Traffic jam in the Bourke Street Mall

I’ve written before about people trying to drive down Melbourne’s supposedly car-free Swanston Street, but the traffic jam I found yesterday in the Bourke Street Mall really makes me wonder how stupid some drivers are.

The first sign of trouble was these tourists in a Wicked Campervan.

Tourists driving a Wicked Campervan turn from Swanston Street into the Bourke Street Mall

After turning left from Swanston Street, they made it down to other end of the mall, where they met a stationary tram at the Elizabeth Street stop.

Campervan pulls up behind a stationary tram at the Elizabeth Street stop

With tram works underway at the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, a traffic controller on duty told the driver they needed to head back the way they came.

Traffic controller at the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Street tells the campervan driver they need to go back the way they came

While reversing back out of the tram stop, the campervan encountered a confused truck driver, who had already made it half way down the mall.

Reversing campervan encounters a confused truck driver

And behind the truck was a third car – presumably they blindly followed the truck, their mind on auto pilot.

And now a third car - they followed the truck down the Bourke Street Mall

Once the truck driver realised he can’t continue, he executes a three point turn outside Myer.

Truck driver realised he can't continue, so executes a three point turn

Leaving the campervan driver to wait for the truck to head in the right direction.

After also turning around, the campervan driver waits for the truck to move

After seeing the traffic jam, the car driver finally realises they can’t continue this way.

After seeing the traffic jam, the car driver realises they can't continue this way

They execute a u-turn so they are facing the correct direction.

Car number three executes a u-turn to head back down the Bourke Street Mall

And the three vehicles then head back out of the Bourke Street Mall

Crisis averted? Three vehicles head back out of the Bourke Street Mall

Footnote

On Monday afternoon Daniel Bowen also encountered some equally oblivious drivers in the Bourke Street Mall. Has an extra dose of stupid been given to Melbourne’s drivers this week?

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11 Responses to “Traffic jam in the Bourke Street Mall”

  1. Matt says:

    Dumb, Dumber and Dumberer… oh and you can tell by the dints and scratches on the Mazda that they have no idea how to drive.

    Keep these articles coming!

    • Marcus Wong says:

      One could be generous, and blame the dints in their car for damage caused by clueless motorists other than themselves!

  2. It sounds like there is not clear signage/barriers closing off the mall. Is that right?

    Pretty unfair to take it out on the tourists or anyone else not familiar with the road design if there is not. I am not familiar, so guess that make me stupid too.

    • Stuart says:

      I’m from Sydney & I can tell you it’s absolutely obvious you can’t drive down Bourke St where the mall is.

      • Marcus Wong says:

        As other have said, on Bourke Street there are signs but no barriers or kerbs. For comparison Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall or Adelaide’s Rundle Mall both have bollards along their street entrances and a solid kerb to ensure an confused motorists think twice.

  3. Mike says:

    Had to check the signage or otherwise on street view, and you have to pass a couple of no entry signs placed either side of the tram tacks to access the mall. The Elizabeth st end has a more ‘imposing’ restriction with the tram stop there. But with the signs and the placement of various obstructions at the entrances and along the route, it would take a fairly confused person of lower than normal observational skills to miss all the indicators. Probably blindy following a GPS. Also noted the street view car did a lap along there.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Blindly following a GPS seems to be far too common these days. From the time I’ve spent around the area it seems to be a 50-50 mix of drivers pause at the entrance then turn back, and those who just have no clue and press on.

  4. Scott says:

    On a different topic all together, Yarra trams are closing down yet another tram stop – the corner of Elizabeth st and Lonsdale st. Is Yarra trams trying to end the obesity epidemic by forcing people to walk more? First the Lonsdale/Swanston st stop went now this

    • Marcus Wong says:

      The new stops are an entire city block long, and will be at:

      - Between Collins Street and Little Collins Street
      - Between Bourke Street and Little Bourke Street
      - Between Little Lonsdale Street and LaTrobe Street

      Yarra Trams have got a diagram of the layout here:

      http://www.yarratrams.com.au/media/82974/elizabeth_st_map.jpg

      When removing other stop, they’ve use the excuse that trams will be faster because they don’t stop as often. The bit they forget is that Melbourne don’t have proper tram priority at traffic lights, you you end up getting stuck at the old tram stops anyway!

  5. Somebody says:

    There’s something wrong with that Wicked campervan: it’s missing the usual terrible ‘artwork’ that they’re usually decked out in.

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