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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 375 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

Traffic and Roads are currently reviewing the effectiveness of the Athllon Drive transit lanes and will use this assessment as the basis for providing advice to the Government about the conversion of the remaining bus lanes to transit lanes or the provision of additional transit lanes. We will do it in that way because initial indications show that there needs to be an education campaign. There is no doubt that some people are still confused about what T3 means and so on. We thought the Government should not have an expensive advertising campaign just for Athllon Drive, because most of the people who live in that area know how to use that lane by now. However, the police expressed some concern about being able to see that in the back of a car there are two young kids or people of my size, for example, when it is very difficult to see their heads above the seats. So the policing of that transit lane does become a problem from time to time.

What I am saying to Mr Hird is that we need to talk to the police and other interested parties, as well as the Transport Workers Union. I am advised that there are two particular lanes we need to look at. One is on Adelaide Avenue into town and the other one is on Barry Drive, which goes out to Belconnen. We will have to get Traffic and Roads to look at the physical set-up of those lanes to see whether we can convert them into transit lanes without having to change the infrastructure. Secondly, we must ensure that it does not have a detrimental effect on the way the bus service operates, and that is why we need to talk to the Transport Workers Union. As I said, police have indicated that they have some difficulties with the enforcement of transit lane provisions because of the difficulty, in particular, of detecting smaller occupants. They say two children, for example, but I add myself to that as well because some people might find difficulty in seeing me in the back of a car.

In principle, the Government is in support of Mr Hird's motion. We have a forward design project in the 1995-96 capital works program to examine bus priority improvements, which include the possible expansion of transit lanes to new locations, and I will keep the Assembly informed on that. I thank Mr Hird for his motion.

MR WHITECROSS (10.57): The Labor Party will be opposing this motion. I think Mr De Domenico has highlighted some of the things that are of concern to us. We would like to see some evaluation of what has happened at Athllon Drive. We also take the view that, in looking at what happens with transit lanes, you need to approach these things on a case-by-case basis. There are specific characteristics of the Athllon Drive situation which do not apply to the Yarra Glen-Adelaide Avenue bus lanes or to the Barry Drive bus lane. In the case of the Athllon Drive bus lane, you had a duplication there which resulted in two lanes each way, one of them committed to buses and one committed to cars, which tended to result, in the minds of car drivers particularly, in an imbalance in the volume of traffic that could travel in the car lane compared to the number of buses using the bus lane. That is where the public pressure for a change came from. While the cars were backed up over the hill into Tuggeranong, there was no-one in the bus lane, and you could sit there for some time without seeing a bus. That did cause some tension in relation to the bus lane.

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