The following comments have been placed by the Editor on behalf of a Lane Cove North resident. At the end of the comments see the response from Steven Head, Willoughby Council’s Director with responsibility for traffic matters.
Location of Pedestrian Refuges & Intersections on Mowbray Road.
After consultation with the Lane Cove North community back in 2006 and notification that traffic management strategies in response to the Lane Cove Tunnel would be implemented in early 2010, it seems that the “Local Street Improvements” will now be installed in the next 6 months, some 4 years later.
There was never any official notification to the community as to why the strategies were never implemented back in 2010 and the only way I was made aware of the impending installation of Pedestrian Refuge Points was through a Lane Cove Council speaker at the recent Stringy Bark Creek Residents Association AGM. I was in agreeance that these strategies to manage traffic and pedestrian safety were necessary at the time and submitted my choices from those offered.
Since the initial consultation with the Lane Cove North community a large portion of the suburb known as the Mowbray Precinct (southern LCC side) has been rezoned to High Density with some 600 units either completed, under construction or approved with more to come. MowbrayPublic School which my children attend is now also to undergo a major upgrade commencing mid 2014 increasing from a current capacity of approx 370 students to accommodate 800-1000.
The Traffic Study carried out retrospectively by SMEC to assess the suitability of theroad network to cope with High Density living focused on the area of High Density development only and not the northern side of Mowbray Road which is in Willoughby Council and has not been zoned High Density. Mowbray Public School is also located on the northern side in Willoughby Council.
There is a need and an expectation of consultation with the Lane Cove North community regarding changes to Mowbray Road, most of whom reside in the Willoughby Council LGA. There are not many residents left in the Mowbray Precinct (Lane Cove Council) as they have either sold to developers and left the area or waiting to sell and move away. The many new residents that are about to move in don’t have a voice in what happens in what will be their community too.
All the intersections along Mowbray Road need to be considered individually and as a whole in light of the Up zoning of the Mowbray Precinct and the Upgrading of the school encompassing both sides of the street (Willoughby & Lane Cove Councils). There will be dramatic increases in vehicular traffic, pedestrian activity and demand for public transport. Each intersection needs to be designed and managed to work as smoothly and efficiently as possible for vehicles including buses, pedestrians and residents.
The location of Bus Zones at these intersections is of particular importance to my family as one is located outside our property. We experience difficulty accessing our property now as the bus blocks the driveway every time it stops. This often leaves us unable to exit or enterour property and will find that we are holding up traffic on Mowbray Road waiting to turn coming from either direction. With increased patronage of the bus services and the likelihood of extra services being added this will only further exacerbate the current problem.
SMEC’s Traffic Study has recommended turning bays be installed in the center of Mowbray Road into side streets. This would allow traffic to continue to flow along Mowbray Rd which would be beneficial and deter vehicles turning into back streets to avoid the traffic on Mowbray Rd. However the Bus Zone near Mooney St would need to be repositioned to allowthat traffic to continue along Mowbray Road and this is likely to be the situation at other intersections also.
Would this not then mean that the proposed Pedestrian Refuge Point west of Mooney St may not be optimally located to service the Bus Zone when it moves from its current position?
From my observations driving along Mowbray Rd the majority of Bus Zones on the southern Lane Cove Council side of Mowbray Rd are located where there is enough space between the driveway access to properties so as not to block access. However this is not the case on the northern Willoughby Council side of Mowbray Rd where Bus Zones often are located to block property access. It may be better to not have as many Bus Zones, have themnot located quite so close to intersections and position them where there is more space between driveway access to not obstruct properties.
The planners and architects working on the school upgrade are also looking at traffic management and pedestrian access in the vicinity with discussion of a Kiss and Drop outside the school along Mowbray Road and the installation of a round-about at Willandra St to allow traffic coming from the east to be able to drop children outside the school. Since the post Lane Cove Tunnel recommendations the SMEC Study proposes installationof traffic lights at Hatfield St and Mowbray Road to service the school and the Mowbray Precinct.
One intersection that appears to have been overlooked in the SMEC Study is Felton Ave as it does not service the Mowbray Precinct on Lane Cove Council side. It does however service numerous residents in Lane Cove North and the St Peter’s Green facility (Willoughby Council side). Currently there are traffic hold ups on Mowbray Road as cars wait to turn off into Felton Ave and with parked cars, a pedestrian refuge and two Bus Zones is a very busy intersection that also needs to be managed more effectively.
The intersection of Mowbray Road and Centennial Ave has needed a right hand turn arrow for motorists travelling east on Mowbray Rd turning into Centennial for many years. I generally take an alternate back street route so as to avoid trying to make the turn at the traffic lights as you either make the turn on the orange light or sit through a number of phases of the traffic lights. I’m sure many other motorists do the same as to turn at the lights is difficult if not dangerous.
My primary concern is the apparent piecemeal approach to the whole management of the traffic and pedestrian issues along Mowbray Road.. The problems that arise due to the number of parties involved, Lane Cove Council, Willoughby Council and now the Department of Education. The lack of community consultation for the residents of Lane Cove North in particular those on the northern Willoughby Council side of the street and adjoining streets. Having to be constantly proactive in seeking out information regarding my community. This should be readily and easily available to all, both Willoughby Council and Lane Cove Council residents.
I would like to know how access to my property moving forward is going to be improved not hindered? And with so many parties involved, where does the Lane Cove North community find answers to their questions and raise their concerns about the drastic changes going on in our neighbourhood which we have to endure on a daily basis?
These include incessant construction noise, noisy B-double trucks that queue on the street and arrive as early as 5am often parked in Bus Zones or across driveways, cement mixer trucks which also queue out on the street and are very noisy,regular traffic hold ups on Mowbray Road due to trucks ordigging up the road which often make it difficult to access my property, workers vehicles parked on Mowbray Rd and adjoining side streets making access and visibility difficult, vehicles parked in playgrounds and in nature reserves, vehicles making turns illegally at “No Right Hand Turn” signs, whole day power interruptions from 8am-4:30pm, Sydney Water digging up my driveway to install a manhole cover, unkempt worksites, rubbish being dumped, overgrown nature strips and damaged footpaths. These issues are only a part of the construction phase which is likely to go on for years. What about the impacts on the traffic and the community when the population starts to explode?
We need Traffic & Pedestrian measures in response to the huge changes thatwill be a direct result of the Up zoning of the Mowbray Precinct and the Upsizing of Mowbray Public School. We need a forum for the Lane Cove North community that transcends Council boundaries and Government Departments to be able to access information about all the development in our neighbourhood and to have some input into proposed changes. It seems a bit late now to be implementing changes based on studies carried out in relation to the Lane Cove Tunnel some 7 years ago! Lane Cove North Resident
Response from Willoughby Council
Thank you for your email and attachment outlining a need for consultation and input from the community north of the Mowbray Rd regarding proposed traffic management changes along Mowbray rd. Officers from Lane Cove have recently briefed officers from Willoughby Council and we are currently preparing a report to Council outlining how we will be engaging with the community regarding these proposed changes.
Your suggestion of a public meeting or forum or open day to present and discuss the findings from the study and the proposals has merit and we will consider that in the report to Council. Addressing the matter with as little reference to Local Government borders or departmental demarcation
to get the best result for all the community also has merit and hopefully is the approach we are already pursuing.
Steven Head, Director Infrastructure Services, Willoughby City Council