Here are some notes I wrote in 2015 on the Westconnex & the Western Harbour Tunnel and their political origins …
The 23rd of April 2014 was a good day for the voters of Manly, Curl Curl, Balgowlah, and Seaforth. On that Wednesday, their local member Mike Baird (1 April 1968) became the Premier of New South Wales. At the same time, the Prime Minister of Australia was their federal member Tony Abbott (4 November 1957). Mike Baird and Tony Abbot share more than their electors, they are also very similar men.
Built around Sydney’s tramways in 1890s, Newtown needs KPIs to prioritise humans not cars.
The proposed transformation will activate Newtown as a premier destination for locals, as well as domestic and international visitors.
Bring the tram sheds back to life – creating a new gathering point. Landscape and open the areas around the tram sheds, with increased passive surveillance and human scale lighting. Make more spaces to sit, reducing crowding, and create new cooling green islands.
Create quicker connections between business areas with new paths. Most people head straight to northern King St. Use shared identity, anchors, and wayfinding to encourage visitors to spread.
Newtown only receives 10% of the international visitors as the Opera House
Reactivate Brennan Lane and the old path along the Bank Hotel.
‘Mathew Hounsell talks about the $41 billion cost of the current set of roads, and the induced demand effect – build more roads and more cars will come. He unraveled the lack of business case for the roads and highlighted their inefficiencies. The proposed train based solutions to the Northern Beaches would be cheaper, carry more people, and not congest the roads with more traffic.
Also touches on how the filtration issue is used to divide and conquer groups who object to motorways.’
“However, according to the numbers contained in the EIS and Appendices the widening of the M4 will actually reduce the total amount of traffic in the corridor. The government acknowledges that there will be an increase in traffic on Parramatta Rd as motorists compare the toll to their Value of Travel Time Savings (VTTS) and find it to be too high. However the government does not mention the fact that there will be a total reduction in traffic within the corridor as discretionary or impulse trips are deferred or redirected to other transport modes like public transport.”
On 16 February 2010, the concession on the M4 Motorway expired and ownership was transferred from Statewide Roads to the NSW Government. The toll on the M4 Motorway was removed at this time. Immediately prior to its removal, the motorway toll was $2.75 for cars and $6.60 for trucks [excluding the Cash-Back program]. ([EIS] – Appendix D – Page 91)
From the RTA’s assessment there was a 500 vehicle drop in traffic on Parramatta Road in the four hours of the morning and a 1500 vehicle increase in vehicles on the M4 (Western Expressway). This represents an induced traffic effect of over one thousand vehicles. The effect is evident by the immediate visible increase in road congestion and reduction in travel speeds experience on Sydney’s roads. After the toll was removed, the average monthly rail patronage started to slide because of the significantly reduced patronage caused by mode shift to private vehicles. With each month, the new reduced baseline pulled the twelve month rail patronage average lower.
You can see quite clearly on the below graph where the slower timetables and removal of the toll on the Western Expressway have significantly reduced the patronage on the Western Line. However you can also see that the trend is holding for over 150% growth (300,000 passengers a month) above the 2001 figures.