Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The sins of the North Shore are visited on the south

On any week day every vehicle in the northern CBD is there for a purpose. The number of off-road parking spaces is known and is controlled by planning regulations and is unlikely to increase markedly in the foreseeable future. The parking spots are also very expensive for regular commuting. There are large numbers of taxis kerb crawling for the remarkable number of taxi rank spaces - in European cities with old street layouts taxis wait off grid to be called on mobile phones. There are delivery vans and trucks carrying out business activities. North of Market Street the only through traffic in the CBD is headed for or from the North Shore and the volume of this traffic is unbounded. Only congestion will force this traffic to alternative routes. North Shore drivers are solely responsible for congestion in the Sydney CBD north of Market Street.

Congestion in bus routes in George Street north of Market Street was cited as the raison d'ĂȘtre for running trams along George Street - when the project was announced Sydney City Council had already produced broomstick-eye graphics of trams travelling along George Street. There was no information on what would happen to the bus services displaced from George Street, and unbelievably there still isn't, after TfNSW has produced an Environmental Impact Statement and a never-exhibited Preferred Infrastructure Report and Planning and Environment has published a Secretary's Assessment Report.

Chris Lock was more forthcoming at the Community Forum at Sydney High School in April 2013. He said commuters in the future would be forced to change between transport modes in making journeys through Sydney. In fact, it can be deduced that commuters will be forced to make four trips to get between Sydney University or the inner west and destinations along New South Head Road for instance. Currently it takes less than one minute for a bus to get from Railway Square to Rawson Place and another couple of minutes to reach Town Hall. Residents of the inner west are being forced to pay a heavy price for absolutely no gain and there is no rational excuse for this. Restoration of the Pitt/Castlereagh Streets tram loop makes Public Transport in the CBD future-proof and imposes no penalties on residents south of the Harbour.

Traffic in the arterial roads between the Eastern Suburbs and the rest of Sydney south of the Harbour is tangental to the CBD and has a marginal effect on the entry of buses to the CBD. Traffic flows in these arteries would be slightly affected by trams crossing Elizabeth Street at Hay and Campbell Streets. On the other hand, the North Shore rump government is deliberately creating grid lock at each end of Eddy Avenue in order to cripple public bus services and force commuters to transfer onto privately-operated trams.

"220 buses removed from the CBD"
The 13 December 2012 brochure claimed that about 220 buses would be "removed from the CBD" during the am peak. Chris Lock repeated this claim at the meetings in April 2013 before he became a recluse. 49 of these buses were removed from Chalmers Street and were clearly buses that terminated at the Lee Street layover. It turned out that the Metro buses (M10 and M50) would also be eliminated and these did not enter the CBD north of Park Street. 63 of the buses removed from the Victoria Road routes were sent on to God knows where in the Eastern Suburbs. Less that half the  buses "removed from the CBD" actually entered the northern CBD. They would be replaced by trams that would run on empty to Circular Quay after dumping passengers at Central in order to turn round.

The claim that "220 buses would be removed from the CBD" was reiterated in the EIS prompting an bemused response from the "Independent Review of Traffic & Transport Assessment" which was commented on in a previous post "Total subversion of the Public Service". However this claim had been contradicted comprehensively in the brochure Sydney City Centre Access Strategy published just before the end of the exhibition period. This stated that about 50% of the buses from Broadway would be terminated before Elizabeth Street (88 buses) a huge discrepancy from the 33 buses removed, God knows how, that were the basis of the claim. TfNSW refused all requests to reveal which services would be terminated and where they would physically turn round. Only a Royal Commission into TfNSW could unravel what was going through the minds of the public servants who made this claim. There will be a Royal Commission held either after the State election on 28 March 2015 or after pedestrians are killed and injured leaving and entering Central Station.

The never-exhibited Business Case for the CSELR
There is no reason why passengers on services that do not encounter congestion in bus routes in the northern CBD would leave the bus to transfer to a tram - the buses in Chalmers Street are not appreciably impacted by traffic travelling from southern Sydney to destinations in the Eastern Suburbs. To get passengers to transfer to trams the North Shore government must forcibly terminate the services God knows where or create gridlock at intersections used by buses to access the City. The Baird government will use both these stratagems if Baird is elected on 28 March 2015.

The business case for the Cross City Tunnel assumed that motorists could be forced to use the tunnel by congestion in a narrowed William Street. This only works in peak hours and the resentment aroused makes it more certain that motorist will not use the tunnel except in peak hours. The same rules would apply to transfers to from buses to trams.
The trams would not be viable from student-concession holders alone so bus services would have to be incapacitated for most of the day. The Preferred Infrastructure Report (PIR) released months after the exhibition period had closed shows how ruthlessly this is to be achieved. A two-way bicycle path obliterates the lane used by buses from Foveaux Street and from Chalmers Street to reach Eddy Avenue. Lycra-shirts riding in concert with trams broadside pedestrians waiting for trams to pass knocking them into the path of the trams. Mothers with prams and the disabled are particularly vulnerable.

Only the Sydney City and Randwick Councils were permitted to comment on the PIR but the indicative plan of Parsons Brinckerhoff were as always cropped to conceal what happens to the bicycleway in Eddy Avenue - presumably the bus stops are moved to the west of the pylons of the tram overpass so passengers alighting to transfer to Central Station are blindsided when crossing the tram tracks.

Bus services from Clovelly, northern Coogee and Bronte and from Botany are collateral damage in the North Shore push to cripple public bus services south of the Harbour and force passengers onto privately-operated trams. The bus services from South Sydney and Botany are particularly savaged. Buses that enter the bus bay south of Foveaux Street are trapped by traffic queued at the gridlocked intersection. When kerb blisters were built in Elizabeth Street at Martin Place bus drivers refused to be trapped at the pedestrian lights and stopped in the through lane second from the kerb, but congestion here affected only passengers boarding buses north of Martin Place and it was only a pedestrian crossing. Gridlock at the critical Foveaux/Elizabeth Streets intersection creates inestimable delays in the bus journeys of every commuter from the south of Sydney to every destination in the CBD.

Residents of Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee should note that their MP Notley-Smith was in on it right from the start but has said and done nothing to look after the interests of his constituents or even to keep them informed.

The Pitt/Castlereagh tram alignment does not create gridlock in any of the traffic arteries between the Eastern Suburbs and the rest of Sydney south of the Harbour and does not degrade any existing bus service.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely stupid. Light rail should be installed in the Sydney CBD. I can't wait for the light rail.