Friday, 14 March 2014

O'Farrell's ideological imperative

Sydney at end of 19th century
During the 19th century the rail terminus was at Devonshire Street which was the main route between George Street West (now Broadway)and the south-eastern suburbs for traffic and trams. Castlereagh Street south of the cemetery (now Chalmers Street) and Elizabeth Street were the connection with Cleveland Street. When Central Steam Station was built around 1903 Eddy Avenue took on the functions of Devonshire Street when it became a pedestrian tunnel.

Eddy Avenue became the main distributor between the western suburbs and the rest of the Eastern Suburbs when Wentworth Avenue was built between Elizabeth Street and the intersection of Oxford and College Streets. Wentworth Avenue made Chalmers and Elizabeth Streets the main distributer between the southern suburbs and the Eastern Suburbs and it has been thus for more than a century.

1903 City of Sydney
There is no alternative for this distributor. Traffic using this distributor have a minor impact on bus routes along George Street from Broadway and Elizabeth Street. It all works impeccably.

One should point out that the Eastern Distributor Motorway is now the main connection between NSW north of Kirribilli and the Princes Highway and will remain such if O'Farrell goes ahead with the ill-considered Westconnex project. It is not a local road to gratify the obsessions of lunatic-fringe politicians elected to the Sydney City Council.

Now O'Farrell has appointed senior Public Servants to Ministries he set up who are proclaiming a Sydney Access Strategy which has never been published or submitted to independent scrutiny and is patently absurd. TfNSW is asking approval for the EIS without any disclosure of this "strategy".

Chalmers Street was always my main area of concern because of its importance to the southern suburbs and the whole of the Eastern Suburbs. As described in previous posts I wrote to my Member of Parliament asking him to put a Question on Notice to the Transport Minister as to whether there would be one lane or zero lanes in Chalmers Street for general traffic. He declined saying the Minister would refuse to answer saying this would be revealed in the EIS.
Pizza boy Jeff Goodling
I confronted the Project Manager Jeff Goodling about the deliberate contradictions in the EIS at a community meeting shortly after the EIS went on exhibition. I pointed out that the cropped figure in the Parsons Brinckerhoff document showed one northbound lane in Elizabeth Street north of  Randle Street whereas Booz & Company stated that two lanes could be provided with the loss of only one southbound lane; and there was only space for four lanes. In my submission I said that TfNSW had a history of making convenient assertions that can be shown to be physically impossible and asked the assessors to properly assess these assertions and for the effects on traffic flow in Elizabeth Street to be properly modelled. And Glory Be, look at what has eventuated!

Preferred design of Chalmers Street stop
TfNSW has conceded to the assessors that there are only four lanes possible in Elizabeth Street but now in the Preferred Infrastructure Report, which they are asking to be approved as a modification of the EIS, they are proposing to reduce Elizabeth Street southbound to two lanes from the four currently operating at capacity in the morning and evening peaks. They are creating another "pinch point" to  rival the "mother of all pinch points" between the Old Supreme Court Building and the James Centre which actually has five lanes. I had an appointment in the city last Wednesday at 10:30 am in Market Street and was trapped on the bus for ten minutes getting from the stop south of Bathurst Street to the set-down-only stop at David Jones. This additional "pinch point" for bus services from Botany and South Sydney traps buses before passengers have any opportunity to transfer to other services or even walk.

Currently bus services in Chalmers Street stop at the Devonshire Street Tunnel entrance to Central Station then there is a bus-priority lane to the next stop south of Hay Street. Now the Wicked Witch of the North will be obliterating the Devonshire Street stop with a massive kerb blister for no sane reason. The bus priority lanes in Elizabeth Street north and south bound are obliterated and there will be a bus bay in Elizabeth Street south of Foveaux Street. The footpath alongside the Dental Hospital appears to be virtually non-existent and buses in the bus bay will be trapped by queues of general traffic waiting at the traffic lights.

This is a continuation of the murderous ploy of the Wicked Witch to induce passengers to transfer to privately-operated cattle cars rather than public trains to the same destinations - an exercise in futility. In fact the exercise will be a lot more murderous. I will deal with this in the next post.

This is not a competently designed tramway. O'Farrell has an ideological imperative to cripple Public Transport south of the Harbour in order to force people to transfer to privately-operated services.

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