Action for Public Transport (N.S.W.) Inc.
|P O Box K606|
|Haymarket NSW 1240|
|12 May 2017|
Action for Public Transport (NSW) is a transport advocacy group active in Sydney since 1974. We promote the interests of beneficiaries of public transport; both passengers, and the wider community. We make this submission on the Review of Environmental Factors dated March 2017 entitled "Macquarie Park Bus Priority and Capacity Improvement Project".
It is pleasing to note the increased use of high entry angle slip lanes at major intersections in the area. The curved slip lane is an anachronism from the 1960s.
The writer has had considerable exposure to congestion in the study area, having worked at Optus for 6 months in 2008 and having visited the area on many other occasions. It seems fair to describe Macquarie Park as having Sydney's worst peak-hour congestion. Main roads in every direction are at a near-standstill in both morning and afternoon peaks. The railway opening in 2009 did disappointingly little for this congestion, although the simultaneous withdrawal of most of the Optus buses no doubt increased car traffic around the area and may have countered the railway's direct effect.
It would nevertheless be prudent to assume that closing the railway without adequate and efficient replacement buses could be disastrous for traffic. Yet we see that the trains (4 each way per hour for each of about 20 hours per day, i.e. 80 trains each way or 160 trains altogether) are to be replaced by only 300 bus services. It seems extraordinary that only the minimal Herring Road changes are to be implemented in time for the ECR closure. Figure 3-14 (page 73) in the R.E.F. shows the limited scope of these changes. That observation stands even though only some of the 300 buses use Herring Road at all.
Unfortunately, the replacement bus service as such does not come within the scope of this project. However, it is essential that reasonable steps be taken to give the displaced train passengers as good a trip as reasonably possible. We think that the project should be telescoped to have all the proposed adjustments in place by the time the ECR closes, i.e. by about August 2018.
This means that all the Waterloo Road and Lane Cove Road changes should be implemented by late 2018. Anything less might result in the whole area being gridlocked for several hours each weekday. We recommend there should be a well-publicised contingency plan in place to remove all car parking from Waterloo Road, simultaneously amplifying the bus service as necessary. We also think a worthwhile bus service should be provided along Lane Cove Road. Perhaps cordon tolls should be considered.