A Friday night most people probably don’t remember, either due to excessive alcohol consumption, or the fact that nothing really happened.
I, on the other hand, remember it well. For this particular Friday night was the night that I made a curious discovery, leading to a great deal of frustration, anguish and dissatisfaction as I explored further. I was driving home from a pretty good gig at the Orange Bowling Club (Jacob Bowden, The Looking Glass and Bobby Shades had all played decent sets and I’d managed to sign into the club as an ‘out-of-town’ member using my address in Melbourne), when I noticed a rather curious irregularity at a roundabout.
I spent a few days taking numerous and detailed notes (actually I just made sure to check out what the roundabout signs looked like when I was driving places but whatever hey), as well as Googling the NSW regulations on roundabout signs (as far as I can tell, there aren’t any) before deciding that something had to be done.
Today (at the time of writing, it’s Sunday, 10th February), my dear friend Mariah Kreiger and I spent a very painful but nonetheless very fulfilling hour circumnavigating the city with a camera and a really nice car (thanks Will Ferguson!) in order to further document what is sure to be a highly controversial issue.
This is our story.
So yeah. We started off at the roundabout which marks and defends the intersection of Streets Phillip and Anson – an important job to be sure.
Let’s have a look at our results.
…actually, this roundabout’s pretty normal.1 Let’s move on.
From there, we proceeded north (which I had to explain meant ‘just keep going straight, Mariah). This led us to the somewhat perplexing meeting between Anson Street and Heatherbrae Parade. I use the word ‘perplexing’ for two reasons – firstly, because it’s AWESOME, and secondly, because there are a number of inconsistencies here to which I feel it is my civic duty to draw attention.
Heatherbrae Parade, sign 1 (southside)
Firstly, you’ll notice that this sign is rectangular.
It also sports a full stop at the end of ‘Pde’ – which, whilst technically accurate, isn’t even remotely consistent with the previously examined roundabout which – you’ll recall – contained exactly none.
Heatherbrae Parade, sign 2 (northside)
One key difference here. This sign is not rectangular, but pentagonal (there’s an arrow at the end). That’s kinda cool – but it’s on the same roundabout! Where’s the consistency, people? This is the kind of stuff which people complain about to referees (I reffed basketball for 5 years, I know about complaints) – but why not roundabout signs?
Anson St (or perhaps, ANSON ST)
THIS SIGN IS IN ALL CAPS – which, the attentive reader will realise, is completely inconsistent both with this roundabout, and with the previous Anson St signs. Disgusting.
Cool. Next we headed along Anson Street and towards the bypass, before turning right and heading to the roundabout intersecting the Northern Distributor Rd with Leeds Pde. There’s nothing overly interesting about these signs, but it was pretty scary for me to run across there and back, so I’m sharing these photos anyways.
Right, I hope you enjoyed them. From there, we proceeded to the roundabout at McLachlan and Dalton Sts, which was well as being interesting for roundabout purposes, gave me an excellent opportunity to practice my NavMan skills (and voice).
McLachlan St (both sides)
Dalton St (both sides)
Not capitals, not rectangular. Yeah, that makes sense.
Ok, this is pretty long – so let’s all just take some time out to relax. Maybe listen to this song – it will blow the classical music out your butt.
Ok, you’re back? We resume our journey with our heroes (I didn’t want to bandy the h-word around, but I’m pretty sure we’ve earned it by now) at the RAILWA (ok, yes, it does say ‘RAILWAY,’ but it’s really quite hard to see).
More interesting than that horticulture-forced confusion, however, is that the roundabout lacks any other signage. At all. It’s as if they didn’t want people who’d just arrived in town (via the RAILWA) to know where they were going. Poor, poor Mariah…
Next up is the intersection of Moulder St. and Anson St., the only roundabout we found with complete consistency. Good effort, St.s2
Onwards, and upwards, I shouted3 as we strode4 to the roundabout on the intersection of Dubbo, Bathurst, Cowra and Wellington. Wait, no…that’s not right. Whilst I don’t really object to letting people know which town they’re heading towards, there are signs for that (shown below)! It’d be really nice if instead of having signs on roundabouts which were quickly rendered superfluous by the other, much taller (and therefore better) signs, we could have signs that tell you which streets you’re using. But I suppose that’s just too much to ask.
Nearing the end of our journey, we headed to the intersection of Lords Place and Byng St. Interestingly, although Lords Place and Byng Street have the same number of characters, the powers that be decided that they’d abbreviate one, but not the other. Yeah, that makes sense, powers that be. You know what? The powers that be are silly.
Finally, Mariah and I came to the intersection of ANSON ST and Dalton St. – appropriately, the same roundabout where I first realised that we had a problem. You’ll notice that whilst ANSON ST is written in caps, with no full stop at the end, Dalton St. is not – and it features a full stop.
So, to recap: some signs are rectangular. Some aren’t. SOME ARE IN CAPITALS. Others aren’t. Some have full stops. Some don’t
Now, we’ve come to the end of a long and highly frustrating road. I hope whoever who is responsible for roundabout signage is reading this, because this inconsistency is unacceptable. We want answers, and we want them now. In the words of a considerably-less-than-great Australian, please explain.
1. That’s not actually true. Upon later examination the side pointing to the opposite Anson St (eastside) also has a dot, but I didn’t notice that until much later, at which point Mariah refused to stop the car – unfortunately rendering me unable to capture visual evidence. Women.
2. Streets, rather than saints. Although there is a street in Melbourne called ‘St. James St.’ which confuses the hell out of me…
3. I didn’t shout this. I didn’t even say this. Sorry for lying.