Pacific Highway Streetscape

streetscape

Purpose of Report
Councillor Saville has indicated her intention to resubmit for Councils consideration the
Notice of Motion that she moved at the Council Meeting on 24 February, 2014. The terms of the Motion now resubmitted are as follows:

 

Motion
“THAT Willoughby City Council develops a strategy for, and provides funding to improve the amenity, streetscapes and footpaths, with tree planting and vegetation, within WCC, along Pacific Highway between Boundary Road and St. Leonards.”

Background
The intent of the motion is to progress and consolidate previous plans for street tree planting within WCC (previously Mr Jeff Organ was officer in charge) particularly along the Pacific Highway.

We as a council need to consider the presentation of the CBD along the Pacific Highway, to visitors as well as residents. The Pacific Highway needs visual improvement, to better present the CBD, and at the same time, provide shade, cooling, amenity and water retention. For a variety of reasons, areas of footpath and nature strip along the Pacific Highway have not been upgraded for many years, such as near the Seymour building, near the garage at the corner of Boundary Street and opposite Chatswood Primary School. There are sections of the Pacific Highway devoid of vegetation, other sections with few trees, and/or with little or no nature strip.

Trees and planting along the verge would provide shade, reduce sun exposure, and encourage more people to walk, by improving the amenity.

The motion recognises that it is time to develop a consistent approach to the Pacific
Highway streetscape.

It proposes that as a priority the section of the Pacific Highway footpath between Fullers Road and Mowbray Road (both sides) be upgraded, consistent with the plantings on the east side of the Highway near Brown Street.

Furthermore, the planting of appropriate trees and understorey would reduce heat island effect, cooling the walkways, and improving conditions to encourage people to walk.

Increased soft landscape along the highway would provide more opportunity for water retention, reducing runoff.

In summary, the intent of the motion is to improve amenity of the highway with consideration of:

• presentation of the CBD
• amenity
• shade
• encourage walkability
• temperature control
• water retention

Acting General Manager’s Comments
At the time of the original Notice of Motion, the General Managers comments were that, prior to committing funding, a report on options should be considered by Council and the Officers recommendation was:
“That a report be prepared outlining costs and options for implementation of a streetscape improvement program for the Pacific Highway.”

Council adopted the Officers recommendation.

In April 2014 a report was presented to Council as follows:

Discussion
The length of the Pacific Highway within the Willoughby City Council local government area boundary is 5.5 kilometres. The highway is a State Road and is maintained from kerb to kerb by the NSW Government / Roads and Maritime Services. Over half of this highway length (3.5 kms) borders with Lane Cove Council (from Mowbray Road to St Leonards).

The responsibility for the footpaths, verges and any street trees remains with the relevant Council. On sections of the Highway where overhead power lines exist, Ausgrid have taken responsibility for the pruning / removal of trees affecting the electricity grid.

Conclusion
Given the extent and scope of the work outlined in the Council resolution, it is recommended that the work be subject to the engagement of a suitably qualified landscape architect/ urban designer as currently Council does not have the available resources to complete such a report.

OFFICERS RECOMMENDATION
“That funds of $25,000 be considered in the draft 2014/15 Council budget to engage a suitably qualified urban landscape professional to undertake site analysis, concept options and costings for streetscape improvements for the Pacific Highway within the Willoughby City Council LGA.”

The Council did not adopt the Officers recommendation. The following Motion was put but was however Lost and so no further action was taken with the matter.

That funds of $25,000 be considered in the draft 2014/15 Council budget to engage a suitably qualified urban landscape professional to undertake site analysis, concept options and costings for staged streetscape improvements for the Pacific Highway within the Willoughby City Council LGA.

MOVED COUNCILLOR SAVILLE
SECONDED COUNCILLOR SLOANE
LOST

Voting
For the Resolution: Councillors Saville, Norton and Sloane.
Against: Councillors Rozos, Eriksson, Mustaca, Giles-Gidney, Rutherford and
Hooper.”

The budget for 2014/2015 has now been adopted and no funding for such a project as proposed in the resubmitted Notice of Motion has been provided for.

The Chatswood CBD Urban Design Study is to be reported to Council later this year. That report is expected to contain recommendations about urban design streetscape improvements to Pacific Highway as it adjoins the Chatswood CBD and in the context of the Chatswood Urban Design plan. The improvements however are limited to a lesser area than that contemplated in the resubmitted Notice of Motion which refers to the entire length of the Highway from Boundary St to St. Leonards.

The project was not raised at the Councillors Workshop on the 19th July as an initiative that
should be undertaken.

On that basis I recommend that no further action be taken on this proposal until such time as the Councillors review the adopted priorities.

If Council believes that the project is still warranted having regard to the priorities already agreed at the Councillors Workshop, then the following recommendation might be considered.

That funds of $30,000 be considered in the draft 2015/16 Council budget for a suitably qualified urban landscape professional to be engaged to undertake site analysis, concept options and costings for staged streetscape improvements for the Pacific Highway within the Willoughby City Council LGA.

OFFICERS RECOMMENDATION
That Council consider the Motion of Councillor Saville for a strategy and funding for improvements along the Pacific Highway between Boundary Street and St Leonards.

CBD Open Space

cbdopenspace

Purpose of Report

A Notice of Motion was presented to Council by Councillor L Saville at its meeting of 4 November 2013. This Report responds to that Notice of Motion.

 Background

Council resolved on 4 November:

That Willoughby City Council:

1. Notes with concern that over the last decade the amount of public open space held by local councils across NSW is reported to have fallen by 18.3%

2. That a report is provided by staff which includes quantification of the amount of open space per head in the CBD currently available and compared with data previously 
provided in WCC S94 Plan

Discussion
The 1996 s94 Contributions Plan said: “There is currently 6.61ha of open space currently being used by residents and workers within the Chatswood City Centre Open Space Catchment area. This is equivalent to 3.10 m² of open space per combined resident, commercial and retail workers”. “It is anticipated that the amount of open space land per person will fall from 3.10 m² in 1996 to 2.09 m² by the year 2006 if the forecast population increase is realised.”

The s94 contributions plan did not provide detail as to the source of the figure for the amount of open space. The combined resident and worker population in 1996 was estimated to be 21,981. Using the open space figure of 66,100sqm and total resident/worker population the amount of open space was 3.10 m²/person. The current (2014) resident population of Chatswood is estimated to be 7538 persons and the worker population is estimated to be 23,208 giving a total population of 30,746 persons. The total current amount of open space for the CBD is estimated currently to be 108,068 m² (10.8ha). This amount represents an amount of open space of 3.5 m² /person. The quantum of open space per person is not a good measure as to whether the recreational needs of residents or workers are being met. The type, quality, access and associated facilities also are factors in determining whether the open space is satisfactory and appropriate. There may also be cultural and demographic (particularly age) determinants for the value of open space to a local population.

Since 1996 the main additions to open space in the CBD have been:

a) The Concourse;

b) The O‟Brien Street to Cambridge Lane pedestrian link;

c) The open space in Victoria Avenue/ Katherine Street adjoining the Bentleigh building;

d) The space surrounding the significant tree adjoining the Police Station;

e) The corridor adjoining Chatswood Chase in Havilah Street.

f) The Open Space associated with the Pacific Place Development in Railway Street.

Changes have included the rebuilding of the Interchange site, upgrades to Currey Park, improvements to the Mall, improvements to Chatswood Park / skateboard park, modification to the public precinct at 465 Railway Street and the improvements to the plaza at the front of the Zenith buildings

Planned open space not included in the open space figures above include the Thomas Street (Meriton) open space plaza, the forecourt open space on the Albert/ Archer site and closure of Spring St.

The Department of Planning Recreation and Open Space Guidelines for Local Government (December 2010) includes the following statements about “default” standards for the provision of open space:

4.2 „Default‟ and locally appropriate provision standards. The most basic way to identify need is via general provision rates of open space and recreation facilities from elsewhere. These standards should only be a starting reference point; over reliance on such standards in lieu of rigorous and consultative research into the community‟s requirements may produce unsatisfactory results in terms of rates of provision and the location of open space.

In NSW the „fixed‟ standard of 2.83 ha of open space per 1,000 people has often been applied. This is derived from the British seven acres per 1,000 residents standard from the early 1900s which is irrelevant to contemporary planning and ignores the fact that open space of different types needs to be provided to accommodate different needs.

The simple fixed, quantitative standard is also irrelevant given observed rates of provision in the different parts of metropolitan Sydney. About five percent of inner urban Sydney is classified as open space. If the 2.83 ha per 1,000 people standard was applied about 16 percent of the area would be devoted to open space. The reality is that the residents of inner urban Sydney have access to a range of recreational and leisure opportunities that the existing open space assets (including high quality urban public spaces and harbour and beach foreshores) manage to deliver (though there 
may be some pressure on outdoor sports areas).

It should be noted that the Department of Planning guidelines referred to above do not 
include provision for worker open space.

OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION

That Council consider the response to Clr Saville’s Notice of Motion – Open Space.

Traffic Hotspots

Hotspot

Following the development of a prioritisation process, Council staff have compiled a list of traffic matters / proposals that have been subsequently assessed and scored. The
hotspots existing list is not exhaustive and other measures or actions may be added in response to Councillor feedback and as new issues are raised by the community.

Hotspots that will be addressed in the next year are:

1. Spring Street closure (including replacement of pedestrian refuge with pedestrian
crossing in Spring Street) – $181,500
2. Frenchs Road at Alpha Street – ban right turn (following community liaison) – $500
3. High Street, near Oakville Road (raised crossing) – $20,000
4. Mowbray Road, east of Felton Avenue– convert existing pedestrian refuge – $5000
5. North Willoughby – Review of LATM study – $35,000

Projects completed in 2013/14
In 2013/14 the following projects on the Hotspots list were completed:
– Traffic Signals at Mowbray Road and Beaconsfield Road
– Installation of 6 pedestrian refuges on Mowbray Road West by Lane Cove Council
– Speed cushions on Victoria Avenue on the approach to the Stanley Street pedestrian
crossing
– On Mowbray Road at Hampden Road an extended median and STOP restriction
were introduced
– Painted chevron lines on Archer Street and a Give Way restriction was installed on
William Street to improve sight distance and reduce turning/cross traffic accidents
– A Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan was prepared for the Chatswood CBD area.
Reporting to Council in regard to this study will be completed in the coming month
– A traffic study reviewing the impacts of the Mowbray Road/Beaconsfield Road traffic
signals and the traffic recommendations associated with rezoning of land on the Lane
Cove side of Mowbray Road. Reporting to Council in regard to this study will be
completed in the coming month
– Fullers Road, between James Street and Greville Street – reduction to One Lane
westbound with turning bays
– On Centennial Avenue – a 2 lane speed hump was installed west of Jenkins Street
– On Herbert Street at Ella Street the centre line was remarked and raised reflective
pavement markers introduced on the bend to the east of the intersection to improve
delineation and reduce the run off road crash rate.

Highest Ranked projects and funding levels
Based upon the ranking database the following are the projects that are the most highly
ranked within the current Hotspots list:
1. Victoria Avenue, convert eastbound lane to bus lane
2. Spring Street, road closure at Victoria Avenue
3. Eastern Valley Way / Edinburgh Road – right turn phase
4. Mowbray Road at Centennial Avenue – right turn phase ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING
5. Mowbray Road at Sydney Street – monitoring after introduction of filter turn ban in
November 2010
6. Archer Street / Ashley Street – ban southbound right turns (buses excepted). RMS
has to date opposed this work
7. Herbert Street / Ella Street – non skid surface treatment on Herbert Street
8. Alpha Road / Frenchs Road – ban right turn out of Frenchs Road and reduce speed
limit on Alpha Road
9. Brook Street / Merrenburn Avenue – median along length of Brook Street. (Most
recent data shows a reduction in crashes – monitor only)
10. High Street, near Oakville Road – speed cushions or raised pedestrian crossing
11. Mowbray Road east of Felton Road – convert existing refuge to match others and
improve bicycle and bus access
12. North Willoughby – review of 2008 LATM study
13. Archer Street south of Boundary Street – widen for northbound bus lane and extra
capacity
14. Alpha Road / Frenchs Road – traffic signals with right turn and pedestrian phases
15. Albert Avenue / Albert Lane – Left Turn Only out of Albert Lane (will be implemented
once Meriton development completed)
16. Victoria Avenue, east of Anderson Street – convert indented parking to Taxi Zone (in
conjunction with Victoria Avenue bus lane)
17. Archer Street at Waratah and William – No Stopping signs
18. Oliver Street at Pacific Highway – widen Oliver Street for 2 way access/restrict
Centennial Avenue to left in/left out
19. Clanwilliam Street / Penshurst Street – No Right Turn 6am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm
Mon-Fri
20. Mowbray Road West at Bowen Street – ban right turn into Bowen Street

Delhi Rd Commuter Carpark?

DelhiRdPresident Jim McCredie writes: I recall you advocated building a commuter parking station at the Delhi Road railway station. I noted in the last few days a survey of railway users placed lack of commuter parking at stations was the second highest complaint about the northern suburbs rail system (after concern about personal safety at night).
Today’s NSW Government Notice Board announces a DA for:
“North Ryde Station Urban Activation Precinct”, located in the triangle between Delhi Road, Epping Road, an d the M2 Motorway.
This area will be subdivided into 13 development sites, 4 public open space lots,
 2 public road lots, and a new pedestrian/cycle bridged over Delhi Road.
The DA applicant is UrbanGrowth NSW, a state government corporation, criticised by Better Planning Network, which has just released a critical email about the capacity of UrbanGrowth on other projects.A Copy of email will be forwarded.
This land was the terminal of the second stage of the F3 Freeway, which was to run from the completed first stage at Fig Tree Bridge along the west side of the Lane Cove estuary and then  parallel to Pittwater Road to Epping Road. Wran abandoned this stage to fund the F3 Freeway north of the Hawkesbury. Carr turned some other portions of the F3 alignment over to Lane Cove National Park, but this bit was not, because of its proximity to the Delhi Road rail station.

Sydney Water Breakthru

SydneyWaterWilloughby City Council is a signatory to a new memorandum of understanding with Sydney Water which aims to improve the time, cost and quality aspects of road reserve restoration work.

Reactive and planned repairs and upgrades on Sydney Water’s underground water and sewerage infrastructure can often affect public roads and footpaths, causing disruptions and hazards for residents. Under the new memorandum of understanding, the time taken to repair roads and footpaths after necessary works will be drastically reduced, even halved, and the quality of the repairs will need to meet strict standards, reducing future maintenance and repair requirements.

Willoughby is one of 42 councils that have signed the landmark agreement.

“I hope that by signing this agreement, the frustrations and disruptions that accompany road and footpath repairs will be minimised. We should see road reserve restorations completed within 90 days of Sydney Water’s works being completed which, in many cases, will be a vast improvement for the amenity of our residents,” said Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney.

“The memorandum of understanding commits Willoughby Council and Sydney Water to agreed timeframes, quality specifications and ongoing management practices for road and footpath restoration,” said Mayor Gail.

The agreement should also improve accountability as the roles and responsibilities of councils and Sydney Water have been more clearly outlined. A software system is also being developed to enable the electronic tracking of repair works.

The population converstation

8 billion people

8 billion people

The following article has been submitted by President Jim McCredie based on his notes taken at a recent seminar:

On 10 July Council arranged a two hour meeting on population growth, with several speakers leading up to Council’s Environmental Director, Greg Woodhams, who provided future population milestones set by NSW Planning Department for Willoughby.

About 200 years ago, Rev Thomas Malthus predicted that population would growth would accelerate exponentially, while food production would increase at a constant rate. There would be other factors such as weather,  which would put limits to growth of agriculture and commodities. His pessimism was widely opposed, and proved inadequate by the opening of new crop lands in America, Australia and South Africa, and improvements in supply of fertiliser & water for many decades.

Improvements in production efficiency by a few inventors compounded with open markets to boost individual national wealth.  The industrial revolution and improved sanitation led to a drop in infant death rate while the birth rate remained at high pre-industrial levels. The population pressures in Europe caused dramatic population outflows into other continents.

World population is recorded on the website www.census.gov   World population  milestones already passed  are:  1billion 1804;  2 billion 1927;  3 billion 1960;.  7 billion 2011. Several developed countries have reduced their birth rates to below the stable rate of 2.1 children per woman.

Russian population 2009 142million; 2023 125 million;  2050 100 million.

Australia has one of the fastest population growth rates in the developed world, and will reach 35.9 million in 2050. Global population is forecast to peak and stabilise at 9.6 billion in2050.

How will this population be distributed geographically? About 80% will live in cities; Sydney and Melbourne will house about  six million each.

The introduction of computers permitted a few software writers to use models of dynamic systems to forecast future events. Using “Dynamo”  software, Jay Forrester developed “industrial dynamics”, then “urban dynamics”, and finally “World Dynamics”. Another group of scientists, meeting in Rome, were concerned that resource limits could lead to a dramatic crash of the world economy and population. They adapted the Dynamo program to later generation “Stella” software , and produced the “World 3” model.   Their report, “LIMITS TO GROWTH” by the “Club of Rome” helped trigger the environment debate, and raised the priority of resource management. In 2004,  the group produced another report, “Limits to Growth – the 30 year update”. They envisaged ten alternative scenarios, in which a variety of stabilising measures were adopted to end population growth, with varying success in maintaining human and economic welfare.

The Club of Rome helped publicise scenario planning as a way of thinking about the future. Scenarios are not predictions, but a speculation on what could happen. At the “Population Conversation”, Dr. Keith Suter presented TWO SCENARIOS  ON PEOPLE, PROSPERITY, AND PLANET EARTH.

SCENARIO  ONE: “ MALTHUS WAS RIGHT: WE’RE DOOMED!”

No political action – Leave it to the market.

Resource scientists speculate about “Peak Oil”, “Peak Fish”, “Peak Water”, climate change, and the impact of the growing population. Bureaucrats talk of “Industrial Mobilisation”, but lack power.

Politicians fail to pass climate change legislation, think alarmists have proved wrong in the past.

In the USA, the Pentagon is preparing for civil order breakdown, while extreme fundamentalist religious groups await the Messiah’s arrival, and the end of the world. The general public is fatigued with bad news from shock jocks, and is only able to make individual responses.

SCENARIO TWO – “THE BLUE PLANET”   www.blueeconomy.eu

Most of the earth’s surface is water, which receives and processes waste. Industrial opportunities exist in waste recycling, as satellite businesses around big  corporations.  Local economic changes don’t need tardy government authorisation and budget related timing of funding. The pricing system will be mobilised to end subsidies for harmful practices, substituting congestion pricing, rapid transport systems, and alternative energy sources.

The next speaker said Australia’s population was headed towards 40 million, and we were feeding about 70 million, mostly in the middle east.  He noted the thinness of Australian topsoils for long term sustainability, compared to the USA;  the long term “carrying capacity” of Australia’s soils was between six and twelve million. [I recall, back I the 1950’s Professor Baxter who set up the University of NSW talked of “lifeboat Australia”. Baxter said the optimum population for Australia was about 6 million; but he claimed it would take a population of 20 million to stop population growth!]

He noted a major planning failure, the allowing of alienation of prime agricultural land for housing along roads created and existing to service farms. He also opposed the habit of extending the suburban perimeter along dead end roads along bushland ridge crests, resulting in catastrophic bushfire risk. [ This is a typical pattern in West Ward.]

The final speaker was Greg Woodhams, Council’s Environment Services Director. He gave a Power Point presentation. This table showed the government objectives for Chatswood CBD at 20 year intervals, for population, dwellings, and jobs.

Year 1991 2011 2031
People 51,000 70,000 90,000
Dwellings 20,500 28,000 37,700
Jobs 50,000 64,000 80,000

1,000 additional residents per year

500 additional dwellings per year

800 additional jobs per year

The dwelling building requirement was being achieved by the residential towers in the CBD, but there was no comparable building of commercial office floor areas to meet the jobs target. There is a lack of suitable size blocks for new office buildings; and developers get a better return from residential towers rather than from offices.

Commuting is hampered by traffic delays, inadequate interchange bus bays, and narrow train platforms. Since about 80% of resident workers commute out of Chatswood, and about 80% of the workforce commutes in, and at least 45% of commuters use cars, new long stay off-street parking spaces for another 600 cars will have to be found each year! This makes no allowance for additional clients and customers of the additional workforce, of order 200 extra short-stay spaces every year.]

Willoughby local population pressures are explored in the long term Willoughby Strategy, developed from community participation.

  • State Government targets (above) to increase dwelling numbers
  • Compact city or urban sprawl at the metro edge
  • Transport to jobs, shopping, schools, leisure
  • Restoration of bushland and creek ecosystems
  • Demand for schools
  • Demand for recreation facilities
  • Household waste disposal
  • Multicultural diversity
  • More residents over 65 and under 10
  • Demand for energy and water
  • Maintaining our support infrastructure
  • Resistance to higher residential densities

What’s needed for our new population:

  • New High School, new Primary School
  • Less journey to work by car
  • Off-street car parking
  • Seniors housing
  • Child Care centres
  • Sporting facilities
  • Energy and water efficient buildings
  • Bushland and creeks protected
  • New Bus interchange/ additional bus services
  • Economic growth for jobs
  • Places for health and wellbeing
  • Affordable housing for essential workers.

The speakers did not address why Willoughby should have the specific targets given in Mr. Woodham’s power point, i.e. the distribution between  local government areas, and between suburbs within each local government area. They did not refer to work by consultants Arup (for NSW Planning) in 2012 on four alternative future scenarios for Sydney, with a diversity of population distributions and local high density peaks, distributed by suburb. Chatswood appears to have an exceptionally wide variation of development between these scenarios. It is probable that the Arup study underlies targets handed down through the Sydney Metro plan and imminent sub-regional plans.

Interesting references:

Limits to Growth – the30 year update, by Donella and Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers, 2004; Earthscan

Overloading Australia – How governments and media dither and deny on population, by Mark O’Connor and William Lines, 2008; envirobook

On Borrowed Time – Australia’s environmental crisis, by David Lindenmayer, 2007; CSIRO/Penguin

 

New vegetation clearing legislation

vegetation clearing
Councillor Saville has posed the following questions to Council:
Can you please outline the implications of the new 10/50 vegetation clearing legislation within the WCC?
Can you please identify the 10/50 clearing areas within WCC?
To what extent will the 10/50 have implications for tree preservation on private land, if landowners will now be able to remove trees within 10m of their dwelling without Council consent?
What does this mean for critically endangered  Blue Gum High Forest remnants in Chatswood?
I understand, that in addition there is the potential for the RFS to require Council to clear trees and shrubs in reserves for up to 10 metres from dwellings (trees) and up to 50 metres from dwellings (shrubs). Can you comment please?
There may be extreme consequences for our bushland as many of the reserves are less than 100 metres in width and surrounded by houses on both sides http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/general-news/1050-vegetation-clearing
Perhaps we could propose that LGA lobby to change the impact in Metro areas?
Please include this matter on the next NHBAC agenda.