• Tony Bosworth

Soaring traffic levels, but Bilpin will not get pedestrian crossing because people could get hurt...

Transport for NSW have ruled out a pedestrian crossing and reduced speed limit on Bells Line of Road as it passes through busy Bilpin despite the government body releasing a picture of soaring traffic levels.

“Someone is going to get hurt soon,” said Graziella Obeid, Secretary of the Bilpin Region Advancement Group who have been pushing TfNSW to put a pedestrian crossing in across Bells Line of Road, as well as reducing the speed limit from the current 60kph to 50kph.

But TfNSW says putting a pedestrian crossing in would make it more dangerous for pedestrians, not safer.

“Bells Line of Road is a major arterial corridor carrying high volumes of traffic between Lithgow and Western Sydney,” a TfNSW spokesperson told the Post.

“Australian Road Safety Standards do not permit pedestrian crossings to be installed on arterial roads, as they cause a risk to pedestrians.

“As pedestrians have right of way, they often do not look for a gap in traffic before crossing. On arterial roads, this is problematic due to speed and volume of traffic and motorists not expecting to stop for pedestrians. This has led to numerous serious crashes involving pedestrians,” the TfNSW spokesperson said.

“The traffic is double what it usually is,” said Ms Obeid. “We have got a lot more traffic and people do need to cross the road. We have seen people doing u-turns in this area, which is a 60kph zone. There is a lot of potential for danger.”

Bilpin has seen some changes to parking and No Stopping zones thanks to the efforts of BRAG who have worked closely with Hawkesbury Council and TfNSW.

But during the last few months traffic levels have risen dramatically, possibly partly due to closed borders leading to more people holidaying or visiting more local areas like Bilpin, as well as increased numbers passing through.

TfNSW record of traffic volumes through Bilpin - the black line is Sunday, the yellow is Saturday

TfNSW checked numbers of vehicles driving through Bilpin for a week in November and found on average 1833 vehicles pass the Grumpy Baker, with 4413 vehicles passing through in the week when numbers were being tallied, and a seven day average of 2232 vehicles.

Sunday was the busiest day by far.

The survey also checked drivers’ speeds during that same week and found most were sticking to the speed limit. Here are the figures:

● 6.9% 30-40kph

● 20.5% 40-50 kph

● 47.4% 50-60 kph

● 19.2% 60-70kph

● 3.2% over 70kph

The slower figures may be due to traffic congestion on the weekend.

“Transport for NSW aims to balance the importance of Bells Line of Road as a major corridor with the safety and amenity of Bilpin and believes the existing 60kph speed limit achieves this balance,” said the TfNSW spokesperson.

TfNSW says when they analysed the Bilpin traffic figures, results revealed the average speed was 54.1kph through Bilpin, but they added they would continue to monitor this section of road for safety.

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