Sydney is fortunate to have some amazing drawcard venues for tourists, that are also much appreciated by the locals. It is puzzling that we spend millions on marketing, yet invest little in accessing them. One example of poor access is next to the major visitor destination of Bondi Beach.
Right at the south end the beach, the stairs take people up to Notts Avenue and onto pavement that is barely a metre wide.
One metre is completely inadequate for the enormous foot traffic on this street. This is the route from Bondi Beach south to Tamarama, Bronte and Coogee along a majestic coastal walk. The pavement is the only link to the photogenic and popular Bondi Icebergs Club with its views, dining facilities and pools. It is also the most direct path to the popular Marks Park.
What is the purpose of Notts Avenue? It is a dead end street, providing vehicle access for a few dozen apartments and Bondi Icebergs. Vehicle numbers are always low, which unfortunately means vehicles commonly travel over 40 km/h, right next to people who have stepped onto the roadway in order to pass each other.
The roadway is over 7 metres wide. Car parking is allowed along this stretch of the road, on the western side.
Ideally, the handful of car parking spots would be removed from Notts Avenue, vehicles would be restricted to a single lane, and the remainder of the road would be given to pedestrians. The revamp should be part of a full redesign of access to Bondi Beach (not just a redesign of Campbell Parade). Small, temporary trials can be implemented while we wait for long term projects.
Waverley Council is trialling a pedestrian walkway up the Cutting in Bronte in place of some car parking. It would be highly beneficial to try a similar pilot on Notts Avenue. The Bronte pilot project can be viewed here.
In Notts Avenue, the ratio of people on foot to people in cars has to be one of the highest in all of Sydney: tens of thousands of people pass along here everyday in summer, and many walk here even on cold and rainy days.
Sydney creates impressive events like Sculptures by the Sea with attendance over half a million people. It needs to upgrade its basic infrastructure to cater for these events properly, as well as everyday use.