I drive down the mountain Monday to Friday generally at 8.00 am. At the moment I will pass between six and ten large double gravel trucks in the 10 minute window that I am actually on the mountain. Even on my early morning, when I am travelling between 5.30 and 6.00 I used to pass just the council rubbish collection truck, whereas now there are quite a few other trucks too. The worst days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday although I am noticing an increase to Mondays too. Luckily the trucks coming up are not loaded and so travel quite quickly and I’m sure would pull over if there were places to do so. Five months later than when I first noticed the increase in traffic going up the mountain in the morning I am also increasingly finding trucks in front of me on the way down. On the whole the truck drivers are very courteous and pull over when they can to let you pass. The same can not be said for a lot of the motorists.
There are two likely places that could be made into passing places on the way up the mountain. Just below both falls there are large layby areas on the left hand side that are already tarred. The road could be diverted into these leaving the existing section of road available as a non-parking passing zone. The trees would need to be cut back and possibly a new skin of tar over the top. The passing places also need to be sign posted so that vehicles are aware of when they can pull over otherwise they have passed them before they have realised that they can pull in.
Also I find it strange that at the two waterfalls single track road sections, it is the up-hill traffic that has to stop instead of the down-hill traffic. I’m sure you remember what it was like to do an uphill start at your drivers test, whereas you can always flick a car into second on a down-hill start. These sections of single track probably need to have a traffic priority sign on them too, as people not familiar with the road just assume that if they get to the junction first they can go without realising that the down traffic doesn’t have to stop at all.
Council’s persistence in running two to three road works simultaneously is equally frustrating. Sometimes this adds an additional 10 minutes to my journey. I don’t understand why they can’t throw additional resources at the almost permanent road works near Horseshoe Road just to get them finished, as half the time there doesn’t appear to be anybody working at them.
I have concerns for school children waiting by the side of the road, especially those waiting around blind corners, near Boggy Creak. I have discovered that a lot of Australian motorists don’t understand what a solid double white line means. I think they assume that it solely means no overtaking and therefore if they are not overtaking then they can cross it. At Boggy Creek I have regularly been faced with cars over the solid white line and had to take evasive action. I dread to think what would happen if a truck was needing to evade an oncoming car that was over the line.
This state of affairs also happens on the mountain where cars persistently drive over the solid white line, just so the don’t have to turn the wheel quite so hard on the next corner. I was behind a vehicle doing just this, going up the mountain, when an oncoming vehicle came around a blind corner only to find their road blocked. The down car almost went off the mountain, having to veer over to the edge of the drop. The looks on their faces told a story. Sometimes I would like to design a pole that could be placed in the centre of the road that would damage a car crossing over it but that trucks could pass over, as we know there are places that they have to swing onto the wrong side of the road as they just can’t fit.
I have also followed a truck down, that was in such a hurry, that when he got to the Sherrard Falls single track section he drove right up the concrete crash barrier as he couldn’t take the corner.
I work at the IGA and have heard on countless occasions when a pedestrian, without thinking, walks out onto the pedestrian crossing in front of a truck coming down the high street. Trucks require a much longer stopping distance than a car and the sound of screaming breaks and cattle etc falling to the front of the truck is a sound you don’t want to hear. In Europe we have pelican crossings, which is just a zebra(pedestrian) crossing that is traffic light controlled. A pedestrian needs to press the switch on the traffic lights to request them to stop the traffic. This would give trucks a longer warning and prevent the pedestrian from walking over the crossing until the lights are green for them. This would also help traffic generally, as sometimes the flow of pedestrians just doesn’t stop. Another way of helping prevent traffic congestion is that the church street junction could do with a ‘Box Junction’. The crossing is blocked out in yellow and cross hatched and it means that you cannot enter the junction unless you can get to the other side, which prevents traffic from blocking the junction, allowing the traffic in Church Street to cross while the traffic has stopped on Hyde Street. I’m sure you have something similar here.