit would be fair and not unreasonable.

  9. For info, we asked ETTT (NRFC) for their intentions about parking and they have just advised us that their new car park will be south of Chapman Avenue and will not disturb or reduce parking along the stretch of Wongala Crescent between Chapman and Albert.

  10. I see no point in enforcing a 'No left hand turn' into Albert from Beecroft Rd, unless Wongala was made one way heading north. Too many drivers, particularly in the Arden community drop off their children, then continue north along Wongala, doing a U-turn or 3 point turn to then head back south along Wongala in order to avoid the Beecroft Rd congestion... ok for them?

    Agree with suggestions of flashing lights at both the northern and southern ends of the Wongala school zone.

    Agree with suggestions of speed bumps along Wongala.

    Agree that forcing traffic along Beecroft Road negatively impacts congestion of an already overcrowded main road when there are empty streets such as Sutherland Road that commuters could access. Speed bumps could also be put in there to reduce the risk of speeding commuters.

    Agree parking limitations could be put in place around the school area.

    Yes, there are longer term issues at play relating to the development of the train line and shopping centre however there are immediate, simple contributions that HSC can undertake which seem well overdue such as the flashing school zone lights, improved signage and speed bumps.

    Finally, if Parents have concerns about the safety of children crossing Wongala from the train line side to the school side, then they shouldn't park there. They have other alternatives such as walking up from the southern end along the western side of Wongala as mentioned by Rae, or parking further up Wongala but still on the western side. The parents need to decide if they are concerned more about safety or getting as close a car park to school as possible.

  11. This problem has not become better or worse in the 15 years I have been at Arden. The only time there was an improvement was the short period when the No Left Turn sign was erected on Beecroft Road, there was a significant change in traffic volume and no need for dangerous 3 point turns into driveways due to gridlock.
    The problem however, is far wider than the Albert Road to Chapman Ave traffic, the real problem is those on the ‘rat run’. Once they have travelled past Arden clogging the traffic in this block, or along Chapman Ave they then continue over the Chapman Ave railway bridge, turn right and speed down Sutherland Road, so often run the red lights at Cheltenham bridge, turn right over the Cheltenham railway bridge where they then endanger the Cheltenham Girls students as the girls and other school children try to negotiate the two crossings. The girls don’t help by meandering over the crossing but none the less, the rat run driver behaviour is just as bad at this end of their short cut. I have seen cars nudge their way through the crossing through the children. Once past the crossings they then travel well over the speed limit down Cheltenham Road, The Boulevard or Lynne Road and back onto Beecroft Road.
    To ensure the safety of all students and residents the short cut needs to be addressed. This is a long term problem for the area but the driver behaviour starts at Albert Road and finishes at Cheltenham.

    I wish I could offer a solution to the problem but would welcome others’ ideas.

  12. In my opinion creating a no left turn from Beecroft Road into Albert Road would not solve the issue of traffic chaos along Wongala Crescent.
    From what I have observed there is a number of cars escaping the Beecroft Road gridlock and yes, these should be slowed down and discouraged in some way.
    Surely what is really needed is a properly designed drop off zone for the school with a clearly marked pedestrian crossing. A turning bay or possibly a dropoff zone incorporating a roundabout allowing cars to turn around opposite the school rather than travelling north and then south along Wongala would be a possible option.
    Utilising the old court to accommodate such a design could be possible. Of course this would be an expensive exercise...

    1. I think you may find the old court is SRA land and will be used as a storage/depot for work on the new track, unfortunately.

  13. By Peter Hewitt, Secretary BCCT. This is the text of one of two letters we sent to Hornsby Shire Council, this one suggesting short term solutions:
    There are serious road safety issues on Wongala Crescent that must be addressed, irrespective of any decision about restricting access to Albert Road East.

    The Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust did a survey of traffic on this road, including talking to locals and parents dropping off children. Due to lack of parking on the western side of Wongala Crescent, parents are forced to park on the eastern side, and their children have to cross the road to get to school. There is a clear hazard to school and pre-school children on Wongala Crescent from cars travelling too fast in front of the long row of parked cars on the eastern side of the road. Even 40kph is too fast for what is in effect a school car park.

    The following steps could address this, whether or not the “no left turn” sign is implemented.

    1) Fit speed bumps on Wongala Crescent in front of the school drop-off parking area.
    2) Install an illuminated flashing School Zone sign on the western side of the north end of the school zone. At present the only School Zone sign when approaching from the north is on the eastern side, inside the bend in the road, and hidden by trees.
    3) All car parking on the western side of the road should be restricted to perhaps 15 minutes between 8am and 9:30am to reduce the need for parents to park on the eastern side of the road to drop off their children.

    The Trust will write separately with thoughts on the No Left Turn sign on Albert Road and the general need for a Traffic Management Plan covering Beecroft Road and adjacent streets.

  14. Peter Hewitt again, this is the second letter relating to concerns the specific issue of the No Left Turn on Albert:

    The Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust believes that the decision to install a No Left Turn sign onto Albert Road should be taken as part of a broader Traffic Management Plan for the whole area around the Beecroft Shopping Centre. Beecroft Road is already a notorious bottleneck during morning commute time, and the proposed No Left Turn sign needs to take into consideration the overall traffic problem and its expected evolution in the years ahead.

    Forcing traffic to turn left at Chapman Avenue instead of Albert, followed just 200 m further south by a permitted right turn at Hannah Street, during the main commuter rush hour, is a recipe for rear-end and other collisions as vehicles stop suddenly or change lanes.

    Adding schoolchildren and other pedestrians to the equation invites pedestrian accidents like the fatal accident earlier this year.

    Cars now turning left at Albert Rd include parents dropping children at Arden and other schools in Wongala Crescent and at the railway and bus stations, and also commuters “rat-running” down Chapman into Sutherland Rd and rejoining Beecroft Road at Cheltenham Road. Speed bumps on Wongala Crescent, considered essential to protect children crossing the road from parked cars on the eastern side, would also discourage those rat-runners and encourage them to turn off on Chapman rather than Albert.

    This already bad situation will get much worse once the Beecroft Shopping Village is rebuilt as five storey mixed retail and residential. The proposed changes to the NWRL will make it very unattractive to commute from Beecroft to the city by rail, with two changes of train being required. It can be assumed that far more of the BSV tenants will therefore travel by road despite living adjacent to Beecroft railway station.

    This very complex situation needs a careful and considered comprehensive traffic management plan. Is such a plan being undertaken, or at least contemplated?