Time to boost Hobart walks
GREEN LIGHT: Fair go for pedestrians
DO Hobart’s traffic lights give pedestrians enough time to cross the street comfortably?
Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds doesn’t think so and she will advocate to increase the length of some pedestrian traffic lights so people, particularly the elderly and children, have more time to cross city roads.
It is among a range of ideas Ald Reynolds is interested in to create a more active, walkable Hobart.
She also highlights a push for incentives for ride sharing in vehicles at times of peak traffic and a plan to establish a travel demand management agency to help with this goal.
Older Hobartians and people living with a disability have major concerns with the duration of the little green man at Hobart’s pedestrian traffic lights, says the Lord Mayor.
“Most complaints that I receive are about the lights on Davey and Macquarie streets,” Ald Reynolds said. “Some of these intersections have five seconds of green before the lights start flashing red.
“We need to seek the advice of pedestrian advocates about what is best practice nationally for creating a more walkingfriendly city.”
Yesterday, the Mercury went to the Davey and Murray St intersection to monitor the traffic lights.
The western traffic lights across Davey St stay green for pedestrians for about five seconds; the Murray St lights stay green for about 25 seconds while the eastern lights across Davey St stayed green for about eight seconds.
Many pedestrians crossing the five-second lights had barely stepped onto the road before cars turning right onto Davey St were upon them, some beeping their horns in an attempt to hurry them along.
University of Tasmania senior lecturer of geography and spatial science Emma Pharo said a study she conducted earlier this year on the timing of pedestrian traffic lights in Hobart found people were forced to wait too long, which then led to risk-taking behaviour from pedestrians.
“Somebody who is a lot slower is not being given enough time to cross the road,” Dr Pharo said.
“I’m particularly interested in the intersection at Evans St, where the intercity cycleway ends and you need to cross Evans St to get to the waterfront.
“We need to have a really good look at the timing of pedestrian lights throughout the Hobart CBD.”
Last month, the State Government tabled new laws under the Roads and Jetties Amendment Bill to formally take ownership of Macquarie and Davey streets.