In a first for South Australia, two pedestrian priority roundabouts will soon be open to residents and visitors of Henley Beach.
The roundabouts are being constructed so that crossing the road will no longer be a game of ‘Russian Roulette’ for the locals, with priority crossings on every side of the roundabout.
Sam Adams, the Manager of Engineering Strategy and Assets at City of Charles Sturt, says the need for safer crossing points was identified during the consultation with the community on the Military Road and Main Street Upgrade project.
“We proposed a range of options for the Military Road/North Street and Military Road/South Street intersections, including raised intersections however the roundabouts were the preferred option by the community,” said Mr Adams.
“For residents and visitors walking to and from the coast, these roundabouts provide a safer alternative while still enabling traffic to flow.”
The community wanted to keep the roundabouts as they make it easier for drivers to turn right, but pedestrians struggled to find a moment to cross.
Perhaps the biggest reason the council decided the pedestrian priority roundabout was necessary is that the road layout at the Military Road and South Street intersection is tricky to negotiate, with slip lanes currently in two places on the roundabout.
Slip lanes encourage high-speed drivers, making crossing potentially dangerous for pedestrians.
“The Military Road/North Street and Military Road/South Street roundabouts have long been a source of frustration for pedestrians walking to and from the coast due to the difficulties negotiating these roundabouts amongst high volumes of traffic,” said Mr Adams.
“The preferred option of the community was to maintain the roundabouts but to also introduce formal crossings to allow pedestrians to safely move across the street.”
The question is, what exactly is a pedestrian priority roundabout? It’s pretty much exactly how it sounds; pedestrians get priority over traffic when crossing.
When a car approaches the zebra crossing, the driver must give way to the pedestrian. This is the rule, even if the driver has already entered the roundabout. With these new roundabouts, even if the driver has already entered the roundabout, they are required to stop and wait for the pedestrian to cross.
“The new roundabouts, along with the other improvements being made to Military Road and Main Street, will ensure that the local community and visitors can safely access and enjoy the fantastic offerings of the Henley Square precinct,” said Mr Adams.
To find out more about the upcoming changes to the Military Road and Main Street roundabouts, click here.