Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner

What is the criteria?

Over the past decade I have been observing the Federally Funded Black Spot signs all over the country and have often wondered how the Federal, State and Local Government bodies determine and validate the design of the engineering treatments.

In Port Stephens there are many such locations, and after a recent accident at Town Centre Circuit and Salamander Way, I am convinced that traffic engineering procedures and elementary design and construction techniques have not been applied to this location, or to other locations in Port Stephens.

Where is the accident pin map that shows that this location has an unusual accident history?  Where is the collision diagram that illustrates the history and types of accident occurring at the location?

Where is the SIDRA intersection analysis to determine the capacity and level of service of alternative designs for corrective treatment? Have all options been SIDRA tested?

 Including visible stop and give way signs, traffic signals, roundabouts, or channelisation?

Are there geometric design elements that need attention? Such as curvature, super-elevation, widening, vehicle swept paths, gore offsets?

Are there delineation problems, like line marking, reflectors and guideposts? Is there adequate street lighting? Is there adequate sight distance? Is there adequate drainage?

All these are traffic engineering procedures which council engineers should prepare and submit for State and Federal authorities’ to evaluate, validate and monitor for funding.

In 1973, when I was the National Capital Development Commission’s representative on the ACT Traffic Co-ordination Committee, we reviewed a suggestion from Victorian engineers to conduct a test on the “left turn give way” treatment that has been applied to Salamander Way at Town Centre Circuit.

Whilst some Victorian intersections worked this way, the idea was rejected because, a), it created confusion for motorists travelling in the opposite direction and, b) it was a control which altered the basic rule of the rest of Australia …”Do not turn across the path of an on-coming vehicle, regardless of that vehicle making a left turn.”

CRITERIA: An Australian Government funded black spot project sign.

CRITERIA: An Australian Government funded black spot project sign.

So, back to the drawing board?

Rob Caldwell

Nelson Bay

Differences shape country

March 21 was the day Australia celebrated Harmony Day, a day in which we celebrate the diversity and inclusive culture our country has sewn. 

Australia is built on multiculturalism, different people of different walks of life coming together to make our country what it is today.

When I think of multiculturalism, I look to my Youth Off The Streets kids.  Some of them come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds imaginable, but despite their race, religion, beliefs and upbringing they manage to find common ground.  My kids treat each other with the utmost respect and are the shining example of discrimination having no place in Australia. Sure, it is our differences that that helped shape this country, but I argue that it is our commonalities that hold us together, and it is these commonalities we should be celebrating. 

Connecting with your local community is the best way to celebrate harmony day. Joining the festivities in your area or social community encourages discourse on what can be a controversial topic.  We as a nation need to come together and support each other despite our differences and this can only be done through building a foundation of commonality.

This harmony day make sure you get involved with your local community and realise your multiculturalism. I implore you to celebrate, talk about and enjoy your common humanity.

Father Chris Riley AM

CEO and Founder, Youth Off The Streets.