“Someone will soon be killed”
Cremorne residents are asking the NSW government to discard the traffic tidal flow system (TFS), claiming it’s dangerous and goes against the government’s own safety guidelines.
Their calls come after a pedestrian was left with a broken pelvis after being hit by a car at the intersection of Military Road and Spofforth Street in Cremorne on June 3.
“My wife Ann and I have been campaigning for many months regarding the dangerous signalised pedestrian crossing of Military Rd at Spofforth St, where vehicles often run the red light and/or block the crossing on green walk phase,” says local resident Graham Short.
“Strangely, the crossing was not even covered in the B-Line safety audit, which shows what low priority pedestrians are in the scheme of things.”
The TFS began operation in February 2019 and was constructed to support the B-Line bus route. It ensures traffic lanes can change direction dependent upon traffic volumes at various times of the day.
As a result, the pedestrian safety fence in the middle of Military Road was removed to support tidal flow construction, with a shorter fence in use. But lower North Shore residents and the Save Cremorne group claim the TFS is dangerous for pedestrians, drivers and passengers – and may even be fatal.
“Two safety audits have indicated significant safety problems with the tidal flow as designed and implemented,” retired traffic engineer, Peter Twiney, tells North Shore Living.
“How can this happen, and is it common for safety audits to be ignored?
“It is evident the TFS is dangerous, but it is also clear there is no offsetting gain for Cremorne bus operations,” he adds.
“It is observed that stopping buses are being delayed, bus passengers are being inconvenienced, local business threatened, reduced outbound traffic capacity, and streetscape ruined.”
Two safety audits of the tidal flow design have been carried out by global infrastructure company Cardno and engineering giants AECOM. The most recent one was in November 2018 when the audit found 14 design flaws - eight of which were classified as “serious” – likely to cause death or serious injury.
The level of risk was assessed as “high” for nine of the design flaws, with the audit indicating they “should be corrected in the very near future even if costs are high. Temporary mitigation measures should be considered until final correction action taken.”
The Save Cremorne Committee accessed recently information the Road Safety Audit – Corrective Action Program under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), which showed the audit recommended a corrective action program (CAP) be prepared and implemented.
But in April, the CAP claimed the audits are wrong and no corrective actions are needed.
Mr Twiney claims that, apart from the potential danger for pedestrians, drivers and commuters, there “appears to be a major fault in the road design system if the safety auditors nor the engineers who are the CAP auditors are not agreeing on safety”.
“Transport for NSW (TfNSW) engineers have apparently built their own accident black spot in spite of warnings by experts in road safety,” adds Mr Twiney.
“This means that either the safety auditors don’t know what they are doing, or the engineers – who are the CAP authors – don’t.
“Why on earth are they implementing a scheme that two independent consultancies have found to be dangerous and have multiple flaws? These are not minor flaws but errors that are forecast to cause death and serious injury.”
A TfNSW spokesperson tells North Shore Living, “Public safety is at the forefront of every TfNSW project. Road safety audits are a key part of the design, construction and commissioning of the tidal flow and the work completed by AECOM is a normal and necessary part of meeting our public responsibilities.
“The audit identified a number of issues, some of which have already been addressed during the further design and construction phases. Remaining risks will be investigated and actions to mitigate will be taken prior to the commissioning of the new tidal flow system.
“We have been meeting regularly with representatives from the local community and will continue to consult with them as the project moves forward.”