OPINION: Why we're heading for a gridlocked future
I WROTE some weeks ago expressing my belief the Sunshine Coast roads are choked by traffic and that planned economic growth will not occur if more is not done to relieve the chronic state of our traffic woes.
When I wrote this I had forgotten that I had some months earlier signed a petition to our Minister For Main Roads, Mark Bailey, regarding the congestion on Caloundra Rd.
In the interim I had also written directly to the Minister with some suggestions which I thought might ease congestion and expressing my dismay with the design of the Bells Creek Arterial/Caloundra Rd intersection.
Coincidently, I received the Minister's response to that petition just two days after my letter to him.
To my surprise some of the suggestions I made are to be adopted in remedial measures to try to address the congestion on Caloundra Rd.
This includes "left turn filter lanes" at the Nicklin Way/Caloundra Rd intersection (as well as a "fully signalised" intersection).
This brings me to the dismay and anger I feel when seeing the development of the Bells Creek Arterial intersection with Caloundra Rd.
The Bells Creek Arterial is not only for access for the planned 50,000 residents of Caloundra South but an alternative access to the Bruce Hwy for all.
We are to get more traffic coming into a roundabout which is already overtaxed by the traffic volumes, instead of including the aforementioned "left turn filter lanes", which would mean that traffic turning left would not have to enter the roundabout at all and traffic onto and off the Bells Creek Arterial would be able to flow freely without having to stop at the roundabout to give way with the obvious effect of improving traffic flows in all directions.
The same "left turn filter lanes" should be added to that roundabout so that inbound traffic on Caloundra Rd can access the Kawana Link Rd to travel north and in turn exit Kawana Link Rd to head east to Parklands Blvd on an additional lane which would go a long way to easing the congestion at the traffic lights at the Pierce Ave/Parklands intersection.
I have said I felt anger because there is much work going on at this time to upgrade Kawana Way which, it seems, was built only a few short years ago and should have had some "future proofing" included at the time rather than having to come back so soon to perform works at what must be a much greater cost to the taxpayers than would have been had it been done at the outset.
Now we have this Bells Creek Arterial with extensive drainage works and cycleways where there should have been "left turn filter lanes".
I suppose these will have to be bulldozed in the not too distant future so that upgrading of the intersection can occur. Or will we just get traffic lights to hold up the exponentially increasing traffic.
The Minister has said in his response to the petition that his department forecasts that Caloundra Rd (as it is now) between Bells Creek Arterial and the Bruce Hwy will be able to "operate within capacity until 2026".
He must be kidding! A classic case of "ivory towers".
It isn't coping now Minister and you and Stockland want to add more cars.
To add insult, the response also suggests that the Bells Creek Arterial connection through to The Bruce Hwy will not be needed until 2026.
What about now Minister, so that when the works at the Caloundra Rd/Bruce Hwy Interchange begin there will be an alternative?
Sunshine Coast Council is spruiking it's "Smart City" plans - all very well but not too smart if the roads are choked.
We should be pushing all-out for "heavy rail" to the Coast. By all means have it complimented by "light rail" but do we have to wait 130 years as did the Redcliffe Peninsular?
In reality it is needed now.
Your readers may also be amused by the response I received from the Office of the Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, when I wrote calling for heavy rail to the Coast, which suggested that the opening of the Moreton Bay Rail Link would somehow benefit commuters on the Sunshine Coast.
I respectfully suggested that the correspondent and the Minister might like to leave their ivory tower and drive from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast in peak time too.