A ROUNDABOUT and footbridge over the Northern Distributor Road could still be options for the troubled Telopea Way and Northern Distributor Road (NDR) intersection, according to several councillors.
But council staff and at least two councillors say it would be too dangerous for pedestrians and too expensive.
Traffic concerns were the chief reason a McDonald’s proposed for Farrell Road was overwhelmingly knocked back by councillors on Tuesday, with several suggesting council should use the land to improve the two intersections.
Councillor Reg Kidd said council should review the area now and look at establishing a roundabout and footbridge instead of traffic lights at the Farrell Road/Telopea Way intersection, even if the Land and Environment Court OK’s the fast-food outlet.
“This intersection we know is already a stuff up,” he said.
“We’re getting backlash from truck drivers getting pulled up by the lights.
“It’s time to bite the bullet and really look at the intersection for the next 10 to 15 years.”
Councillor Glenn Taylor agreed and said council’s hands were tied while the court action was pending, but there could be room to install a roundabout even if McDonald’s goes ahead.
“We’ve got big traffic issues up there even without McDonald’s,” he said.
“I believe lights aren’t the answer.”
But councillor Russell Turner said the intersections will work satisfactorily when the traffic lights at the Farrell Road/Telopea Way intersection are installed, removing the indecision caused by the give-way sign in Telopea Way.
“[A footbridge] would be lovely but we can’t afford it,” he said.
“The costs of that are not realistic with the amount of pedestrian traffic.”
Cr Turner said traffic concerns at the site were not unwarranted, but he believes if McDonald’s is built on the site residents will later realise their concerns were unfounded.
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said a roundabout was not an option because of pedestrian safety, and a roundabout and footbridge would both be more expensive than the $200,000 set of lights proposed.
“It’s not size that’s the issue,” he said.
“We’ve done technical assessment on the traffic management up there and the professional staff position is that a roundabout would not cater for pedestrian movements between the shopping centre and the large residential area.”
Councillor Kevin Duffy agreed and said a roundabout was not user-friendly for pedestrians sharing the area with heavy traffic including trucks.
Councillor Neil Jones said traffic consultants “had not got their head around” the growth expected in the area when they attempted to predict the increasing traffic, and traffic lights were not the answer.
Councillor Ron Gander said an entrance off the NDR into Woolworths from the west, being considered as part of ongoing planning for the area, would take the pressure off the Telopea Way intersection.
He was uncertain if the second set of traffic lights would work, despite voting for them in June, and said the council should pursue all options.
A spokeswoman said the Roads and Maritimes Services (RMS) had approved the council’s concept design for the Farrell Road/Telopea Way traffic lights “pending final refinements”, but would not say why the RMS’s local representative had knocked back the same proposal in June.
“As development increases along Telopea Way, there are more pedestrians near the northern distributor,” she said.
“RMS believes traffic lights with pedestrian facilities would offer a higher level of safety than a roundabout.”