Tag Archives: Albury

Quick review, Albury bike path

I know, my ‘quick review’ posts have all been books so far. And now I want to review a bike path?

There are two positive things, and two negative, about the local bike path connecting Albury with Thurgoona. That sounds like a review to me, so here I go.

Positive: the path

The surface is fantastic. Look at the photo below: good concrete, and very wide. (The extra width was added back when the path was opened, making it very easy to share the path with cyclists, pedestrians, skateboard riders, etc.)


Positive: underpasses

Underpasses are great: no need to cross a busy road, and no interruption to walking/running/riding. Most of all, building an underpass shows that the road-builders value non-motorised travel. The photo below shows the Borella Road underpass, looking north.

Negative: double-crossing

For an unknown reason, the good work of avoiding road-crossings was undone in the northern half of the bike path. Why? The example below seems to be for maximum danger – there are two roads to cross, separated by a 10 metre quarter-circle. These two roads are not especially busy, but there is fast through traffic and even some heavy vehicle movement. The worst thing, however, is that these roads come from awkward angles making it hard to scan for danger.

Racecourse Rd, Corrys Rd

Negative: Thurgoona Drive

When the path reaches Thurgoona Drive, pedestrians and cyclists are thrown into the traffic. Thurgoona Drive is a very busy road, and there is no consideration given to keep foot or bike traffic safe. At peak times, morning and evening, someone could be stuck here for ages. Not good, especially since this crossing is close to two schools (Border Christian College, Trinity Anglican School).


Thurgoona Drive ‘crossing’

This last danger spot is hardest to understand. The photo below is only about 50 metres before the crossing shown above: look how the path curves right. It appears possible to go straight ahead and under the rising roadway. All it needed was a corridor like that under Borella Rd.

Embankment straight ahead, a great place for an underpass



Disappearing road

This is about some poor road planning, as I see it, that increases danger to cyclists. In two cases, there was a safe riding option that road authorities changed into a dangerous one. In the third case, a careless use of road markings suggests a safe place to ride but increases the risks.

All these examples are in Albury, but I don’t pretend to know who is responsible for each decision and piece of roadwork. For that reason, I am not naming and blaming any local or state authorities. This is a post to point out seemingly thoughtless road set-up.

Atkins St, South Albury

This road is quite new, with a good surface and wide shoulders. Recently there was a change needed – an entry to the parking area for Albury Railway Station. Before the change, there were two lanes going north and one lane south. To make the right turn lane, a third north-going lane was added. The shoulder went from full width to zero.

In the video, you can see former shoulder-lane divider (now painted black), with ‘straight ahead’ arrows painted onto this part of the road surface. The part of the road is already on a curve, so the possibility of being on a bike and hit from behind has increased considerably.

Kaitlers Rd, Springdale Heights

This is a major road in Albury’s north. Running east-west, it receives plenty of traffic. East-west is important, because it means that sun in the eyes is a major problem at certain times. (At the eastern end of Kaitlers Road there are now traffic lights. These lights were put in place after a man was killed at the intersection early one morning. Coming home after night shift he was probably blinded by the morning sun. The media reports included plenty of, ‘We always said the sun makes this intersection dangerous.’)

When some shops were put in on a street corner, the wide shoulder was reduced to zero to create a turning lane for the shopping car park. Would it not have been possible for the car park entry to be on the smaller side street?

As the video starts, you can see the bike symbol painted on the road. I edited out about a kilometer of footage before the present start – the lane has plenty of these painted signs. Just as the lane/shoulder disappears, you can see briefly a signpost on the left: bike lane. What is the point of that? Did someone feel guilty? I am confident it makes no safety difference at all.

To make this decision even worse, the disappearing lane is about 200m from a large high school. The resumption of a normal lane is precisely where the ‘school zone, 40km/h’ starts. Australia says that students should increase their activity levels. And then we act to make riding in the vicinity of school more dangerous. Message and action, in this case, do not agree with each other.

Urana Rd, Lavington

This is a different kind of problem. Urana Rd is a very pleasant tree-lined drive into town. On Atkins St and Kaitlers Rd, the changes were from a good and safe set-up to a dangerous one. I have a lot more sympathy for the difficulty of marking Urana Rd safely. Yet I think it was not done too well.

In the video you will see that the left side of the road has two markings. Broken lines mark parking bays. About a metre away, a solid line apparently indicates the border between cycle lane and motor vehicle lane. Unfortunately, the ‘cycle lane’ is not safe. If anyone were to try and ride it, they would either have to swerve repeatedly into motor traffic, or ride straight ahead into tree roots.

When riding this road, it’s safest to ignore the solid line by riding a metre to the right. This avoids trees, as well as avoiding dangerous and unpredictable swerving. My suggestion for the road markers would be forget the solid line – just include the broken lines.

Thanks to my son Nahum for providing the camera work, keeping us both safe and legal while I did the driving.



Pokies & local ‘giving’

I read this short article about our biggest local club, Albury Commercial Club, of which I am a member.

The club made a profit of nearly $3 million in the 2010-11 financial year. This was more than forecast, and allowed the club to eliminate bank debt. A good news story!

Then we find a spray against the federal government attempts to curb poker machine use.

“We cannot let this happen and the club industry is working extremely hard to make sure it doesn’t,’’ Mr Edmunds [board president] says in a report to the 26,275 members.

“The repercussions would be devastating.”

The CEO, Bruce Duck, agrees.

Members, via the media would be well aware of the problems facing
the club industry in May 2012 when the Federal Government has
given an agreement for the introduction of mandatory pre commitment
for poker machine players. This will be costly to introduce, will result
in large income deficits and will end the social structure of clubs we
currently enjoy, like most in the hospitality industry. I hope and pray
commonsense will prevail and we are allowed to continue to enjoy our
Club as we have in the past.

(This quotation is from the annual report to members – the last sentence of it appears in the newspaper article.)

How over the top. ‘Devastating’ and ‘end the social structure of clubs’ signal serious danger. Don’t they? Are these folk really interested in what’s dangerous? How about the danger – or even simply the financial cost – to a single family ripped apart by gambling addiction. Why is there no mention of this risk in the annual report?

It sounds like unalloyed self-interest.

I decided to look at the figures, since I was already reading the annual report.

  • Total income, $35,954,883.76
  • Donations to worthwhile causes (phrase from Mr Edmonds’ report), $476,066.16
    This is 1.3% of total income
    It is a 12.5% increase on the previous financial year
  • Poker machine income $26,752,597.99
    This  is an increase of 7.5% over the previous financial year
  • Other expenses, to compare with ‘worthwhile causes’
    Promotions – Zodiac gold & members $1,186,127.20
    Entertainment of members, happy hours, etc $918,476.00
    Members’ lucky draw $421,858.96
    Poker machine duty $9.087.586 

My conclusion is that the club is doing well financially, yet its community contribution is marginal. It’s a business, a not-for-profit business, whose prime concern is financial liquidity. To the extent that there is community-building, this is a function of the people involved (in their sporting clubs, etc), as well as a little money going to good causes. Equally, however, the dedicated commitment to retaining pokie revenue is community-breaking.

When the Commercial Club board speaks against regulating the pokie industry, they do not speak for me.



Hume freeway construction

There’s a freeway through Albury!

That’s old news. But it’s a good road. Especially, I’m sure, for the 4000+ truckies who go through everyday on the road between Melbourne an Sydney.

I have an affection for the road. Not only is it good, but it helped us buy a house. With construction close to commencement, there was not one competing offer on the house we live in. If there was, we would have been out-offered.

While building went on, we took some photos. Attempting roughly the same shot about once per month, still photos were taken from September 2005 to January 2007. I’ve put them into a morph video.