Thursday, 17 October 2013

Last Exit from Barangaroo (expurgated version)

The Menzies Government banned the novel "Last Exit to Brooklyn" - it contains naughty words. Now the O'Farrell Government is redefining the definition of "obscenity".
Deceptive diagram of City Roads in 9/11 13 brochure
Vehicular access to Darling Harbour and Barangaroo from the south is from George Street via Hay Street which is not shown as a one-way road in the 9/11 13 brochure. Vehicular access to the CBD west of George Street from the south and from the Eastern Suburbs is from Liverpool Street, into Kent Street, which is not shown as one-way west of Elizabeth Street and inexplicably ceases to be a "priority route for general vehicle traffic within the city centre" from Elizabeth Street to Pitt Street and west of Kent Street.

Vehicles from New South Head Road have other options: they can access Kent Street from Druitt Street and Barangaroo and Darling Harbour via the cross-city tunnel.
Cross-City Tunnel exit
There are at least five lanes of traffic (the yellow  lines) plus two more from Pier Street, and the Cross City Tunnel, feeding vehicles into Barangaroo and Darling Harbour. Unfortunately, the only way traffic can return to the Eastern Suburbs from Barangaroo via the cross-city tunnel is by looping from Sussex Street into Liverpool Street then into Harbour Street North: Sussex Street is the only exit to the Eastern Suburbs and the southern suburbs whether they use the tunnels or the surface roads. Needless to say, Sussex Street is slowed to a crawl throughout the evening hours on week days - it is quicker to walk.

Binary choice, turn into Bathurst,
or continue to Liverpool Street

Attempts to force drivers to pay the cross city tunnel toll by generating congestion in Bathurst Street and William Street have failed dismally. Nationalizing the loss-making Cross-City Tunnel, in line with Liberal Party ideology, and reducing the toll, will not mitigate congestion in Sussex Street. The Tunnel is a cause of the congestion. Pedestrianizing George Street between Market and Bathurst Streets will force vehicles from the off-street parking in Pitt Street north of Park Street into Sussex Street, and congestion will get much worse as Barangaroo is built.

Private cars can exit Sussex Street, eventually, into Harris Street via Ultimo Road, but Public Transport must get back to Railway Square. Buses could turn into George Street from Bathurst Street but would be forced into one lane to pass  the World Square and Chinatown tram stops and would be hit by traffic displaced from George Street returning with a vengeance from Liverpool Street. Goulburn Street is two lanes each way west of George Street and there will never be right-hand turns into George Street.
Goulburn Street, no way back for buses
The only place where buses can turn efficiently into George Street and make it back to the depot in Lee Street is from Druitt Street. The 13 Dec 20012 brochure stated: "Most people arrive in the CBD via public transport. This means we can see 370 buses moving along George Street outside Town Hall in the morning's busiest hour". This would indicate to a rational person that the section of George Street from Market to Bathurst Street is the most important road for Public Transport in the state, and indeed it is the key to providing efficient services. It can never be "pedestrianized". Turning George Street over to a service for commuters from Maroubra and Prince of Wales Hospital achieves nothing, and apparently makes it impossible for TfNSW to provide public transport for Barangaroo.
"Proposed bus network"
The 13 Dec 12 brochure contains this diagram entitled "Proposed bus network" with the dotted yellow line labelled "Western CBD/Barangaroo corridor" starting with a dot and passing through the middle of Paddy's Market and ending with an arrow at a one-way section of Harris Street. The Deputy Director General of the Transport Projects Division TfNSW, Chris Lock, was more forthcoming at the Community Forum at Sydney High School in April. He confirmed that it had been decided not to proceed with the previous Government's commitment to evaluate building a tram service to Barangaroo - it would not be commercial, he said, since commuters would use the pedestrian tunnel to the underground platforms of Wynyard Station. He said there would be a bus service from Circular Quay, presumably passing under the Harbour Bridge. To reach Barangaroo from Parramatta Road you would be transfered to a cattle car at Rawson Place then back onto a bus for the tortuous trip under the Harbour Bridge.
9/11 13 brochure (full size)
In the 9/11 13 brochure, Barangaroo is only accessible from bus services from the north of the Harbour. There are linkages along Erskine Street, which ends at Wynyard Park, and King Street ending at York Street. There is no indication of how the buses will be turned around.

There have been three completely different indicative plans for bus services issued by TfNSW in less than a year, in the course of developing an Environmental Impact Statement, which we are told will be issued in the next few weeks. None of the plans contain any details whatsoever that would allow them to be independently assessed. Transport for NSW is so dysfunctional as to be beyond belief.

The director-general of TfNSW, Les Wielinga, has retired and the Roads Minister announced his successor yesterday. It will be a Queensland public servant, David Stewart, who was sacked by the Newman Government. He will be walking into an Augean stables when he starts his job later this year or early next year. It is not to much to expect a public servant to have an ethical compass whatever their level of competence. There will be further posts about the above diagram.

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