Tuesday, 11 September 2012


I passed this street not long ago. It is just off Osmond Terrace near the Parade in Norwood:

It is interesting because it illustrates a number of things about Adelaide's residential street design that could be improved. The first is the use of the "Cross with Care" signs aimed at pedestrians:

Not all intersections have them. You generally find them close to schools. Norwood Primary School is directly opposite this street on the other side of Osmond Terrace. In other words, the signs are aimed at children.

Here is the driver's view as they approach the crossing:

Note that there is no "Approach with Care" sign for them. You can see there is a Give Way sign but that comes after the part of the road where pedestrians cross. Because of the tall fences each side, any pedestrians who may be approaching from either side are completely hidden.

Here is a close up of the part where the pathway crosses the road:

Note the road continues and it is the pedestrians who have to change level. The clear signal to all users is that it is the road that has priority. You find this design across the city - including around schools.

If the pavement continued with the same bricks and the road was raised to cross using ramps, a very different signal would be sent. Sooner or later, the road and pavements will need to be resurfaced. When they are, it would not be difficult to make some small but very significant changes.

For a far better explanation of how to design minor intersections with continuous paths, see here and here.


  1. As I understand from a previous posting of yours, the rules of the road require any vehicle approaching this intersection to give way to pedestrians. Is this your understanding? Yet the whole design seems to encourage the idea that this is not the case, and that cars can just barge through. I've noted that most Australian motorists are completely unaware of the rule you have previously pointed out regarding pedestrian priority at T intersections of this sort.

  2. I just checked. Rule 73 says that if the driver is turning left or right from the terminating road into the continuing road, the driver must give way to any pedestrian who is crossing the continuing road at or near the intersection. So at this intersection, it is the pedestrians who in fact have right of way.

    Despite that, as you say, the design seems to suggest otherwise.

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    1. I think it might be the opposite Edward. (Maybe).
      This intersection has a give way sign so Rule 69 applies but that's not important. They both say the same. The driver gives way to pedestrians on the road he is entering, not the road he is leaving.

      " If the driver is turning left or right or making a U-turn, the driver must also give way to any pedestrian at or near the intersection on the road, or part of the road, the driver is entering."

      This is the same as the Australian Road Rules but they include a note which the online version of the SA rules does not have.

      "Note Rule 353(1) specifies that a driver is not required to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road that the driver is leaving, and rule 353(2) provides that a pedestrian who is only crossing a part of a road is considered to be crossing the road."

      I think the SA rules should include this note as it also makes it clear that the driver does not have to give way to pedestrians on the road he is entering if the pedestrian is silly enough to try to cross at an angle. Some SA drivers may be being delayed unjustly by giving way to angle walkers.

      "If a driver who is turning from a road at an intersection is required to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road that the driver is entering, the driver is only equired to give way to the pedestrian if the pedestrian’s line of travel in crossing the road is essentially perpendicular to the edges of the road the driver is entering – the driver is not required to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road the driver is leaving."

      So, to raise the footpath across the road as you suggest would probably be seen as an unnecessary obstruction and a violation of car drivers' divine right.

  3. It's weird, isn't it? There are in total 353 standard Australian Road Rules plus a whole bunch of additional ones in a separate set of Regulations. Trying to interpret them consistently is not easy. For example, how do you interpret the give way sign rule that you quote and the one about t-junctions consistently?