This has been a busy year for the Transport and Traffic Group. We have been involved with several matters including working to limit the adverse impact of the WestConnex project on Glebe and Forest Lodge, seeking improvements to the cycle amenities in our suburb and making our concerns known to the State Government about its proposal to privatise our bus services.
The focus this year of our opposition to this hugely expensive and flawed road project has been on Stage 3, the so called M4-M5 Link, which has the most direct impact on Glebe and Forest Lodge. We made submissions to the Sydney Motorway Corporation objecting to aspects of the project that had an adverse impact on our suburb, we worked with the No WestConnex Glebe and Forest Lodge Group to organise public meetings in opposition to the project and meet with the M4-M5 Link Project Manager to voice our concerns. The Stage 3 section of the WestConnex project links the M4 at Haberfield with the M5 at St Peters and involves road tunnels running east from Haberfield and then south beneath Annandale and emerging near Sydney Park with tunnel links to the Rozelle Goods Yards, the Anzac Bridge and Victoria Rd. WestConnex spent much of the year refining the proposed route of the tunnels and the associated infrastructure in consultation with the community. The initial proposal to build traffic portals on Parramatta Rd in Camperdown giving traffic access to and from the mainline tunnels met with strong opposition in Glebe and Forest Lodge, not the least because this would have put 20,000 extra vehicles daily onto Broadway and City Rd and would have involved a threat to heritage sites along Arundel St. Late last year WestConnex announced that the portals would not be built and the mainline tunnels would be relocated further west away from Glebe, Forest Lodge, Camperdown and the RPA Hospital. The Environmental Impact Statement for Stage 3 is due to be released later this year.
Cycle Amenities in Glebe and Forest Lodge
The City of Sydney’s 10 year plan Cycle Strategy and Action Plan 2007-2017 to build connected cycleways through all its precincts has run its course and the City is now reviewing what progress was made. Later this year the City will release a revised plan to improve the amenities that have been built and will consult with the community. As part of this process we have lodged a submission with the City seeking an improvement to the cycle amenities in Glebe and Forest Lodge. Our concern is that cycle amenities in our suburb are for the most part rudimentary and need improving. We are particularly concerned about the shared pedestrian / cycle path running along the Blackwattle Bay foreshore which exposes both pedestrians and cyclists to potential injury. We asked that separated cycleways be built in Glebe and Forest Lodge which would better protect cyclists from traffic and would take the pressure off the Blackwattle Bay shared pedestrian/ cycle path. We asked that two separated cycleways be built, one running north to south giving access to the University of Sydney, UTS and Newtown and the other running east to west giving access to Pyrmont and the CBD. We also sought an improvement in cycle parking facilities.
Privatisation of Glebe and Forest Lodge Bus Services
The State Government recently announced that it will engage a private operator for Bus Region 6 which is currently operated by the State Transit Authority. This will affect over 200 bus services in the Inner West and South West of Sydney including the routes 431, 433 and 470 that service Glebe and Forest Lodge. We have made a submission to the Premier seeking an explanation for this proposal and expressing our concerns that services may be downgraded under a private operator, particularly at off peak times that will prove less profitable for the private sector to run. We have sought an assurance from the Premier that current services and timetables will be retained.