Sydney Park Junction submission
Thanks to Erskineville local Dr Chris Standen for this excellent submission on the Sydney Park Junction improvements. This will form the basis for FoE’s own submission. Submissions are due by 4/10/2021. Head to https://caportal.com.au/tfnsw/Sydney-Park-Junction for more details and to make your own submission.
Sydney Park Junction
Walking, cycling and public domain improvements
Review of environmental factors (REF)
1) Overall, I support the proposed Sydney Park Junction improvements.
2) I commend Transport for NSW, City of Sydney and Inner West Council for such a well-conceived proposal. The project will be of enormous benefit to the community; however, there are many aspects that could be improved, as outlined below.
3) I also commend Transport for NSW for the Virtual Information Centre, which communicates the proposed changes very effectively.
Ambient air pollution exposure
4) The proposed bus shelter on the northern side of Sydney Park Road at Mitchell Road is too close to the kerbside traffic lane. This traffic lane will store motor vehicles waiting at the intersection. The idling engines will emit diesel and petrol smoke, with no traffic movement at times to help disperse it. People waiting at the bus stop, including children, would therefore be exposed to harmful concentrations of diesel and petrol smoke. The bus stop must either be set back further from the traffic lane, or configured as a bus bay instead of in-lane. Orienting the shelter so the glass in between people and the traffic lanes would also help to reduce exposure.1
5) Outdoor dining areas should not be located next to the kerb/traffic lanes, where diners, including children, will be exposed to high concentrations of diesel and petrol smoke, as well as tyre, brake and clutch dust and other particulates resuspended from the road surface by traffic.
6) The Traffic and Transport Assessment (Appendix C) includes modelling of motor vehicle level of service/delay at intersections, but no modelling of pedestrian and bicycle level of service/delay. This is an inexcusable and unprofessional omission, given the objective of the project is to improve walking/cycling movement and connectivity.
7) Given the project objectives, walking/cycling level of service at all intersections/crossings must be at least as good as that for motor vehicle traffic. Because there is no modelling of pedestrian and bicycle level of service/delay in the REF, it is difficult to say if this objective will be achieved. I expect it will not be achieved if Transport for NSW’s standard design practices/guides – which prioritise vehicle movement over people movement – are followed. Therefore, please consider measures to optimise pedestrian and bicycle level of service in the intersection/signal design, e.g.:
a) Instant green on demand for pedestrians/bicycles at mid-block crossings, with induction loop detectors for bicycles/wheelchairs/mobility scooters and fully accessible push buttons.
b) Automatic green for pedestrians/bicycles at all signalised intersections (i.e., no need to press a ‘beg button’).
c) Scramble crossing at Sydney Park Road/Mitchell Road intersection, so that people making a diagonal movement through the intersection do not have to wait for two successive signals on two arms of the intersection.
d) Reconfigure the Sydney Park Road/Mitchell Road intersection as a roundabout with pedestrian/bicycle priority on all arms (also known as a protected or ‘Dutch-style roundabout” – see Figure 1). This would eliminate intersection delay for pedestrians and bicycles.
Figure 1: Protected roundabout
The above improvements would have the added benefit of reducing the effective road capacity and therefore traffic volume2 and associated impacts – consistent with the project objectives, and state and local government priorities and strategies.
8) The proposed traffic signals at the Barwon Park Rd/King St intersection will create additional delay/inconvenience for pedestrians, which is inconsistent with project objectives (improve walking movement and connectivity).
a) Consider using the same treatment here as proposed for the May St/King St intersection, i.e., left-in/left-out with a priority pedestrian and bicycle crossing.
9) I support the removal of slip lanes.
10) I support repurposing public street space from private vehicle storage to public/community use, noting that there is an oversupply of off-street parking in the area (177 spaces within 3 km of Sydney Park Junction listed on spacer.com.au alone on 10/09/2021).
11) The on-street parking on Sydney Park Road should be moved from the southern side to the northern side.
a) This would create a buffer space between the bicycle path and the traffic lanes, improving cycling amenity and reducing exposure to noise, diesel and petrol smoke, and dust/soot resuspended from the road surface by traffic.
b) This would also reduce noise pollution exposure for people living in the apartments on the north side of Sydney Park Road.
12) I support the reduction of the posted speed to 40 km/h. This will not only improve safety – it will also significantly reduce noise pollution exposure and sleep disturbance for people living close to the road corridor.
13) To ensure these safety and noise reduction benefits are fully realised, the design speed should be reduced to match the posted speed.
14) I would support a further reduction in the posted/design speed to 30 km/h. This would result in further safety and noise reduction benefits.
a) A 30 km/h posted/design speed would be especially appropriate where there is on-street parking, and children getting in/out of a right-side passenger door next to the traffic lane.
15) I fully support the proposed bicycle paths. In combination with other existing and planned low-stress links in the bicycle network, these will give more people of all ages more opportunities to access local destinations, including schools and train stations, using an affordable, efficient, low-stress, healthy, safe and quiet mode of transport.3
16) I support reducing the number of traffic lanes on Sydney Park Road, King Street and Princes Highway. According to the fundamental laws of traffic supply and demand,2 the reduction in road capacity will result in a reduction in motor vehicle traffic and associated traffic impacts – consistent with the project objectives, and state and local government priorities and strategies.
a) For the same reasons, I would support further reductions in traffic capacity, for example, repurposing one general traffic lane in each direction on King St and Princes Highway for bus only lanes.
17) I support the right turn restriction from Mitchell Road to Sydney Park Road, the replacement of the traffic signals at May St with a pedestrian and bicycle crossing, and the associated right turn restriction from King St to May St. These improvements will:
a) help to reduce traffic volumes and associated impacts on Mitchell Road, Sydney Park Road and King St/Princes Highway; and
b) make driving less attractive/convenient, relative to walking/cycling, for local trips – resulting in a mode shift from driving to walking/cycling for local trips, as well as a reduction in discretionary driving trips – for example, driving to a local supermarket in a vehicle with a 400-litre cargo capacity to buy a 1-litre bottle of milk. The result will be less local traffic and associated traffic impacts – notably the higher air toxin emissions associated with frequent cold engine starts.
18) The authors of the Traffic and Transport Assessment (Appendix C) have failed to model/report:
a) forecast changes in average daily traffic on arterial roads (only changes in forecast peak traffic are reported); and
b) forecast changes in traffic on local streets.
Without this information, it is impossible to assess the overall benefit/cost of the proposal project in terms of decreased/increased traffic and associated impacts.
19) I am very concerned that the proposed traffic capacity reductions and turn restrictions will divert traffic onto local streets (i.e., rat running), including Coulson St, Concord St, McDonald St (after it is extended to Mitchell Rd), Lord St, Harley St and Maddox St.
a) I therefore request that:
i) a more thorough Traffic and Transport Assessment be developed (that also includes modelling of pedestrian/bicycle level of service/delay at intersections, as noted above); and
ii) Transport for NSW work with the relevant councils, in consultation with the community, to develop a local traffic calming/management plan to ensure there will be no traffic volume increases on local streets.
20) I strongly object to the proposed night-time construction, as the noise and vibration will disturb the sleep of nearby residents, affecting physical and mental health, workplace productivity/safety, childhood learning/development, etc.
21) All construction should occur during standard daytime construction hours. Any additional daytime traffic restrictions required would reduce effective traffic capacity, which – according to the fundamental laws of traffic supply and demand2 – would result in a temporary reduction in traffic and associated impacts along the corridor. This outcome would be consistent with the project objectives, and state and local government priorities and strategies.
- Hess, D. B., Ray, P. D., Stinson, A. E. & Park, J. Y. Determinants of exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) for waiting passengers at bus stops. Atmos. Environ. 44, 5174–5182 (2010).
- Duranton, G. & Turner, M. A. The fundamental law of road congestion: Evidence from US cities. Am. Econ. Rev. 101, 2616–2652 (2008).
- Standen, C., Crane, M., Greaves, S., Collins, A. T. & Rissel, C. How equitable are the distributions of the physical activity and accessibility benefits of bicycle infrastructure? Int. J. Equity Health (2021). doi:https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-560002/v1