By Jude Paul and Michael Morrison
The position of Convenor of the Transport and Traffic Subcommittee has been vacant throughout 2020 -2021. The Society would welcome any member’s interest to take on this role. Nonetheless, members have raised the following issues in the last 12 months:
Impact of the development of the new Fish Market site
The main works have commenced with some tree removal and preliminary road works along Bridge Rd. This has resulted in temporary lane closures for part of the day and a huge increase in the presence of heavy vehicle traffic. Before the current lockdown, it was already evident that this created bottlenecks along the road itself and a spill-over into the surrounding streets.
Once the lockdown is lifted, the site will be ‘home’ to hundreds of tradespeople for the next few years. No provision has been made for parking for these people or any shuttle service to the site, which is currently poorly serviced by public transport. It is simply inevitable that the majority of workers will travel by their car, especially as many tradespeople provide their own tools of trade and require their tools on-hand to perform their work. One tradesperson often equals one large ute/van.
The built environment in the area immediately adjacent to the new site is primarily residential and largely retains the character of its late 19th century – early 20th terrace house architecture, narrow streets and laneways. The design and purpose of the area were never envisaged to provide a huge parking lot for the hundreds of workers who will need daily access to the site, let alone the predicted millions of new visitors expected to visit the new Fish Markets on an annual basis. (Final parking capacity at the new Fish Markets site has not been increased from the current availability.) The Society will raise this issue in relevant forums, especially the Fish Markets Stage 2 Community Consultative Committee.
The Society would welcome the input of any member(s) with expertise to advise and assist in addressing this issue.
The Bridge Rd cycleway
The Bridge Rd cycleway was installed in the kerb-side lanes on both sides of Bridge Rd in July 2020. This cycleway is one of six proposed by the City of Sydney under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Amendment (COVID-19 Development – Temporary Cycleways) Order 2020 and managed in conjunction with Transport for NSW. The relevant legislation expired in March 2021 but has since been extended.
Bridge Rd lost 83 parking spaces. None of these were dedicated ‘Resident Only’ spaces. The road has long, long been shared by all its users, residents and vehicular traffic alike. Previously, at a meeting with residents, Andrew Constance, the Minister for Transport for NSW, described Bridge Rd as the wrong road for cyclists.
The local community has never been consulted about this decision by the City of Sydney. The only community consultation about the Bridge Rd cycleway was conducted in late March 2021 by Transport for NSW. This took the form of a flyer that directed people to an online survey to ‘Have Your Say’. The flyer was not widely distributed to residents of Glebe or Forest Lodge and contained misinformation about the popularity of the cycleway (see below). The survey predominantly sought to identify if the respondent was a cyclist and what improvements they would like to see. The closing date for responses was 29 March 2021, and to date, no survey results have been made publicly available.
Many sections of Bridge Rd are residential. The dedication of kerbside lanes on both sides of this road for cyclists has created major problems for these residents and all other road users. There is now nowhere for any vehicle to pull over or stop at any time of day; rubbish removal services, delivery services, tradespeople, house removalists, taxis, health service providers among them.
Transport for NSW’s flyer mentioned above stated that more than 3,000 cycle trips each week were made on the cycleway since its completion. Figures available on Transport for NSW’s website contradict this. Between October 2020 and March 2021, the average weekly usage was approximately 2,300 trips. This equals 335 trips per day, compared to the estimated vehicular use of well in excess 20,000 trips. These figures also show that the average weekly usage was variable but did not show an increase in popularity over time.
The flyer stated that 92% of cycleway users feel safer on the dedicated cycleway than previously on the shared roadway. The source of this data is unknown, as are the method of obtaining it and the number of people involved in the sample. The figure itself is contrary to comments made to a group of local residents collecting signatures for a petition opposing the cycleway. More than 500 people have signed this petition and a number of signatories said they were cyclists themselves but would not use this cycleway for fears for their safety – ‘pinch’ points in the cycleway where cyclists are required to either merge with the traffic or mount the footpath to continue their journey and blind spots where drivers making their way across the cycleway onto Bridge Rd from a side street have no clear visibility of cyclists using the cycleway. Residents have witnessed incidents between cyclists and vehicles and/or pedestrians that have required medical attendance.
To date, the cycleway retains its temporary status. Members can provide feedback to Transport for NSW, raising either support or concerns at www.transport.nsw.gov.au or search for Make a complaint or provide feedback to the City of Sydney at www.cityofsydney.gov.au.