Bay traffic lights are needed, says council

Eurobodalla Shire Council still plans to install traffic lights at Batemans Bay’s North and Perry Street, intersection to improve pedestrian safety, despite criticism from the community.

Infrastructure services director Warren Sharpe said there were more pedestrians on the intersection per hour than cars, highlighting the need for better pedestrian safety.

According to a study completed during the October school holidays, 780 people crossed the junction in one hour while 585 vehicles were recorded in the same timeframe.

“That’s not nearly as many cars as people,” Mr Sharpe said.

“Typically, if we’re in a situation where you have 150 pedestrians crossing per hour, once you get to that figure you need to start thinking about putting some sort of pedestrian control in.

“We have more than 400 people crossing Perry St at that end and just short of 400 people crossing North St at that junction per hour.

“That’s not even in the peak period.”

He said people with a disability, particularly the vision-impaired, had raised their concerns with the intersection. 

“The other thing we need to consider more broadly is what is our community?” Mr Sharpe said.

He said 26 per cent of shire residents were over 65, and 19 per cent of people who responded to a call for the traffic light plan said they had a disability.

A pedestrian crossing was out of the question as it would cause traffic congestion. Mr Sharpe said pedestrian-activated lights were the best option.

In response to criticisms that lights would cause traffic chaos, Mr Sharpe said setting them up to suit the traffic flow would stop congestion.

“It’s a situation where you don’t have a lot of traffic opposing each other,” he said.

“You can have a lot of green time to stop congestion.”

Studies have found most of the traffic from Perry St turns left onto North St, while most east-bound traffic off the highway on North St turns right into Perry St.

Mr Sharpe said both of these directions would be able to flow at the same time and the lights would be set up to give these directions maximum green time.

He also said there would be multiple lanes at the intersection to improve traffic flow.

When considering the plan, council staff also considered possible future developments and a changing CBD and used an interactive modeling system to predict future traffic flow.

Council also conducted traffic counts during peak and non-peak periods.

Feedback they’ve received and currently reviewing includes how traffic lights would limit street parking, and entry off North St into Bridge Plaza.

Council has also asked the Village Centre and Roads and Maritime Services to consider creating another exit onto the Princes Highway, to ease traffic congestion.

Mr Sharpe said they were currently working though the community’s feedback about the plans before it would be put to the Traffic Committee for its recommendation, and then to council for the ultimate decision.

“At this point in time, we’re still recommending it go ahead,” Mr Sharpe said. “We hope to get it back to council before the end of the calendar year.”

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