City swings to roundabouts
NEW YORK has the Statue of Liberty, Paris the Eiffel Tower and, for now at least, Ballina has its Big Prawn.
But Lismore is sadly lacking an iconic structure to communicate its identity across the globe.
Unless, of course, you count its traffic roundabouts.
Boasting more than 35 of the traffic management devices in its few kilometres of CBD – a new one popped up at the intersection of Dawson and Zadoc streets last week – Lismore can make a fair claim to being the roundabout capital of regional Australia.
Lismore City Council’s executive director of development and governance, Brent McAlister, has even suggested that they could ‘provide a branding’ for the city.
“I certainly don’t think the roundabouts should be discounted,” he said, when the council was looking for ‘a big thing’ that would best capture the spirit of the city.
Councillor David Yarnall, who campaigned on a platform of ‘fix roads first’, and is chairman of the council’s asset management committee, said using roundabouts as part of the city’s image was ‘an amusing concept’.
There was certainly plenty of discussion in the community about the pros and cons of roundabouts, he said.
But Cr Yarnall said he thought there was a need for more education about how to use roundabouts.
“Too many people treat them like an intersection and give way to the right,” he said. “But in fact they are supposed to create a flow.”
The council’s former road safety officer, Wendy Johnson, said roundabouts were ‘a very effective method of managing traffic in a city our size’.
She believed that, in general, motorists had a good understanding of how they worked.
Lismore had more than 35 roundabouts, Ms Johnson said, and there were very few crashes.
She also said that roundabouts caused motorists to slow down, which helped to reduce the severity of a collision if one did occur.
And they are popular. A traffic management study carried out by TTM Consulting, which recommended traffic lights where Woodlark Street meets Molesworth and Keen streets, met community resistance and had been disliked by retailers.
For the time being, at least, it looks as though roundabouts are here to stay.