Edward Mandla
Lord Mayoral Minutes - West Connex

Published On: 14/12/2015
We were briefed about the M5 St Peters Interchange two weeks ago, almost as a courtesy. 90% of this road is not in the LGA, and if the interchange was moved west of Canal Road, the Lord Mayor probably wouldn’t care where these cars go.

Before I start, I want to make it clear that I am referring to the people that will always drive to the city. At the moment, almost 90% of people coming into the CBD everyday take public transport. The other 10% are people that run mobile businesses, need their car all day to deliver products or get to meetings, or people that need to travel with security. These people will never switch to cycling, public transport or walking, for the same reason the Lord Mayor doesn’t want to stop using her driver to get to her multiple engagements every day.

As our public transport improves with the light rail and metro, most of this extra capacity will be taken up by 90% of the 1.6 million new inhabitants of Sydney. The other 10% will probably NEED to drive, like the Lord Mayor. That’s an extra 160, 000 cars on the road in the next 15 years.

The New M5 St Peters road is essentially an underground duplication of the Princes Highway. This will now see current traffic coming to and from the Marsh Street Exit up the Princes Highway and through King Street Newtown and Mitchell Road Alexandria moving to the new road.

Volumes of traffic are obviously going to increase at the interchange – its where all the cars will come out. But it will reduce the use of the Princes Highway and the rat run of Sydney Park Road and Mitchell Road to Redfern. We learnt at the briefing that at the interchange, Euston Road would be widened to 6 lanes from 4 lanes (outside lanes for parking) and that Campbell Road would be widened as well, to accommodate this extra traffic, JUST FOR A COUPLE BLOCKS.

King Street it not threatened anymore by this interchange than it is by the Princes Highway feeding traffic to the City. This is not a “build it and they will come” project, it is removing cars from surface roads lined with houses in suburbs surrounding the CBD.

If you have traveled up King Street in the last 10 years, you know that most of the cars on that road are not there to visit Newtown. They are trying to get to Wattle St to get to the Bridge or to go into the City, or to travel south to the Princes Highway. The St Peter’s Interchange gives drivers an alternate, which although locals would use King St to get to the St Peters Interchange, would logically suggest drivers from further afield would stop using King Street as a thoroughfare.

The aim of Westconnex, as much as the Lord Mayor would like us to believe, it not to incentivise people to drive to the City. It’s to create a ring road around Sydney which duplicates our current suburban transport routes to get trucks, buses and commercial vehicles away from your house on Stoney Creek Road, Parramatta Road, Pennant Hills Road and Botany Road and onto a motorway and in tunnels where they can count on not being stuck in traffic and making their deliveries on time.

But alas, you can not stop people from driving on these new roads that will be created. The war cry we hear every time this topic comes up is “BUT WHERE WILL ALL THE CARS GO WHEN THEY GET TO THE END?!” and this line is a perfect example of how little the Lord Mayor understands about running a metropolitan City.

The cars will come to the City whether or not this interchange is built. Cars will need to travel out of the City whether or not this interchange is built. The question is, do you want them to continue to jam the roads in front of our houses or be part of an eventual ring road network that could actually solve Sydney’s problem of a CBD thoroughfare?

Then we suggest the air stacks will worsen air quality. Firstly, they wont because its the same number of cars and secondly we don't seem to worry about air quality when we put trigeneration plants on the top of Town Hall next to a school and thirdly, that, like our projections on toll avoidance behaviour is purely speculative.
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