WalkSydney is pleased to make a submission on Connected Liverpool 2050: Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement: A Land Use Vision to 2050.
WalkSydney is a community group advocating for walking. As Sydney’s population grows, we want people to be able to walk easily to schools, public transport, local shops and services and shared transport choices. Streets provide infrastructure for walking and also facilitate important social and economic engagement and WalkSydney wants to see action to make walking convenient, accessible, safe and enjoyable for everyone.
WalkSydney supports walking and cycling at the top of the transport hierarchy. See example from Waverley Council’s, People, Movement & Places.
We are pleased to see the first Local Planning Priority favour active and public transport in what will become Sydney’s Third CBD.
As the fastest growing region of Australia, it is important to get the planning framework right.
Liverpool’s policies and infrastructure need to encourage safe, healthier transport choices and the transport hierarchy needs to form the basis for planning of council budgeting and projects. Access by walking must be given priority in planning of the public domain as well as in the approval of development on sites which can provide new connections between public streets. Pedestrian access, safety and comfort needs to be prioritised in decision-making with clearly stated outcomes in the Local Strategic Planning Statement and LEP objectives and provisions.
We believe that connectivity in Western Sydney should be thought of as a sustainable urban mobility grid, not merely a spine.
There are three major east-west transit services planned for the region,
- extensions of the existing Sydney rains service from Leppington westward to the airport, on the south, and
- the Sydney Metro West on the north, as well as
- the “Planning Priority 2: A rapid smart transit link between Liverpool and the Western Sydney International Airport” (the FAST Corridor) through the center,
As well as a new north-south Metro line serving the new airport from St. Mary’s, we see the makings of a transit grid.
However, that nascent idea needs to be reinforced with appropriately spaced north-south links to take full advantage of this vision. Nodes on such a grid will be accessible by walking and biking, while the public transport service provides the high capacity, fast, backbone connecting within Liverpool and to the rest of the Metro area and the World. Public transport and active transport are complements, reinforcing each other.
WalkSydney recommends these planning priorities be embedded in strategies, policies, and workplans, as well as in capital investments to fully reinforce the aims of the plan that walking and biking are the people’s first thought about how to use transport, rather than an afterthought. The aspirations exhibited in the plans are great. They need to be tracked with targets and measurable performance indicators. The current implementation measures are insufficiently concrete.
For “Planning Priority 1 – Active and public transport reflecting Liverpool’s strategic significance”, the actions do not appear to align strongly with the priorities.
Despite the title focussing on active and public transport, there is a distinct lack of walking and cycling actions and initiatives to support active transport.
We suggest the inclusion of an action that ensures every major road includes separated and protected bike lanes, a third path, not just shared paths with pedestrians. This will enable bicycles, and other transport modes like scooters and even small electric autonomous delivery vehicles in the future (vehicles which move faster than pedestrians, but slower than automobiles), to achieve efficient movement at the speed they were meant for, with a minimum of conflict.
For “Planning Priority 3 – Accessible and connected suburbs”, we support that accessibility can be quantified effectively, and the document should reflect this.
Accessibility indicators include measuring how many jobs, schools, shops, parks, and so on can be reached in 15, 30, and 45 minutes by walking, biking, public transport, and driving. In addition to this, ensuring not only the number of activities that can be reached by active and public transport increases with every public policy about transport and land use, but that the ratio of those that can be reached to active and public transport to those that can be reached by driving also increases. These strategies encourage people to willingly choose socially responsible travel consistent with the region’s aim for a 30-minute city.
We believe Connected Liverpool 2050 is a first step towards transforming the region from an area with among the highest private automobile mode shares and worst pollution levels in Greater Sydney, to a strong role-model for the support of walking in the Liverpool Council area and throughout Sydney’s West.