Submission: WestConnex M4-M5 Link: ‘MOD 2 -Crescent overpass and active transport links.’

WalkSydney is pleased to make a submission to the WestConnex M4-M5 Link: ‘MOD 2 – Crescent overpass and active transport links.’
The WalkSydney working group is deeply concerned about the proposed new ‘Crescent overpass’ and asks the authorities to reject this new modification and return to the original proposal for a greenlink. The overpass increases travel times for cyclists and pedestrians, diminishes the experience of crossing the large road, and in any case according to the authority does not make any difference to travel times of cars in the network: ‘There is minimal change in the daily traffic forecast on the Sydney metropolitan road network.’
The development of the Crescent overpass in incompatible with the previously mooted Greenlink and as such must be rejected so the benefits of the Greenlink can be sustained.

The Rozelle Interchange. The “green link” is depicted in green

Inconsistent with current policy.
The new proposal does not consider any impacts on pedestrian movement and as such is poor process and produces outcomes that are inconsistent with NSW Government policies. The current proposal is add odds with the NSW Government states prioritises in relation to transport, namely:

  1. One of the Premier’s current Priorities is Greener Public Spaces: ‘Increase the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of quality green, open and public space by 10 per cent by 2023.’
    (https://www.nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/premiers-priorities/greener-public-spaces/). The new design increases the time it will take to walk from Rozelle to Glebe and the foreshore and also increases waiting times for pedestrians
    walking from Annandale to the foreshore.
  2. Transport NSW and the Government Architect NSW have developed their Movement and Place Framework which states: ‘Aligning movement functions with the places they serve can make our transport networks and public spaces
    better contribute to the liveability of communities and productivity of NSW.’
    (https://www.governmentarchitect.nsw.gov.au/guidance/movement-and-place). The quality of public space next to the light rail stop and associated areas is severely diminished by the new proposal
  3. Transport for NSW has developed a Future Transport Strategy 2056 document which states: ‘Liveable communities promote social inclusion and the health and wellbeing of the people who live in them. Transport is vital to mobility as a ‘placemaker’.’ and the ‘delivery and modernisation of infrastructure to allow greater access for people with disabilities and those with limited mobility will also assist in encouraging public transport use by providing a more seamless public transport experience, particularly at interchanges.’ The new design increases social exclusion, and wellbeing because it increases the travel times for pedestrians and cyclists and makes it more difficult for people with disabilities.
  4. The Westconnex website states that by ‘building the interchange mostly underground, the project will deliver new active transport options in Rozelle and up to 10 hectares of new open space.’ This new part of the design contradicts this statement and instead reduces the active transport options and decreases the quality of the public space in this area.

Seven specific problems with the design

  1. The development of the overpass has led to a convoluted new pedestrian pathway that is a much longer journey, of lower quality and gradient, and over polluting traffic.
  2. The new bridge is a ‘shared user path bridge’. This is not best practice and leads to conflict between pedestrians and cyclists, and does not allow for sufficient growth in either of these user groups.
  3. A new concrete plaza replaces the Greenlink. This is a much lower quality proposition that destroys that advertised Greenlink between Rozelle and Bicentennial park.
  4. The new design also makes it harder for people to move between the light rail stop and the foreshore and Bicentennial park, thus reducing public amenity and increasing the risk for pedestrians.
  5. The new proposal has a profoundly negative effect on pedestrians moving between Annandale and the foreshore and associate park area. This is inconsistent with the Premiers priorities for more access to green public space.
    Presently these pedestrians have to travel across one set of lights, under the new scenario they will have to cross four sets of lights and walk approx. an extra 100m.
  6. The permanent removal of two pedestrian and cycle-way over Victoria Road is also problematic and needs to be reconsidered.
  7. The new design effectively pushes fast moving traffic with wide lands bank into Annandale and creates a large barrier for this community and adds problems of noise and air pollution.

Recommended changes

  1. Reinstate the Greenlink that was originally proposed to link the green spine with the Crescent and Bicentennial park and reject the new overpass and associated redesigns.
  2. Implement a single crossing point across the Crescent to solve several of the problems being created in the design at the moment. Or implement a full redesign, with a new proposal, of the Johnson, Chapman road intersection to
    prioritise pedestrians and cyclists.
  3. Reconsider how pedestrians move from Rozelle to Annandale, Glebe and the waterfront. Two current pedestrians bridges along Victoria Road are to be demolished and this has major impacts on the ability of pedestrians to move
    around the city and to access a critical public transport route safely.

WalkSydney working group is looking forward to see the original proposal for a green link reconsidered. Have your say in the comment section below.

You can download our submission here. Thank you for taking the time to read our feedback.

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