Potential death trap along Mike Turtur bike path - Plympton Park tram / pedestrian / bike crossing

I have recently realised the potential death trap that is the Plympton Park tram / pedestrian / bike crossing. See the attached file for some images about this issue.  This crossing is currently putting lives of both adults and kids (including school children) at risk every day (during peak hour traffic).  The crossing is regularly used by cyclists riding along the Mike Turtur bike path between Glenelg and the Adelaide CBD, which claims to be the busiest bike commuting route in Adelaide.

Some more details on the problem and how the numerous near misses that I’ve witnessed occur:

  • Cars backed up from a red stoplight on Marion Road sit idle between the tram line and the pedestrian / bike crossing to the east.
  • Pedestrians / cyclists press the crossing button and after a period of time, get a green person symbol. They begin to cross the road.
  • However, at the same time, cars sitting idle in this “problem area” notice that cars further east along Cross Road have taken off due to a green light on Marion Road, so they also go.
  • Result = near miss or worse an accident, and there is potential for people (including young children heading to/from school) to be severely injured or even killed.
  • In the “problem area”, there are no additional stoplights for car drivers to be aware that the stoplight behind them has turned red due to the pedestrian / bike crossing having a green person symbol.
  • Looking into this matter in more detail, I now consider that the near misses that I have observed are actually as a result of poor road and crossing design, and there being an insufficient number of traffic lights in this section of road. Pedestrians / bikes are crossing the road when a green person symbol is shown, and unfortunately, unknowingly, on some occasions when the timing is right (or wrong), cars are taking off at speed at the same time and only notice the pedestrians / bikes once they are in their field of vision (which is hopefully soon enough).

I consider the fix to be a pretty simple one, and involves installing two additional stop lights on the eastern side of the tram crossing that are linked to the ones on the western side of the tram crossing. These are only required for the east-bound lanes on the northern side of Cross Road.

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The 14m length between the level crossing and the ped/bike crossing means the whole lot needs to be considered as one complex.

A 'total length' of over 50m is not unique among level crossings in the Adelaide metro area which include a greenway parallel to the railway/tramway. Diagonal Road southbound traffic and East Ave southbound traffic (both Seaford Line + Marino Rocks Greenway) both have a 51m total length. Brighton Road in both directions is 54m. Cormack Road is well over 50m in both directions despite not having a parallel pedestrian crossing.

Marion Road gets the greater share of green light time, so the effect on the flow of Cross Road traffic will be just that some drivers get to the next red light a few seconds later at times when traffic is moving slowly. I think most on here would agree that a delay to some drivers with no actual net effect is an acceptable compromise for a solution that protects users of the ped/bike crossing (a few at a time) without adding any extra danger for tram users (two staff and up to 140 passengers at a time).

When traffic is light and flowing freely, no impact at all.

They should just get rid of the stupid maze/zig zag and make the crossing parallel to the tramline.

The two-phase crossing means that cyclists and pedestrians alike ignore the crossing timings and just cross when they feel like it. The tight fenced in area in the middle along with slippery manhole covers is a hazard for cyclists. 

I've probably spent too much time on this, but here's an improved diagram. I've also removed any recommendations and just described the problem.

Peter, I not am familiar with the crossing, but your drawing easily explains a potential hazard. Another instance of a picture is worth a thousand words. 

Look on the bright side. Jay Weatherill has promised to grade separate this tram line crossing if reelected. Might take a few years though.


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