The footpath next to the new Sydney Fish Markets. (Photo: Janet Wahlquist)

by Asa Wahlquist, Bays & Foreshores Convenor, November 2021, from Bulletin 9/2021

Pedestrians walking along the Blackwattle Bay side of Bridge Rd will have to wait until the fourth quarter of next year, 2022, for a temporary pedestrian crossing to be installed near Wentworth Park Rd. A permanent crossing is scheduled for 2024, when the new Sydney Fish Markets will open. The main entrance for parking and deliveries will be from a driveway at the intersection of Bridge Rd and Wentworth Park Rd and lights will be installed to facilitate this.

The Fish Market Community Advisory Committee regard the 2022 date as far too late to deal with a potentially dangerous situation, and at their last meeting passed the following resolution:

That the New Sydney Fish Market Community Consultative Committee formally records its serious concerns in relation to pedestrian, cyclist and traffic safety issues around the site of the New Sydney Fish Market, now that the various construction works on the site and along Pyrmont Bridge Rd have commenced. These concerns include: Inadequate & ineffective signage relating to the recently introduced 40km/h speed limit on Pyrmont Bridge Rd; significantly increased pedestrian & cyclist traffic and inadequate protection for pedestrians crossing Pyrmont Bridge Rd adjacent to the south western end of the site; dangerous traffic conditions at the corner of Pyrmont Bridge Rd and Wentworth Park Rd: and the long lead times of the temporary and permanent measures currently proposed to address these problems, such as the traffic signals at that intersection.

In the light of the Community Consultative Committee’s serious concerns about safety we request relevant agencies give these matters urgent attention, as we consider the current situation is unacceptably dangerous and likely to become worse.

The resolution was moved by community representative, and well-known walker, John Faulkner. When the north side footpath is closed for roadworks, pedestrians are forced to cross Bridge Rd near Wentworth Park Rd. Mr Faulkner described the situation as an accident waiting to happen.

The aim of the resolution is to highlight the problem and request the traffic authorities improve road safety. The committee noted it was not a reflection on the Multiplex, nor Infrastructure NSW.

Fish Market Committee member and City of Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor, Jess Scully, has pursued the matter with Transport for NSW. She said the resolution would be helpful in pushing the case, particularly in prompting local police to enforce the 40km/hour speed limit. Transport for NSW is responsible for installing clearer 40 km signage on Bridge Rd, as this is a state road. This has been requested by Cr Scully and the City several times over the last year. Transport for NSW has indicated that approval for the budget to install this signage is currently with NSW Treasury for approval. Cr Scully will continue to follow up to seek installation of this signage as soon as possible.

(photo: Harvey Barrison, Flickr)

In the last week of October, Multiplex, the contractor for the new Fish Markets, undertook work to investigate the location of the main service lines. This involved closing the footpath and reducing traffic to one lane during the work day. Traffic controllers were on site at the Wentworth Park Rd end, to guide pedestrians safely across Bridge Rd.

Multiplex will alter its work schedule during the Higher School Certificate examination period, and cease noisy work during exams.

The site is adjacent to the Blackwattle Bay campus of the Sydney Secondary College, which has one of the largest Year 12 cohorts in the state. Under COVID-19 health regulations, all windows and doors must remain open. Principal Leiza Lewis, thanked Multiplex for the initiative. She said the students, 84 per cent of whom hope to go to university, had been affected by lockdowns last year and this. ‘The students’ anxiety and stress levels are ridiculously high,’ she said, ‘Even the parents …’