Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Curiouser and Nastier

CBD bus network
The 12/12/2013 brochure restored the Young Street loop to the last remaining bus terminus in the CBD, but what of the all-new terminus in Walsh Bay. This has remained a line on a map in all the iterations of the figure. Information on how buses will physically turn around here is subject to commercial confidentiality. Buses have never turned around here in all the past.

When Sydney was a working harbour, one of the best deep water ports in the world, Walsh Bay had the main wharves. Now Pier One is an unsuccessful tourist attraction, another pier was converted to theatres for the Sydney Theatre Company and the remaining piers have been flogged off for residential - not exactly a hive of activity at which you would want your bus service to be terminated.

The other question is: which bus services does TfNSW intend to terminate at Walsh Bay? There is no Government Information made available on this matter. One must use deduction to work out the O'Farrell government's intentions.

Sydney's new bus terminus - Walsh Bay
Boundary Street overpass
Old tram routes to Eastern Suburbs
The last of the major tram routes to the Eastern Suburbs opened in 1908. It went from the Phillip Street loop to Bellevue Hill and soon extented to North Bondi. The hilly terrain of the Eastern Suburbs presented challenges which were met with the overpass, for trams only, over Boundary Street just east of St Vincent's Hospital. The Five Ways shopping hub in Paddington developed along the tramway, as also happened in Randwick and Kingsford.

When the trams were removed in 1960, the bus route that replaced them, the 387, followed much the same route. Buses from this route and from New South Head Road routes turned into Elizabeth Street from Park Street to reach the Phillip Street terminus. For more than a hundred years, Phillip Street has been the terminus for the public transport serving the Eastern Suburbs.

The North Shore rump of the Liberal Party has apparently decided that they will tell public bus passengers from the Eastern suburbs where they will go, and residents will have no say in the matter. The only warning is a trademark cryptic euphemism in the 9/11/2012 brochure:
"Some of the key changes that will benefit customers include:
  • Turning movements will be substantially reduced at the Elizabeth Street and Park Street intersection. This will help simplify bus movements through the city centre.
  • New bus routes will run to Barangaroo and Walsh Bay via the city centre and midtown interchange precinct."
Park Street/Elizabeth Street intersection

SMH 16th July 1923 p15

Criterion Theatre, corner Park and Pitt Streets
In the early settlement, ox-drawn drays found it hard to climb the Darlinghurst escarpment so the main route to the east was Oxford Street and Old South Head Road. The east-west roads between this escarpment and Darling Harbour, which extended south to Pier Street, were narrow and there was little reason to widen them. Sydney Council was given the power to resume properties for road widening in 1912 and proposals to widen Park Street went before Council in January 1914, to no avail.

Bradfield made personal representations to Council in July 1923 and the proposal to widen Park Street to one hundred feet was passed. It took some time for the widening to take place.

The Criterion Theatre was opened in 1886 and would have to be demolished along with the hotel. The building on the northern corner is now a Maccas restaurant. The last performance was on 13th July 1935. Sydney's two other Edwardian live theatres would survive until the 1970s.

Before the opening of the Cahill Expressway, York Street and Park Street was the main route between Australia north of Kirrabilli, and the Eastern Suburbs. The connection between York Street and Park Street was closed to vehicles other than buses by competent State Governments a long time ago forcing traffic onto the Cahill Expressway; and westbound traffic in Druitt Street was reduced from three lanes to two with the introduction of a bus only eastbound lane. Druitt Street is one of the most congested roads in the State.
Druitt Street was not widened in the 1930s - there was no reason to do this. The Robin Askin government had plans to introduce eastbound lanes in Druitt Street by demolishing properties on the northern side but the election of Neville Wran in 1976 brought these plans to a halt. The easternmost pylon for the carriageway over Darling Harbour had already been poured but this was cut off at the base and hauled away.

When a bus enters Druitt Street there are only two options:

  1. Proceed to Victoria Road - it is physically impossible to turn around.
  2. Make a right-hand turn from the westbound general traffic lane; which leads inexorably to the Harbour Bridge or Walsh Bay.
So instead of turning from Park Street into Elizabeth Street, as they have for more than 100 years, public transport services from the Eastern Suburbs are to be be caught up in general traffic lanes in Park and Druitt Streets; and will have to compete with North Shore buses terminated at the Queen Victoria Building, to make a right-hand turn from a two lane road.

Public transport passengers from the Eastern Suburbs are to be forced to walk south along Elizabeth Street to catch a northbound Broadway bus service or North Shore bus service, from a stop south of Bathurst Street, to reach destinations in the CBD north of Park Street.

The arrogance and incompetence of the Public Servants at TfNSW has reached a level that brings their sanity into question.

The fate of Eastern Suburbs public transport services will ultimately be decided at the State Election on March 28, 2015. If O'Farrell is returned for a second term all is lost.

No comments:

Post a comment