TRAFFIC congestion in the central business district is about to be tackled head on after the problem area at the corner of Howick and George streets was officially declared the city’s worst intersection.
During peak times, traffic is often lined up along George Street and past Russell Street, while most of the block in Howick Street between William and George streets is at a standstill.
Working out what to do to solve the problem has been an ongoing issue for Bathurst Regional Council’s traffic committee, local police and Roads and Maritime Services.
At first traffic lights were being hailed as the saviour, but that option has now been rejected.
Cr Warren Aubin, from council’s traffic committee, said the intersection has been in their sights for a long time.
“The good news is that, as we speak, the RMS is doing a remodelling of that intersection,” he said.
“We were talking traffic lights, but the model doesn’t gel with those because there is also great potential for the traffic to get banked right back as a result of allowing for traffic movements and pedestrians to cross the road.
“It’s all just too slow.
“The remodelling should tell us what will work best there. We’re talking about the main intersection of the whole CBD that blocks traffic flows from the city.”
Mr Aubin believes a suggestion by local real estate agent Peter Ison to remove the pedestrian crossings on George Street and Howick Street, giving vehicles priority, has merit.
“The crossings would be the same as we have outside the post office and further down Howick Street, between the two shopping centres,” he said.
“There’s a traffic island in the middle of the road and since they were introduced they’ve worked well.
“This is the traffic committee’s number one priority when it meets next in February.
“We want to work with police and the RMS to come up with the best ideas, but Mr Ison’s suggestion has been taken on board and has real merit.”
Mr Ison, a principal at Richardson and Wrench in lower Howick Street, knows the traffic flows in the CBD all too well, having worked out of their offices opposite the Busby Medical Practice for many years.
He’s had his thinking cap on and believes his idea could put an end to peak period gridlock.
“I often have to duck up Howick Street to go up to places like Windradyne. My opinion is that council should do the same thing as they did with the pedestrian crossing that used to cross Howick Street at the post office building. They got rid of it and things improved a lot,” Mr Ison said.
“Instead of the people having the right of way there, the lines were removed and cars were given priority. Anyone wanting to cross the road was able to get to the median island in the middle of the road for safety before crossing the other lane of traffic.
“It’s the same system where people cross the road outside our offices and the two shopping centres and it works fine.”