Transport and Traffic, Annual Report 2012
Policy: The policy of the Transport and Traffic Subcommittee encompasses a key objective of the Glebe Society set out in the Constitution; namely to improve the amenity of Glebe by promoting a better transport system, both public and private, including upgrading facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
This policy was reflected in the submissions made by the Subcommittee on major transport initiatives announced by the NSW State Government and City of Sydney during the year.
NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan: In February the NSW State Government released a discussion paper seeking community views on the development of a long term transport master plan for NSW. The plan will cover a 20 year time frame and its objective is to establish an integrated transport system across the State. The Transport and Traffic Subcommittee made submissions on the paper emphasising the need to improve transport for the people of Glebe by reducing traffic congestion, improving bus and light rail services and encouraging the use of cycling and walking. This is seen as particularly important given the large housing developments at Harold Park and Cowper Street which will add significant populations to Glebe.
On specific transport initiatives, we requested the extension of the light rail to Circular Quay, the University of Sydney and the University of NSW so that light rail for people living and working in Glebe becomes a meaningful option. This would in turn reduce traffic congestion in the CBD that now has a debilitating effect on bus services running between Glebe and the city. We sought an increase in bus services late at night, an improvement in the condition of buses and suggested buses should run to a frequency arrangement (‘turn up and ride’) rather than to set timetables. We suggested a system of small taxi-like buses to provide access to public transport routes and a regular ferry service between Glebe and the CBD. On cycling, we requested the City of Sydney’s strategy of building bicycle paths and marking safe cycle routes continue and consideration be given to establishing cycling routes on Glebe streets already used frequently by commuting cyclists. We suggested that a bike rental system similar to those used in Melbourne, London and Paris be set up. The adoption of a congestion charge in the CBD, establishing an integrated public transport ticketing system allowing easy transfer to all modes of public transport across Sydney, the creation of efficient interchanges between Glebe buses and the light rail and the investigation of shared traffic, cycling and pedestrian zones in some of Glebe's shopping precincts were included in our wish list. The NSW Government is expected to release the draft plan shortly.
Connecting our City: In April, City of Sydney released its Transport Strategy and Action Plan styled as ‘Connecting Our City’. This outlined a series of proposals for the city's transport amenities designed to relieve congestion by encouraging a shift to public transport, walking and cycling. The proposals include the extension of the light rail, improvement in public transport, transforming George Street into a pedestrian, light rail and retail boulevard, and the development of safe, accessible and attractive options for pedestrians and cyclists. The Transport and Traffic Subcommittee made submissions on this plan similar to those made to the State Government emphasising the need for people travelling to and from Glebe to have access to efficient and meaningful public transport options and requesting the extension of the light rail and the other initiatives referred to above.
Harold Park Development Traffic Impact: The Central Sydney Planning Committee of City of Sydney met on 26 July and approved the DA for Stage 1 of the Mirvac development. The Committee tabled a report prepared by Council officers on the traffic impact of the development which concluded that while the development will increase traffic in the area, the traffic impact is considered to be reasonable. Council had commissioned several traffic modelling studies that focussed on Minogue Crescent and The Crescent (where the main entrance to the development will be located) from Bridge Road to the West City Link. The conclusion from these studies was that the Mirvac development will increase travel times along this route by less than thirty seconds for northbound traffic and by less than one minute for southbound traffic but with increased congestion at most intersections mainly during the PM peak. The Planning Subcommittee made submissions to Council on the DA and pointed out that improvement in public transport infrastructure and the installation of traffic signals at the new intersection at Minogue Crescent were vital given the projected adverse traffic impact of the development. Council also noted the likely increase in congestion at the Wigram Road and Glebe Point Road intersection but did not recommend any measures, such as the installation of traffic signals at the intersection, to relieve the situation.
Trams in the Rozelle Tramsheds: The fate of the trams stored in the Rozelle Tramsheds has become clearer. The Planning Development and Transport Committee of the City of Sydney met on 23 July to consider two proposals for the restoration and use of four of the trams; the trams be converted to ‘Spiegeltrams’ for use at festivals and for hire as restaurants, and one tram be used as a public artwork. The Committee decided not to pursue either option mainly for reasons of cost. The Committee confirmed that the trams are owned by the Sydney Transport Museum and that the City is financially responsible for moving the trams from the tramsheds and for storing them for up to three years after that. The Museum of Sydney will then assume responsibility. A fifth tram will be incorporated by Mirvac into the redevelopment of the tramsheds at Harold Park. Council has agreed to continue to pursue options for the restoration and reuse of the trams over the next three years.
Andrew Craig and Murray Jewell
Transport and Traffic Subcommittee