Controversial CBD Traffic Proposals

cbdTrafficCouncil is continuing looking at ways to improve pedestrian safety on streets within the CBD. However, a number of proposals being considered will have significant detrimental effect on residents surrounding the CBD.

The highest ranking proposal  (Option 3 – rank 1) is to convert the eastbound traffic lane on Victoria Avenue to a bus lane (buses, taxis, motorcycles, bicycles allowed) between Anderson St and Archer St.

Such a proposal ha significant implication for West Ward drivers. This route is used by drivers exiting Fullers Rd and heading Chatswood Chase or Penshurst St (to reach the city) and the East Chatswood Industrial Area including access to Bunnings, Pet Barn, the Good Guys, Repco and North Shore Timber. If Victoria Ave east is closed to general traffic it is likely that drivers will create an ‘informal Northern Bypass Rd’ using the ‘flower’ streets, predominantly Daisy Street, trying to make both left and right turns. It should also be noted that the Council Officer’s report recommends against progressing consideration of a Northern ByPass Road around the CBD.

Option 12 – rank 23 also specifically impacts on Fullers Rd drivers. The proposal is to close eastbound movements from the Pacific Highway and Fullers Rd into Help Street. This means that only left or right turns onto the Highway would be allowed from Fullers Rd. This option is ranked toward the end of the list of options being considered.

Option 13 – rank 25 proposes to restrict Centennial Avenue to left in/left out only. However, there are two sub-options:

1. Make Oliver Rd two-way and provide a full movements intersection at the Highway and Oliver Rd. This option would mean that to make a right onto the Highway you would need first to make a right from Centennial Ave into Whitton Rd across traffic turning left from the Highway into Centennial Rd.

2. Create a one way loop: this would allow right turns from the Highway into Centennial Ave. Cars seeking to get onto the Highway would use Oliver and Whitton as above.

Option 13 ranks last in the Officer’s Report.

Options 14 & 15 rank 18 consider the creation of a CBD Northern Bypass Road. However these options are ranked quite low by the Council Officers.

There other proposals being considered. These include:

Option 2 rank 9: Reallocate turn lanes and provide a right turn lane in Endeavour St on the approach to Anderson St.

Option 4 – rank 7: Convert kerbside parking on the northern side of Victoria Avenue to a taxi zone.

Option 5 – rank 3: Ban the right turn from Endeavour St to Anderson Street (except for bus and taxi).

Option 6 – rank 9: Provide non-invasive fencing on the southern side of Victoria Avenue between Anderson St and Archer St.

Option 8 rank 7: Increase the length of the right turn lane from Albert Ave into Archer St.

Option 9 – rank 15: Change lane allocation and add right turning land from Albert Ave to Archer St (north).

Option 11 – rank 18: Widen the Archer St approach to Boundary St.

Option 16 – rank 2: Review and revise Transport Interchange Infrastructure.

There has been considerable community comments about the operation of the Transport Interchange. A review of operations as outlined is long overdue and supported. Our Local State Member who is also the Minister of Transport should be continually lobbied on this matter.

Option 17 – rank 17: Increase the length of the right turn lane from Albert Ave to Victor St (southbound).

Option 18 – rank 14: Widen the westbound Albert Avenue approach to the Pacific Highway,

This option is wholeheartedly supported. RMS needs to be continually lobbied for funding.

Option 20 – 12: Close Orchard Rd south of Albert Avenue.

This option would have significant impact on drivers heading for Centennial Avenue and Fullers Rd from Orchard Rd. Orchard Rs provides a key link from traffic progressing north from Artarmon or Willoughby Rd. If Orchard Rd was closed as proposed, traffic wanting to turn left onto Albert Avenue would need to turn right into Johnson, left into Victor than left into Albert. This would have the flow on impact of restricting traffic proceeding north in Victor  St wishing to cross Albert.

 

 

 

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Walking Bus

WalkingBusStudents from Mowbray Public School recently participated in the Walk Safely to School Day. Students from the school formed three ‘walking buses’ – a group of students with an adult who walk from their homes to school. Over 300 students were involved. Students from the school have been participating in the ‘walking bus’ scheme for many years.

Another suspect VPA?

Freeman DACouncil has received another Planning Proposal that seeks approval for development way over and above what is allowed in Council’s Local Environment Plan (LEP).

The proposed development on the Pacific Highway between Oliver and Freeman Roads seeks to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with retail at street level with offices above and two residential towers (one 7 storeys – 28m and one 10 storeys = 35m) with a Floor Space Ratio (FSR) of 3.05:1.

Under the adopted LEP the maximum allowable height is 18m (5/6 storeys) with a of FSR of 2:1 whereas the FSR proposed nearly 3:1 (50% more than allowable).

It should also be recalled that this site is part of the infamous ‘Locality J’, an area that was investigated by an independent assessor some years ago and recommended for 5/6 storey apartments.

The proposal is significantly above the current allowable so the proponent is proposing a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA). The VPA proposes that the proponent would provide local road widening in Freeman and Oliver Rds. Looking at the plans it appears that the proponent would need to rely on these road widenings as part of the development as the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) will not allow direct entry/egress on the Pacific Highway. So the VPA is ingenuous and misleading.

All in all, the local communities’ feelings about this proposal is that it should be refused.

‘Gateway’ Process Review

BPNThe Better Planning Network has welcomed NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward’s move to re-consider the pre-gateway review process introduced in 2012 by former Planning Minister Brad Hazzard.

‘Pre-gateway reviews allow developers disenchanted with Local Councils’ refusal to rezone their land to pay for a review of this decision through the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.’ said Corinne Fisher. of BPN. ‘This has led to haphazard planning and is inherently unfair in that it provides big developers with backdoor access to approvals for developments opposed by Local Councils and communities. Pre-gateway reviews have angered communities across the state.’ said Corinne Fisher.

‘We welcome Minister’s Goward’s decision to review the pre-gateway process. However, we are apprehensive as to how such a review will take place, what will be its purpose and terms of reference, whether it will involve opportunities for consultation and who will undertake it.’

‘We also call for all applications for pre-gateway reviews to be put on hold pending the findings of the review’. ‘We stand ready to meet with the Government and assist where we can to help restore public confidence to our planning system.’

‘Forcing planning changes on communities, such as through pre-gateway reviews, further alienates the public and damages public trust in our planning system. It’s time for all parties, including industry, to sit down together and start a genuine dialogue about where we go from here.’

More homes needed

High density housing demand continues to grow

High density housing demand continues to grow

The State Government has recently released figures predicting that an additional 600,000 homes will be needed in the next 20 years to accommodate an additional 1.6 million people. BY 2031 the state’s population is expected to reach 9.2 million (up from the current 7.2 million). The majority of this growth will be in Sydney.

The most common form of housing that will be required is for 1 and 2 bedroom apartments accommodating single-person households.

These growth rates will create increasing pressure on the State’s planning legislation. Developers will likely increase their lobbying for simplified (read de-regulated) planning laws. More low-rise areas are likely to be affected with the growing demand for higher density dwellings.

Bus stop shelters

Bus stop shelter (indicative only)
Bus stop shelter (indicative only)

Willoughby Council has let a new contract to replace the existing bus stop shelters. All bus shelters in Willoughby will be replaced throughout 2014.

The shelter replacement will see all bus shelters in Willoughby replaced with new, improved infrastructure. During the replacement process the safety and functionality of the existing street furniture will be assessed, with improvements made where required.

A phased rollout will take place across Willoughby from May to September. A list of scheduled and completed works will be available during the process.

 

Offices Return

Chatswood offices

There has been significant growth in demand for office space in Chatswood pushing the vacancy rate down. Part of the demand has been generated from the conversion of North Sydney commercial buildings to residential. Some North Sydney firms have moved to Chatswood as a consequence.

Demand is also being fuelled by the start of construction of the North West Rail Link.