Saturday, 22 June 2013

Crown of Thorns

The old tram rails still run down the middle of Crown Street south of Oxford Street. They were covered with a layer of asphalt when the tram services were ended. Crown Street was never pedestrianized - the tram lanes were shared with other vehicles, as they were throughout the traditional electric tram systems of Sydney which date back to just before the start of the 20th Century. From time to time the rails used to break through the asphalt in the heavily-used section in front of the Crown Street Public School and were resurfaced with fresh layers of asphalt.

Crown Street was under the jurisdiction of the Roads and Traffic Authority and has always been a major route for the bus services that replaced and extended the tram routes. The UBD road map of 2000 shows its state just before the Eastern Distributor was completed. When the Eastern Distributor was opened, Crown Street and Bourke Street were transfered to South Sydney Council. Nothing could save them.

The latest UBD map shows 10 speed humps across the bus routes in Crown and Baptist Streets, and I have lost count of the pedestrian crossings and flashing lights used to calm buses. The brochure for Sydney's Light Rail Future cites smooth services as a reason for spending billions of dollars to force passengers from public buses into privately-operated trams, where two thirds will be made to stand. A far cheaper way to achieve smooth journeys would be to transfer the authority for all roads carrying buses to the CBD back to the Roads and Traffic Authority and to require councils to remove the speed humps, round abouts, lane narrowings and sharp corners used to calm buses.

No comments:

Post a Comment