Submission – Alexandria to Moore Park Connector

(Note this submission extends, updates, and adapts a previous WalkSydney post)

WalkSydney is pleased to make a submission on the Alexandria to Moore Park Connector.

WalkSydney is a community group working to make it easier, safer and more pleasant to walk in Sydney. With a growing population we need to ensure people can easily walk to public transport, local shops and services, and shared transport options and the Alexandria to Moore Park Connector, if reconceived, provides a great opportunity to achieve these outcomes.

The Alexandria-Moore Park Connector (A2MP) as currently proposed as a set of road and intersection widenings that will attract additional vehicles to the sequence of roads: Euston Road, McEvoy Street, Lachlan Street, Dacey Avenue, Allison Road, which are being redesigned into  a single contiguous at-grade thoroughfare. It looks like a substitute for traffic from the M5 cutting over to the Eastern Distributor (Dowling Street, M1). The M5 has an exit at the airport and Sydney Park feeding Euston Road, while the Eastern Distributor  intersects Dacey Avenue. In short, it is a shorter distance path between these two motorways. It will attract traffic. Once it is faster, it will attract more traffic.

McEvoy
McEvoy, transitioning to a shopping street.

These roads attract significant levels of traffic already, and are hardly pleasant to walk along or across. Signals are spaced for cars, which don’t stop for people trying to cross in the gaps between them.

While it is called a connector, this design is really better thought of as a disconnector. Though it connects these roads in one direction, it disconnects the communities it traverses. With all of the mostly residential re-development in and around Green Square and Alexandria, these once isolated neighbourhoods have the opportunity to become one continuous urban community.

So while McEvoy is a nascent High Street in places (especially Alexandria between Fountain Street and Botany Road, where it has a few food markets, lots of restaurants, and a good collection of clothing stores), it needs help.

The help it needs is not making it wider so cars can speed through from not here to not there, but making it narrower, so people  on foot can cross from shops on one side to shops on the other. In other words, it should be moved down rather than up the hierarchy of roads.  The plans as proposed are not consistent with the new Movement and Place framework Transport for NSW is supposed to be embracing. People should be able to cross these streets freely and without fear. McEvoy should be a destination, not a detour.

Each and every widening means pedestrians will have to walk farther across the street, likely confined to dangerous crosswalks, with a minimum of green time, hardly an improvement. Presumably what few street trees there are will be destroyed to promote the movement of cars, reducing the quality of the walking environment.

While shared paths improve conditions for bicyclists compared to no bike lanes and no shared paths, it is hardly the best that can be done, and does not constitute an improvement for pedestrians compared to a genuine third path.

The traffic forecasts on which this plan is based are not generally terribly accurate. If roads are indeed at capacity for a period of time, then the flow through them cannot increase during that time, that is what capacity means.

Traffic is self-regulating, the slower the travel speed, the lower the demand; while the faster the speed, the higher the demand, inducing traffic that re-creates congestion, lowering speed until a new equilibrium is found. This is the concept of induced demand.

Expanding urban roads will undoubtedly induce new traffic. This of itself is not bad, people in cars from out of the area can now more easily travel through it, but it comes at a cost, more cars means more road danger, more pedestrian and bicyclist injuries, more air pollution, longer distances across streets for pedestrians, and a less pleasant neighborhood.

Changes like this should be rejected. Instead:

  1. We request that access for pedestrians and mobility scooter and wheelchair users be maintained throughout the construction.

  2. We request that speed limits be reduced to 30 km/h along the length of the road.

  3. We request that marked pedestrian crossings be installed on every leg of every intersection, signalised or unsignalised.

  4. We request that separated bike paths be installed where there are currently on-street spaces for parked cars.

  5. We request that unobstructed footpaths be constructed at least 2m wide on each side of the road.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read our feedback.

 

Published by David M Levinson

Prof. David Levinson teaches at the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Sydney, where he leads TransportLab and the Transport Engineering group.

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