Friday, 30 August 2013

It ain't broke, but Randwick businesses will be. Y?

Belmore Road  Randwick Civic Centre

Randwick and Coogee have the best and most efficient Public Bus Services in NSW, and they ain't broke. Public transport to beach suburbs is never commercial because they lack a hinterland to feed transport into the routes. When these public bus services were under threat by plans to narrow Flinders Street to one lane each way and then to close the exclusive bus road, people in Surry Hills and Woolloomoloo, including myself, rallied to maintain these services.

Now O'Farrell will be spending $1.6 billion on a tram Project that must close down bus services through the Randwick retail and civic centre in order to have a business plan.

Hospitals do not care for patients just from 9 to 5 and must roster staff though out the day. Visiting hours are not scheduled for the morning or evening transport peaks. Currently transport for the Prince of Wales hospital is met by bus services using rolling stock that would otherwise be idle and by drivers that must be rostered on either side of the morning and evening peaks, defraying the losses that would otherwise be incurred.

Passengers from the hospital currently cross High Street and use bus stops in the Belmore Road retail strip, generating much of the pedestrian traffic and business that these retail outlets rely upon. The tram system is designed to divert passengers away from the established civic centre strip.

We are told that trams will be arriving at the terminus every two or three minutes during the morning peak, regardless of how many passengers can be herded onto them, simply because they can only turn around at the terminuses. To achieve this there will need to be two tram rails crossing Avoca Street into the Randwick Triangle park, and there will need to be a rail for trams entering the park to pass trams waiting to exit the terminus. The rails in the park will be presumably be in the form of a tuning fork with the actual tram stop in the south east corner. Passengers using the trams will not go near the retail centre, and the next stop will be in Wansey Road adjacent to the horse stables.

The design of the Randwick terminus provides insight into the length of the cattle cars. Clearly the length of the carriages is in no way related to the passenger loadings that the cattle cars will ever carry. Transport for NSW has simplistically made them as long as possible so they can chant infantile slogans like "the service can carry up to 9,000 people per hour in each direction". So why not make them the length of say 10 buses, then they would not have to be coupled together to shuttle between the underground events platform at Moore Park and Chalmers Street, "back and forth, back and forth". The answer is that the rails in the Randwick Triangle must be more than the length of two cattle cars. There is currently no right-hand turn from High Street into Avoca Street, and the tram tracks will entrench this. To turn right traffic must use the Cuthill Road slingshot using the curved lane at the south-east corner of the triangle. This presumably is what set the length of the cattle cars.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

First they reduce you to stick figures, then they terminate you.

According to legend, when buses enter the Randwick Triangle they disappear without trace, but this has been shown to be an Urban Myth. Buses simply become terribly conflicted and awfully confused.
Where the metal hits the park
High Street is an important east-west link in Randwick, but it is four lanes wide, so the tram stops have been located at the southern end of Wansey Road and in the Randwick Triangle traffic island. Public buses that are forcibly terminated, to force passengers onto privately operated cattle cars, have to turn across the tram rails at the acute northern corner shown in the Google Street view above. Bendy buses would not be able to used on these routes.

The Transport for NSW brochure, Sydney's Light rail Future, has a page of stick figures to demonstrate that the average bus can hold up to 60 people while cattle cars could hold up to 300 people. I won't insult your intelligence by reproducing this diagram. The diagram is misleading - buses only run at capacity if the driver threatens to stop the bus if people do not move to the back of the bus. But we will give O'Farrell the benefit of the doubt and assume he will have guards with electric cattle prods on buses to force people to the back of the bus. Even so, you need 5 buses to carry enough stick figures to feed the insatiable maw of a cattle car.

We are told that trams will be arriving and leaving every 2 or 3 minutes during the morning peak, so buses would need to be turning across the tram tracks, from Avoca Street into Belmore Street (or visa versa) every 24 or 36 seconds, in concert with the existing traffic in Avoca Street, in order for the tram service to carry commercial passenger loadings. The only additional passengers from the other stops on the route during the morning peak would be race horses, swans and Swans football players excused from the early morning training session.

The ability of cattle cars to transport large volumes of people cheaply is not in dispute - this was established in 1939 and the early 1940s. The problem has always been in rounding up people to to herd onto them and disposing of people at the other end. At Circular Quay people can be disposed of only to Luna Park, Taronga Zoo and Manly.

The Transport for NSW tram Project fails spectacularly in integrating efficiently with the bus services. The business model requires the tramway to cripple the Public Bus Services in order for it to be commercially viable.

Now do you believe Transport for NSW is deliriously incompetent.

Friday, 23 August 2013

The Enigma of the Randwick Triangle

Randwick Triangle
Trams will enter the triangular traffic island from High Street. One cannot deduce the orientation of the tram rails once they are inside the traffic island but presumably they would be roughly parallel to Belmore Road. The trams are so long they would stretch about half the length of the park.

Cuthill Street, to use a NASA term, slingshots traffic from Coogee Bay Road into:
  • Avoca Street south
  • Avoca Street north, to the Eastern Suburbs
  • Belmore Road/Alison Street, thence the CBD and Eastern Australia from Kirribilli to Cape York
  • High Street
Transport for NSW Wiki-leakers have described this dot as a possible/future bus/tram exchange - it is the only dot on the tram lines within Cooee of the Coogee bus routes.

But, Houston, we have a problem.

Buses have their doors on the left hand side. For buses to discharge passengers directly to the trams they need to circle the island in the anticlockwise direction, against the established traffic flow. There will need to be two extra lanes whittled away from the park in both Belmore Road and Cuthill Street exclusively for buses travelling against the flow and for the bus stops.

In order to turn around, buses will need to circle the private cattle car wagons like Injuns, crossing the tram rails at the acute angle where the trams enter the park.

There will be no bendy-buses for Coogee and the South-East Suburbs.

The dire alternative: Go with the flow

Buses go with the flow
If buses go with the flow in order to circle the private cattle car wagons the situation for bus passengers is more dire. Buses will need to join the queue of vehicles proceeding north along Avoca Street in order to make the right hand turn across the tram tracks.

Bus stops in Liverpool Street have moved progressively east towards Wentworth Avenue in order to give bus drivers a fighting chance of making it across to the right-turn lanes into Elizabeth Street. For this reason, the closest bus stops in Coogee Bay Road will move east so the bus drivers can reach the lane that turns into the straight-through centre lane in Avoca Street. So Public Bus passengers will be forced to alight way to the east in Coogee Bay Road and forced to use three pedestrian crossing in order to be herded into privately-operated cattle cars.

Given a choice no bus passenger would transfer to a cattle car unless the service was forcibly terminated. The $1.6+ billion question is: Will O'Farrell terminate Coogee bus services by making buses circle clockwise or anticlockwise? In either case the buses have to cross the tram rails in order to turn around.

Your guess is as good as mine. My guess is that O'Farrell will treat the citizens of Coogee with the same contempt he has shown for the citizens of Surry Hills, Kensington and Kingsford: buses will go with the flow and passengers will be forced to trudge through rain, sleet and hail, across busy roads, in order to be transferred to cattle cars.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Blocking the stable gates

Wansey Road, Randwick
At the Surry Hills Community Forum at Sydney High School in April, there were plants in the audience who were not from the local area. Clover Moore knew where they were and had the microphone handed to them. One after the other they got up and chanted the same mantra: light rail brings about urban renewal. It is extremely difficult to see how this could happen.

There are six dots on the Randwick branch of the tram lines: one is in Moore Park, two are in Centennial Park, two are at either end of Wansey Road and one is on the Randwick Triangular traffic island. Only the stop on the Randwick Triangle is remotely adjacent to bus routes.

Needless to say, the stops blocking off both ends of Wansey Road, which were announced of December 13 without any warning or consultation, are causing anxiety to the residents of the road, which abuts the stables (the green roofed buildings) and marshalling areas of Randwick Racecourse.

If Clover Moore and her henchpersons are to be believed, the next property developer billionaires will be thoroughbred race horses. Given the recent history of property developers in Sydney, this would be a welcome development, however improbable.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The perils of one lane

I was heading back to Sydney from Tanilba Bay on Port Stevens on the 29th of January 2008. Tanilba Bay was only accessible by boat when the holder of a land grant erected a grand colonial residence there in 1831, using convict labour. A developer had designed a model housing estate from 1931 with a road system inspired by Walter Burley Griffin and a wrought iron gateway possibly inspired by the (now) world heritage listed gate at Auschwitz. I did not see a bus the whole time I was there.

When we were approaching the edge of the escarpment where it falls down to the Hawkesbury River, traffic slowed to a crawl. At the bridge over the Hawkesbury, traffic was being diverted onto the old Pacific Highway steel-girder bridge. Some vehicles did not divert but they did not get far before being forced to divert on the other side of the river. Evidently the south-bound lanes of the freeway were closed, but the old Pacific Highway had carried all traffic from the north a few years before, why was traffic banked back past the Hawksbury River?
George Street, Hornsby

All became clear when we reached Hornsby. South-bound traffic was being diverted into George Street via Bridge Street, and Hornsby Council had reduced the southbound lanes to one, with a lane of long term local parking. The parking only extended for a block or so, but it was enough to delay traffic by seven hours, on a hot summers day. Millions would have been wiped off the Australian economy in lost productivity. The councillors would have celebrated their triumph.

The Iemma government spent millions building third lanes to the freeway carriageways, with plans to introduce one-lane against the flow traffic movements in emergencies. These plans failed when put to the test.

A cheaper alternative would have been to return emergency routes to the control of the Road and Traffic Authority. When Google Maps took its satellite snapshot of Hornsby roads the parking in George Street had been removed, so sanity may have prevailed in the end.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Who pays for all this

The Armenian came down like a wolf on the fold
And her chariots were covered in bill-boards - pure gold.
apologies to Lord Byron
University of NSW
Can a private cattle car corporation make a profit running billboards through canyons of apartment buildings on top of sex shops and nothing-over-$2 stores? Previous public/private transport initiatives suggest not. The Monorail (nationalised and demolished), inner-west light rail (nationalised) and the Airport Link were able to set fares, subject to approval, to the stations that were set up, in competition with existing services. They struggled to make a profit. This established model for private/public transport projects does not auger well for student-concession holders at the University of NSW.

If any of the Cabinet Members of the O'Farrell government had done anything other than a mickey-mouse degree at a university they would be aware that students arrive for lectures at various times of the day. The number of bus drivers that need to be employed, and the amount of rolling stock in use, peak outside the 9 to 5 working hours, on the other hand. Bus drivers need to be rostered so that there are sufficient drivers available at peak hours, then there is a surfeit of drivers during the rest of the day. Granting university students travel concessions makes economic sense for public transport systems and has been a part of transport planning for aeons.

Using a tram-stop outside a university as the raison d'ĂȘtre for a crush-load transport system is shonky economics. Using event transportation is even shonkier. The university car-park next to NIDA at the time the satellite was passing overhead was all but empty. Theatrical sessions generally occur outside of peak hours, and patrons travel mainly by car or taxi as car parking is available.

The tram lines from Chalmers Street to Kingsford and Randwick are almost certainly the most expensive per kilometre in the history of human civilisation. It is impossible to deduce how a contract for a private/public partnership could be structured.

The Airport Link railway was a crucial piece of infrastructure, diverting trains around the recognised bottleneck where the Eastern Suburbs railway fed into the loop rail system in Erskineville, and it was completed in time for the 2000 Olympics. It received short shrift from the Carr government and the rail unions, and struggled to make a return to investors.

This light rail Project must rely on bus services being terminated by the government to force commuters onto the cattle-cars, or it must use road lane reductions, in the manner of the Cross-City Tunnel Project, to make rival public transport untenable. Investors in the Cross City Tunnel lost everything because while lane reductions may force some drivers to use the Tunnel during peak hours, the hostility generated ensures that they will not use the tunnel at other times.

The tram-lines along Anzac Parade will paralyse traffic in the bus lanes for 12 to 13 hours a day so the Project is off to a good start, but O'Farrell will still have to come up with contracts that ensure public bus services are terminated not for a while but forever.

It is claimed in the brochure Sydney's Light Rail Future that the tram Project will remove around 220 buses from entering the CBD in the busiest hour. Attempts to find out which bus services will be terminated are met with the response that the remodelling of the bus services is still being carried out by Transport for NSW. The Transport Minister is replying to all requests for information about the tram lines, that no information will available until the release of the Environmental Impact Statement, which is required by law. However an EIS does not require information on the economic viability of a project. So Transport for NSW will still be carrying out modelling of bus services for the foreseeable future and contracts to terminate bus services will no doubt be subject to commercial confidentiality.

All we can safely say is that all bus services that enter the CBD are under threat of termination and will be until the O'Farrell government chooses to make its decisions public.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Taken to the MAX

Perth Town Hall

Perth had a north-south tram line along Beaufort Street terminating at the Barrack Street ferry wharf and a east-west tram line along Hay Street. I used to catch the Beaufort Street tram alighting on the tarmac of Barrack Street at the Perth town hall, then transfer to the Hay Street tram to get to my school in West Perth.

The Max light rail returns trams to Hay Street from the Causeway to Subiaco then turns south to Nedlands. There is a north-south line along Fitzgerald Street to the west of Beaufort Street terminating around the Perth railway station where the rail lines are being sunken, causing great disruption. A map of the proposed route can be downloaded at

Troy Buswell is Minister for Transport as well as Treasurer, and a world renowned seat sniffer. He favoured twin tram lines through the Hay Street Mall, others argued for tram lines split between Murray and Hay Streets, and Perth City Council wants trams along St Georges Terrace which has never carried trams and is the main bus route through the Perth CBD. An expert committee has been set up to recommend the best route through the CBD. This is, of course, what we have been imploring the O'Farrell Government to do in the Sydney CBD.
Fitzgerald Street, Perth

Fitzgerald Street has never been an arterial road, since it terminated at the railway lines. Before the Narrows Bridge was built the main north-south roads were Beaufort and William Street, which passed over the rail-lines to the Esplanade and the South Perth ferries, and Charles Street which gave access to Nedlands. Now the Narrows bridge between South Perth and Mounts Bay has been duplicated and has a suburban rail system down the centre lanes. This is the main north-south traffic artery stretching from Bunbury to ever expanding destinations in the north of Perth. The MAX light rail will not cause major disruption to north-south traffic movements though Perth.

Fitzgerald Street feeds into Alexander Drive which has expansive traffic islands and is not built up to the street frontages. Perth did not have much of a tradition of Public Transport, and the Liberal Government tried to close down the Perth/Fremantle rail line and sell off the land to developers but were defeated by Brian Burke. The Liberals opposed the north-south rail over the Narrows Bridge to Mandurah which has transformed urban transport in Perth. A well designed light rail would also attract extra passengers to public transport from private cars. Perth was arguably the most car oriented city in the world.

There are hardly any similarities between the Perth Max light rail and the South-Eastern Suburbs light rail except the cost. The major engineering cost in Perth would be the sinking of the rail lines in the CBD and this has already been accounted for. WA Treasury does not foresee any reduction of the debt in its 10 year forward estimates, and taxes and charges are being increased in an effort to avoid rating agencies lowering WA's credit rating.

When O'Farrell eventually floats into the Prime Minister's office and asks for $1.7 billion plus he may get a completely different answer to that given to Barnett. He will be able to explain that he has no idea how many extra passengers might conceivably be transferred from private cars because he has not allowed the RTA to conduct origin/destination surveys.

On the other hand Tony Abbott may have had his NSW colleague in mind when he said: "Politicians are not the suppository of all wisdom."

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Tony Abbott says No Funding

The Western Australian state debt was $3.6 billion a few weeks before the Liberal Party Barnett government took office four years ago. In the state budget handed down by the Treasurer, Troy Buswell, on Thursday, the debt is projected to reach $19.9 billion next year and surge past $28 billion at the end of the 4 year budget cycle. Then the debt will reach at least $47 billion in ten years time under the best-case scenario produced by Treasury. So what went wrong?

Premier Barnett promised during the last election campaign to build a Light Rail to the northern suburbs of Perth and a spur Rail to Perth Airport. During a previous election campaign he had promised to dam the Fitzroy River in the Kimberley and build a trench to pump water to Perth, but he had lost the election comprehensibly. Trams are electorally popular and he won the election in a landslide.
Geikie Gorge, Fitzroy River
Now in the first budget after the election the electorate is counting the cost. The West Australian Newspaper, which has always supported the Liberal Party in elections, was scathing in its coverage of the Budget, using the digitally altered picture above on its front page. In its comments it says: The binge includes the airport rail spur and Max light rail system, projects whose benefits have never been publicly quantified nor the ongoing costs and funding adequately explained.

Less than a billion of the transport infrastructure is to be paid for in the four year budget cycle with the remaining $3.8 billion being foist on future governments. The WA government is more upfront than the NSW government as to who will be paying the interest on the debt: 
  • People with drivers licences - up 5%
  • Motor vehicle licences - up 13%
  • Public transport fares - up 5%
  • Renewable energy - solar feed-in tariff halved
  • Commuters who park-and-ride - parking fees introduced
The Perth light rail website floats the same ideas for funding the project as the NSW project - joint Commonwealth and State Government funding and public/private equity venture. There is a problem though. Tony Abbott has said categorically that a Liberal Party Federal Government will not provide any funding for urban rail projects.

At least Barnett had sounded out his federal Liberal Party colleagues before deciding to proceed. If O'Farrell does not want to hear something he suppresses the information and carries on.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Maximum number of vehicles removed from Anzac Parade by trams.

The maximum number of vehicles that would be removed from the vehicle flow per hour figures by the tramway are clearly the number of buses that pass the proposed Kingsford tram stop, and would presumably be forcibly terminated, and the number of vehicles that currently travel from Maroubra, Malabar and Little Bay during the morning peak, and park in car-parks adjacent to George Street in the northern CBD. These would be few and far between as it costs more than $19,000 a year to park all day in these car-parks.

However the maximum number of buses that could be terminated is easy to calculate from the timetables. These numbers are:
  • 37 buses per hour from 7 - 8 am
  • 50 buses per hour from 8 - 9 am
  • 22 buses per hour from 9 - 10 am
  • 16 buses per hour from 10am - 4pm
  • 24 buses per hour from 4 - 5 pm
  • 19 buses per hour from 5 - 6 pm
  • 16 buses per hour from 6 - 7 pm
Bear in mind that few of these buses would be packed when passing the Kingsford dot. Subtracting these figures from the vehicle per hour data referenced in the previous post has a negligible impact, and these buses have their own tidal flow lanes.

Vehicles headed for parking adjacent to George Street during the morning peak would be few and far between, but counting the maximum number that could possibly switch to a bus/tram combo presents problems. Not technical problems, political problems.

In the early 1970s students had been employed to record vehicle types turning and passing through complex important intersections, and this data had proven invaluable in debunking Brereton's Eastern Distributor plans. Now there are video cameras to do this job. Skyhigh traffic monitors, a UK company founded in 1989, has operations in Sydney and other Australian capital cities, and does work for the Road and Traffic Authority. I came across one of their monitors in Bourke Street but did not have my iPhone. However there is a picture in a flier on their webpage This is a quote from the website: Using our methods, even the most complex junction can be surveyed accurately, and with a two camera system, simultaneous viewing of two sites allows for detailed origin/destination matrices without the need for registration plate surveys.

The picture on the right is a fixed camera system such as is used in the RTA SCATS system. The RTA collects vast amounts of data from video cameras and magnetic loops at traffic lights for the SCATS traffic management and can change traffic-lights remotely to relieve traffic congestion in real time. The RTA has the expertise and the personal to accurately assess the impacts on traffic movements of the tram lines, so there are no technical problems. The problems are political.

When O'Farrell became Premier one of his first priorities was to cut the education budget, and stand down teachers. He is not going to allow Public Servants, with education, to debunk his decisions, made on a personal whim.

However we are not completely stymied. Western Australia eliminated registration stickers a few years ago and NSW has belatedly caught up. Patrol cars and toll booths have cameras that constantly scan for number plates. If we can find two rogue patrol officers, who are secretly admired by their fellow officers and by Hollywood scriptwriters, and get them to station patrol cars in Anzac Parade and George Street we could count the few vehicles in Anzac Parade who turn up in northern George Street. This is the maximum number of commuters from Maroubra and Malabar that could conceivably decide to give up their $19,000 plus parking space, leave their Maybach convertible in the garage and catch a bus then change to a tram.

The historic and current vehicle per hour data is reliable only if Moore Park and Centennial Park remain the green lung and fields for participation activities for the people of Sydney, as was envisaged by Lord Mayor Charles Moore. If O'Farrell does to Moore Park what Reagan wanted to do to South Vietnam and Sartor wanted to do to Prince Albert Park then a couple of thousand vehicles will be added to the morning peak vehicle flows in Anzac Parade.

O'Farrell is reducing Anzac Parade to one lane each way and simultaneously adding thousands of vehicles to the vehicle count. He will need to sack a lot more teachers for the general electorate to not see the absurdity of what he is doing.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

"Things will get nasty in Anzac Parade, Forever."

Thirty years ago Laurie Brereton announced a design for the Eastern Distributor that would have narrowed Flinders Street to one lane each way north of Albion Street, forcing all traffic from Oxford Street into the lane used by buses to the South Eastern Suburbs. I was able to access traffic flow data in the University of Sydney Engineering Library which showed that this would create congestion that would cripple bus services to the South Eastern Suburbs. Brereton appointed an expert panel that came up with the current design of the Eastern Distributor.

Now O'Farrell is going to reduce an entire section of a crucial arterial road to one lane each-way. It is beyond belief.

Thirty years ago the vehicle flow data was published in books that were too large to stand up on the shelves and were stacked up in quite a high pile. Now they are posted on line in very large MS Word documents on the Transport for NSW web site. You can use this link

The data was published every second year until 1993, then every third year until 2005, then unfortunately, zilch. The files of interest for Sydney roads are k5syaadt.xls which gives the weekly traffic flow data on surveys from 1989 to 2005, k5sya a Word doc with 215 pages that has data for monitor stations on main roads and k5sy4 a Word doc with 786 pages that has data for stations on other  roads. The monitor station we are most interested in is the station no. 12.012 an Anzac Parade north of Day Avenue. This is in file k5sya on page 30. This is the site of the tram-stop between NIDA and the University of NSW that forces all traffic not headed for Circular Quay into the one bus lane and establishes the business model for the privately-operated tramway. I have copied this page to Google docs, click here.
Street View of Day Ave intersection
The main parking area for the University of NSW is between NIDA and Day Avenue, accessible only from Day Avenue. The tram stop will be about where the bus is.

Traffic flow data is collected for one week at each monitor station during the survey year, using mainly pneumatic tubes taped to the lane surfaces. After a week the equipment is moved to another station. The week chosen for the survey would vary from year to year. The weekly flows for this monitor station are consistent in the surveys from 1989 to 2005. So the current traffic flows certainly would not be less than in 2005.

Transport for NSW are obsessed with morning peaks in traffic headed to the city. So we will discuss the data for the north-bound lanes on Tuesday. Traffic flow peaks at 1660 vehicles per hour from 8am to 9am, then tails off in the next hour, but stays above 1100 vph for the rest of the day. Vehicle flows increase again after 1pm reaching another high peak of 1504 vehicles per hour from 5 to 6 pm. One would need the recent figures and the traffic-light timings to prove that Anzac Parade will be gridlocked when reduced to one lane, and only the Roads and Traffic Authority has this data. If O'Farrell refuses to allow the RTA to do traffic flow modelling around the tram routes then we are pretty well stymied. "Freedom of information" requests can not access modelling that does not exist. O'Farrell is good.

However the vehicles per hour figures are so far in excess of the maximum flows that can be achieved in a one lane each way highway with hook turns that one hardly needs to do the calculations. Both carriageways of Anzac Parade will be paralysed, not just in the morning and afternoon peaks but for 12 to 13 hours per day during week days, and for long periods at the weekends.

"Things will get nasty in Anzac Parade."
 Not for a while, forever.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Parade of the Anzacs

Randwick Road 1871-1873.    Mitchell Library archives 
Randwick Road which ran diagonally through Moore Park was always recognised as a major arterial road. The sandstone pillars that marked the start remain today. On the 9th January 1917, in a minute to the works committee of the City Council, the Lord Mayor (Alderman Meagher) suggested that the widened Randwich Road be called Anzac Parade and this was adopted. This would have been to honour the sacrifice of the diggers who had died at the Gallipoli landing and would continue to die until the armistice in 1918.
City of Sydney Archives  SRC14702
The photo above was presumably taken in the 1950s and shows the tram rails to the tram lines in Moore Park. In the early twentieth century Sydney had developed one of the largest tram networks in the world, with good reason. The only crossings of Sydney Harbour was via ferries from Circular Quay to Milsons Point. To get from the suburbs of Sydney to destinations in Eastern Australia from Kirribilli to Cape York one had to travel to Circular Quay, get on a ferry and continue the journey on trains, trams or buses from Milsons Point.

That all changed when the Harbour Bridge was built. The people of Sydney could make continuous journeys from the southern suburbs to the north, and Anzac Parade was the only arterial road from the south-eastern suburbs to the harbour crossings. The importance of Anzac Parade to the south-eastern suburbs increased with the building of the Cahill Expressway, and even more with the opening of the Harbour Tunnel. There will never ever be a vehicular crossing of the Harbour to the east of the Harbour Tunnel so the importance of Anzac Parade will keep on increasing.

People no longer travel to Circular Quay to reach destinations from Kirribilli to Cape York. Indeed the train station and tram stops at Milsons Point have been replaced by Luna Park. Only the small proportion of commuters in Malabar, Little Bay and southern Maroubra who have jobs or businesses in the northern CBD have any need for a tram from Circular Quay for the first five sections then change to a bus for the next five, and they are certainly no better off.
Milsons Point 2005
Forcing all the traffic in Anzac Parade not headed for the northern end of the CBD or Circular Quay into the one lane carrying buses in order to establish a business model for a 50/50% tram/bus route from Circular Quay to Malabar is truly nostalgic and utterly insane. The most critical portion of Anzac Parade will be reduced to one lane 24 hours a day, forever.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Nine Ways to kill a tramway.

Nine Ways roundabout Kingsford
The tram rails continue along Anzac Parade until they pass through the Nine Ways round-about and reach the broad centre islands between the carriageways of Anzac Parade east of Nineways where they inexplicably terminate at the dot named Kingsford. Trams could continue along the centre of Anzac Parade with minimal interference to traffic flows or bus services all the way to La Perouse. And this would be the explanation. Once the tram rails have reached the broad centre island they have achieved their purpose:

  • This is not a competently designed tram system. 
  • This is an irrational, idealogical attack on the Public Bus Services.

The business model for setting up a private company to build and operate the tramway requires the rival public bus services to be crippled, and for public bus services to be forcibly terminated at the two possible/future bus/tram interchanges.

There was a bus stopped at the bus stop leading into the inbound bus lane along Anzac Parade when the satellite was taking its snapshot. It is at the top of the screen grab but you can follow the arguments with Google Maps. The bus could have come from Anzac Parade like the other bus in the snapshot waiting to enter Nineways, but is more likely to have come from Bunnerong Road, which passes through more populated areas and carries many more buses. These buses have an exclusive route to the tidal bus lane along Anzac Parade, shown by the blue line. This route passes nowhere near the Kingsford tram terminal, so these services will compete with the trams. They are given short shrift by Transport for NSW.

Every vehicle travelling along Anzac Parade, west of Nineways, is forced into the one the only bus lane. It is not just the bus services along Bunnerong Road that will be crippled. there are bus services taking students and staff at the University of NSW to a various destinations, bus services through Kensington along Todman Avenue and Lenthal Street and bus services through Kingsford.