Christopher Hallam & Associates Pty Ltd have been commissioned by The Glebe Society to review the traffic, transport and parking implications of the proposed redevelopment of the Harold Park Raceway site located on The Crescent/Minogue Crescent/Wigram Road, Glebe. Two traffic reports prepared by Arup have been reviewed, with the Transport, Traffic and Access Study (Stage 2) dated May 2010 discussing a proposal with 1204 dwellings, 3850 sq m of commercial office space and 7211 sq m of retail space, and a second study dated 16 November 2010 dealing with an increased density of residential uses, taking the number of residential units from 1204 to 1251 dwellings.
The general methodology employed in the studies by Arup is sound, subject to the comments made below.
2.0 SITE ACCESS
The main residential area will have access directly off The Crescent/Minogue Crescent, plus a supplementary access off Wigram Road. The latter access would not be adequate as the only access for this residential area. The traffic impact assessment is premised on a new access intersection at The Crescent/Minogue Crescent/Site, controlled by traffic signals. This access and traffic signals will need to be approved by the Roads & Traffic Authority of NSW (RTA). There is a chance that the RTA might argue the site already has alternative access points via Wigram Road and Nelson Street and hence a new access off the major road network would not be desirable. The State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 recommends against access off a classified road “where practicable vehicular access to the land is provided by a road other than the classified road”. The direct access to the Minogue Crescent/The Crescent intersection, with traffic signals providing safe access and egress would need to be an integral part of any development consent, whether as a deferred commencement consent condition, or a requirement for the access and signals to be approved b y the RTA prior to consent being granted . Access to/from the major road via only left turns would not be adequate.
The minor access off Wigram Road is desirable to better distribute traffic flows. However, one traffic implication of the development that has not been tested is the impact of additional development traffic on the intersection of Wigram Road and Glebe Point Road. Anecdotally, this intersection becomes busy in peak periods, with high pedestrian movements. Additional development traffic could adversely affect its operation. The possible improvement options have been reviewed in previous traffic studies of Glebe. While traffic signals could provide additional safety and road capacity, they would arguably be an inappropriate treatment at this location, with the adjoining neighbourhood shopping centre, where it would not be desirable to remove parking for a signal installation, and also where signals might be considered out of keeping with the character.
The access to the small residential section off Maxwell Road appears acceptable, on the traffic number in the report, subject to the parking rates and consequent trip generation rates being correct.
The access to the tramsheds is logical, however the road will cut across substantial pedestrian flows between the open space/recreational area. The proposal has a lack of details on exactly how the vehicle/pedestrian conflicts would be resolved. Grade separation of the two would clearly have benefits, particularly if the retail traffic generation is higher, as is considered likely.
3.0 PARKING PROVISION
Low parking rates are proposed, based on “Land Use and Transport Integration Index”. We are not aware of the application of these rates to a development of the nature proposed in Glebe. They are marginally lower than the RTA’s rates for “high density residential flat buildings”, in Sub-regional centres. Leichhardt DCP rates are also given. The respective rates are:
LUTI Rates Used
The RTA rates are for developments in sub-regional centres, with local employment, and good public transport. The Harold Park site will have some local employment. The rates are a lot lower than the Leichhardt DCP rates. The principal of restricting on-site parking to restrict peak period traffic generation is arguably not appropriate for residential developments, given the possible off-peak recreational travel demands. The implications of not providing adequate parking on the site would be on-street parking within the site and on adjoining streets.
We have a significant concern about the simple use of the LUTI rates. A preferred approach would be to survey the current parking demand rates by unit size in the recently redeveloped hospital site on Pyrmont Bridge Road, Forest Lodge. While a first step would be to find out the parking spaces actually constructed on the site, the key issue is the demand, not the supply, so a survey of the car ownership levels of current occupants would be required.
The proposal makes no specific provision for residential Visitor parking. At the RTA rate of one space per five units, a total of 250 parking spaces would be required. The report argues that this parking demand can occur on-street within the site. There has been no analysis presented as to the actual on-street parking supply available.
The parking rate of one space per 75 sq m of commercial/office/community space is a constrained rate, and less than the RTA rate of one space per 40 sq m GFA. If this is the actual demand, than the rate is appropriate, but if the rate is artificially low, to constrain peak hour traffic generation, the end result could well be that workers without parking simply park in the residential streets behind the tramsheds, in Victoria and Maxwell Roads. If this is the end result, parking restrictions might need to be introduced into these streets.
The adopted retail rate of one space per 50 sq m GFA is substantially lower than the RTA base rate of 6.1 spaces per 100 sq m GLFA. The inherent question is the type of retail use. However the relatively large size, of 7211 sq m of retail space, could well act to become a sub-regional attraction. For example, factory outlet stores often cluster in certain areas. Birkenhead Point has several such stores. A better example could be the DFO (Direct Factory Outlet) complex in Homebush. In this site the building is a recycled supermarket warehouse, where small outlet stores are fitted out within. From surveys we have undertaken of this store, the rates of traffic generation and parking demand are high, and substantially higher than the proposed retail parking rate. If this type of retail use did develop, parking demands would overflow onto residential streets. The rate of parking provision also drives the traffic generation rates. If the parking rate is artificially low, and the parking overflow is not taken into account, the traffic generation projections will be too low.
It is not clear from the information that we have reviewed where the car parking for the tramsheds will be located, or the details of the internal road connections.
4.0 TRAFFIC GENERATION
The traffic generation estimates are based on the parking levels proposed. For example, for the retail use, the RTA generation rate of 16.3 veh/hr/100 sq m is factored down according to the level of parking proposed, to 5.0 veh/hr/100 sq m. However if parking overflows onto the adjacent streets, mainly residential, the added generation of this traffic is not accounted for.
Based on the assumed parking rates meeting the actual demand, we estimate that the combined retail plus commercial traffic will be approximately 340 veh/hr in the weekday afternoon peak hour and 400 veh/hr in the Saturday morning peak hour.
5.0 TRAFFIC IMPACT
The assessment of external traffic impacts is premised on the parking provided meeting the parking demands. For the retail and commercial uses proposed, we have a significant concern that the proposed parking supply will be inadequate, and hence the estimates of traffic generation are too low. This will have underestimated flows along Nelson Street and into the site, as well as additional traffic in the residential streets behind the site, in Victoria Road and Maxwell Road, as well as the feeder roads of Arcadia and Toxteth Roads.
With the access off Nelson Street, this traffic will be cutting across substantial pedestrian desire lines to the open space and recreational areas being provided on the site. We are not aware of the proposed detailed road treatments to cater for these conflicts. Further detailed design is required, to firstly describe what the consent is being sought for, and to show how vehicle/pedestrian conflicts will be resolved.
With the impact on intersections in the area, we note the impacts set out in Table 4 of the Arup report of 16 November 2010. The Johnston Street/The Crescent/Chapman Road intersection currently operates at a level of service of F in the weekday afternoon, and hence clearly does not have spare capacity for additional traffic. At City West Link/The Crescent, the current weekday afternoon level of service of C will worsen to D. There will be impacts at other intersections. In traffic terms, there does not appear to be sufficient justification to increase the residential floor-space ratio from 1.20 to 1.25:1, when there are significant adverse impacts even at 1.20:1.
There has been no analysis of traffic conditions at Wigram Road/Glebe Point Road. This intersection will be affected by development traffic.
1. The parking levels proposed for the residential units appear low. Greater justification for the use of these rates is recommended, ideally based on surveys of a similar development, such as that on the redeveloped hospital site on Pyrmont Bridge Road, Forest Lodge. If inadequate parking is provided, there will be parking overflowing onto firstly the internal site roads, and then onto adjoining public streets. The use of the on-site roads for visitor parking has already been assumed, where the visitor parking demand based on RTA rates will be 250 cars (1251 units @ 0.2 spaces/unit).
2. The parking levels proposed for the retail area appears too low. The large scale of this retail area could make the site of sub-regional attraction, for possible uses as direct factory outlet stores, attracting high levels of parking demand. There could be significant impacts on parking in the adjoining residential streets of Glebe, also generating traffic into these streets that has not been assessed.
3. A higher level of peak period traffic flows along the Nelson Street access to the tramshed site could result in a high level of conflict with pedestrian flows. Details of treatments to accommodate such conflicts are not provided.
4. The traffic analysis assumes that the RTA will approve a traffic signal controlled access off The Crescent/Minogue Crescent. This access is critical to the development. RTA consent should either be granted for these works prior to the determination of the application or a deferred commencement consent condition applied, to ensure such an access is provided.
5. Further traffic analysis is required, after parking rates have been reviewed and hence traffic generation estimates revised up.
CHRISTOPHER HALLAM & ASSOCIATES PTY LTD