Newsletter 57 – Cars and People
- Posted by IanMuttonAdmin
- On April 24, 2023
- north sydney, roads
All Roads lead to North Sydney – and that’s a big problem
The potential for the Northern Beaches to develop has been present in the minds of planners for a century or more. The failure, the concerns identified by the planners have simply not been addressed.
Moving people to and from the Northern Beaches has always been a challenge simply because Middle Harbour needed to be bridged.
- In 1915 Bradfield proposed a train line to Manly and on to Newport.
- In 1924 Manly Council decided not to wait for the train and built the first of the bridges across the Spit at Middle Harbour.
- In 1951 the County of Cumberland planners saw the growth potential and provided for a freeway from the Harbour Bridge through Castlecrag to Seaforth linking with the Wakehurst Parkway.
- In 1978 the first stage of the County of Cumberland freeway, the Warringah Freeway, between the Harbour Bridge to Chandos Street was opened – the next stage simply was not built (the Gore Hill freeway when added simply veered off to the Pacific Highway).
- The Beaches’ Tunnel, now “abandoned”, was another attempt to connect through to Seaforth and, with it, an opportunity to limit the flow of traffic over the Spit Bridge and on to Military Road.
Now we still don’t have Bradfield’s train line, so it’s left to Spit Bridge to funnel around 69,500 vehicles and 34,000 bus passengers each day into and out of North Sydney. That is the data from last year as Transport for New South Wales has removed the traffic counters form Spit Bridge – that’s one way of solving the problem.
With development on the Northern Beaches and their hinterlands going ahead at a staggering pace, traffic volumes over Spit Bridge will increase and that has huge ramifications for North Sydney.
As Military Road fails to cope, the immediate challenge will be to protect our suburban streets that run parallel to Military Road from becoming “rat runs” – think about
- Belgrave and Macpherson streets and Ourimbah Road and
- Rangers Road through to Kurraba Road.
An added problem – Military Road and Pacific Highway traffic will have to circle North Sydney’s CBD as it makes its way onto and from the Warringah freeway – just think about the congestion that will result.
The longer-term challenge is to define and adopt policies that protect against gridlocked traffic – here North Sydney Council seems a bit schizophrenic. In the:
- East, it’s favouring cars over pedestrians, it decided to take the Young Street Plaza at Neutral Bay away from pedestrians and give it over to cars and is looking at plans that add more parking at Neutral Bay “village”.
- West it’s looking to restrict the number of parking spaces in new developments in some areas to, in broad terms, one space for every 4 apartments. Inevitably this will lead to:
◦ On-street parking becoming relatively more sarce and
◦ Isolating people by discouraging visitors.
Perhaps we should look to the City of Sydney for inspiration given its tremendous achievements in reintroducing pedestrians to the city – for starters think George (most traffic removed and wonderful lighting), Loftus Lane (a mosaic of cafes) and Circular Quay.
Tell me your thoughts on how best to deal with the traffic congestion and make our streets more welcoming to people on foot – write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org