Friday, 18 April 2014

Secrets of the coven

Figure 7-9 AECOM access plan at Central Station
In the Technical Papers Volume 1 Aecom published crude diagrams showing the bus stops that would retained (green squares with white bus icon) and bus stops that would be created (green squares with black icon) adjacent to the tram stops (the mauve rectangle). Signalised pedestrian crossings are shown as red lines crossing the roads.

The three extra bus stops in Pitt Street are a worry as buses using them would have to make a U-turn in the narrow section of Pitt Street - not physically possible. The double-headed orange arrows represent transfers from buses to the privately-operated trams which is all Aecom is interested in.

The figure 4-1 of key bus routes in the EIS indicated that George Street bus services forcibly terminated at Pitt Street would in fact loop through a right turn into Goulburn Street then an illegal right turn into Castlereagh Street. This contradicted the similar figure in the SCCAS-for-further-consultation brochure released on 11 September 2013 and the figures in the SCCAS-final and Sydney's Bus Future brochures released after the EIS went on exhibition and referenced by the revised EIS, the Preferred Infrastructure Report. These are shown in the post Spot the Difference but are not worth reposting.

Whether forcibly-terminated buses are forced to loop through Goulburn Street or Campbell Street to turn right into Castlereagh Street, Booz & Company in the Technical Papers Volume 1 have them making a right-hand turn into Rawson Place into a set-down-only lane then a perilous hairpin right-hand turn into George Street.

Technical Papers Volume 1
You will have noted the obvious flaws in the design. The passengers being set down at the vast set-down-only bus stop could only have gotten on at stops adjacent to Belmore Park. The exception is of course commuters on the bus services from the North Shore that have been diverted into Castlereagh Street via the Cahill Expressway and wish to travel to the southeastern suburbs and those who caught these buses in Castlereagh Street rather than walk to the few tram stops in George Street. Commuters from the North Shore travelling to the south eastern suburbs are spoilt for choice:
  1. Catch a bus terminating at Wynyard Park and traipse to George Street;
  2. Catch a bus terminating at Druitt Street and walk to the Town Hall or QVB stops (same distance);
  3. Catch a bus terminating at Railway Square and step across the platform from their exclusive set-down-only stop.
Buses on the preferred Castlereagh Street route must inexorably return to the North Shore through the mother of all pinch-point in Elizabeth Street northbound and the Premier's privileged right-hand turn in Phillip Street.

Needless to say the designs of Booz & Company are contradicted by the indicative plans of the stop from Parsons Brinckerhoff. The plan shows a bus icon in the kerb-side lane in Pitt Street southbound and no right-turn bus lane into Rawson Place. The three buses shown in Rawson Place could only have come from Eddy Street (sic). The lane arrows in Eddy Avenue are not shown, as is their wont, but the bus access lane into Rawson Place must be a right-turn lane.

Parsons Brinckerhoff are proud of the design of this stop - it is one of the few indicative plans of stops that it has not revised for the Preferred Infrastructure Report. The plan shows clearly how much of a hairpin bend it will be for buses to turn around into George Street. The dots presumably represent pedestrians who have moved down the platform to the tarmac-level crossing so as to dutifully cross at the lights.

Alignment Diagram given to Sydney City Council
It is pointless to try to resolve the contradictions between the plans published by the three consultants, Aecom, Booz & Company and Parsons Brinckerhoff, in the EIS. The Sydney City Council was supplied with secret alignment diagrams that contradict all three descriptions in the EIS and has now conspired with TfNSW to pedestrianise Chalmers Street, a revision of the exhibited EIS so radical as to make the submissions made by people not in the know redundant.

The access diagrams prepared by Aecom showed the existing signalised crossing of Eddy Avenue east of the tram overpass with an existing bus stop to the west of the crossing. In practice buses set down passengers on both sides of the crossing which is accessible from either side.

The crossing had been deleted from the alignment diagrams inadvertently released by Sydney City Council in their submission to the EIS. This was understandable since the sandstone supports for the overpass almost completely block access to the crossing for bus passengers set down to the east of the overpass - they must cross the tram tracks blindsided to trams zipping through the arches from Chalmers Street.

The revised design replaces the lane used by buses with a two-way cycleway: "key impacts associated with the proposed design changes would include:

  • the dual left turn movement from Elizabeth Street into Eddy Avenue would be reduced to a single lane to accommodate the two-way cycleway through the second arch of Eddy Avenue rail bridge
  • traffic movements from Elizabeth Street and Foveaux Street into Eddy Avenue would be reduced to a single lane"
The indicative plan of the Chalmers Street stop has of course been cropped so the extent of the cycleway, the fate of the Railway Square bus services and the location if any of a pedestrian crossing across Eddy Avenue remain matters to be secretly determined by Sydney City Council and the Minister for Transport.

The current bus services from the southeastern suburbs to Railway Square connect passengers not only to Central Station but also to Parramatta Road and City Road bus services and they do not impact on congestion in the CBD. The trams that run on empty to Circular Quay after discharging passengers at Chalmers Street do not connect with these bus services unless they are forcibly terminated in Pitt Street and forced through the hairpin left-turn of death at Rawson Place.

Broomstick-eye Computer Graphics simulations of trams swooping along George Street may cause Gladys and Clover to pee their panties but they are very bad news for students and staff at Sydney University and residents of the inner west.

The Manly Connection

Michael Bruce "Mike" Baird

Robin "Robert" Askin
Why do Liberal Party politicians who live at Manly feel a need to make their names sound more butch? Askin pushed ahead with radial freeways centred on Darling Harbour, disregarding all objections. Will the new NSW Premier Baird press ahead with a radial tramway from the Manly ferry wharves to beachside suburbs, disregarding the dire consequences that this would have on residents of the inner west? We must await developments.

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