Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sydney Traffic

This is probably my last post about our trip to Sydney and how I saw the city.

While allowing for it being a quiet time on city roads all over Australia, Sydney never seems to have the traffic congestion that is so common in Melbourne. Perhaps it is because of the sheer number of streets. While Melbourne's roads are quite straight and stretch out in front of you, Sydney's rarely are and there are often alternatives. Even the dreaded William Street was not as bad as I thought it would be. It was pretty hideous for pedestrians though, as was Oxford Street.

I was asking a taxi driver about the Cross City Tunnel as we were approaching it and he quickly asked if we wanted to go through it. I said yes and it probably added a couple of dollars to our fare, and really there was nothing to see, except for as is usual in Sydney tunnels, there are traffic lanes and that is all. No lane for emergency vehicles nor for broken down cars.

We hired a car to go to the Blue Mountains and I thought that if I could get onto the tunnel approach, it would be quicker and easier than driving through city. I studied maps and observed and I got it right. It was very easy to use.

Returning home did not go so well. I turned off the main road just before the big bridge (Anzac?) when I should not have. To go straight ahead did not look right and I had to make a snap decision. I turned into a quiet side street and turned around and found my way back. There was a bit of a lack of signage. Into the tunnel no problem but we existed almost at Rushcutter's Bay. I saw a sign to Paddington, not the direction I wanted to go, although that may have been the best was to get back to the Cross. Instead I turned towards the water where a lot of boats were moored and made a 'u' turn. I then missed the exit road to the Cross and ended up back in William St. I made an 'in retrospect' illegal 'u' turn at Bourke St and found my way back up to the Cross. I should have just turned left near the car hire places and gone around the block.

But during the whole day of driving, I never once felt under pressure from fellow motorists and I can't even recall one horn being blasted at anyone over the time we were there. I have noticed this lack of aggression by motorists before in Sydney. Not sure why it is so, but it does seem to be the case. Why are we so different in Melbourne?

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