WALK ON WATER
Can you think of a city where pedestrians and vehicles are completely separated? "Traffic in Towns" (Buchanan, 1964) gives Venice as a unique example!
PLANNING WITHOUT TRANSPORT
APT were concerned to find that the NSW Department of Planning and Environment is dismantling its transport functions. This is a most retrograde step. It has been known for twenty years that because of the interaction between land-use and transport, the supply of each affects the demand for the other. Land-use and transport must be planned conjointly as an ongoing activity. If they are planned separately, transport planning tends to become stop-gap reaction to traffic congestion and cannot push a city towards being an efficient user of land and public transport.
BIASED TRANSPORT PLANNING
Several local councils in Sydney's northern suburbs have formed a body which is pressing for Transit North, a light rail system to serve the Brookvale - North Sydney - Epping route. The Minister for Transport told a meeting of these councils last November that expressions of interest for Transit North would have to await completion of an integrated transport plan for the whole metropolitan area. This answer, although textbook-correct, is curious. No government organ known to APT has ever said that when anybody suggested a highway project. Still more surprisingly, it appears that such a plan is actually being prepared and is expected to be released soon. APT wonder whether the highway planners will be bound by it.
Mosman, the council most afflicted with extra traffic generated by the Harbour Tunnel, called a public meeting on 4th December and invited local MPs Collins and Smiles. At present, the council does not officially favour any particular method of reducing traffic through its area. Addressing a large audience, Mr Collins claimed some credit for construction of the Gore Hill link, which he says relieves traffic in the western end of his electorate. The Transfield company, which was the original mover of the Harbour Tunnel, is interested in completing the Fl expressway to Burnt Bridge Creek by means of tunnels under land and under Middle Harbour. An above-ground route would not be practicable, partly because the Government owns only about 20% of the land needed for bridge approaches near Middle Harbour and partly because the bridge alone would cost many hundred million dollars. No toll that funded the bridge could be levied on its traffic. Mr Collins expressed some reservations at the nature of any development that would be necessary to fund the bridge. He recognised that any light rail scheme would need contributions from developments around its stations.
Mr Smiles' view was closer to that of APT. He said clearly that there was no question of having both the light rail and the road tunnel because the latter would destroy the viability of the light rail scheme, An alderman mentioned a residential land release planned for the Ingleside area. Mr Smiles said that this could not proceed for many years. Among other objections, there was not enough water supply to the area (APT are pleased that our planners are thinking of at least some infrastructure BEFORE authorising a release!).
The question of a 40 kph speed limit throughout the local government areas of North Sydney and Mosman was raised. The official N.S.W. policy at present is that low speed limits cannot be enforced without speed-limiting devices on the road and hence 40 kph limits are not applied before humps etc. are built. APT's opinion is that a proper integrated transport plan would show need for a heavy rail link, possibly from Brookvale to St Leonards. This link would define a corridor of denser development, with the developers being required to contribute to construction of the link. The viability of the link would need to be supported by traffic calming on roads near it.
NEWS FROM THE SOUTH
Some of your reporters have recently visited Melbourne, where of course they sampled the extensive public transport system. Two excellent features, taken for granted by Melbourners, but denied to public transport users in Sydney, are a Day Rover ticket and a single phone number information line.
The Met in Melbourne offers Daily Tickets allowing travel in various zones all day on all forms of transport - trams, trains, government buses and private buses. They can be bought from retail outlets, they can be used before 9 a.m., and they are cheap. Zone 1 (approximately 10 km radius from the CBD) is only $3.80 for all day, Zones 1 and 2 (20 km radius) is $6.30 and Zones 1, 2, and 3 is $8.20. Other zone combinations are also available. The Day Rover ticket that we had in Sydney some years ago never came close to this in terms of price, range or flexibility, and even that is now lost. At this time of the year, the transport authorities in Sydney will be preparing their submissions for fare rises and any ticket changes for the new year commencing 1st July 1993. APT urge that consideration be given to restoring our Day Rover tickets to a level at least approaching that of Melbourne's.
The other feature is a single phone number where details of all timetables can be obtained. Compare this with Sydney's mixture of three different numbers for trains, STA buses and ferries, and private buses. And the private bus number will not give you the timetable information but only refer you to the company that actually runs the bus.
The Melbourne public transport system, regardless of who actually owns or runs that component parts, present itself to the public as a unified system - and isn't that what it is all about?
APT are disgusted that the federal Opposition is using for vote-buying in the March election a program of taxation reform which will see fuel for the private motorist reduce sharply in price whilst public transport fares increase by about 15%. This imbalance, which is not even a necessary part of a goods and services tax package, is totally inappropriate for a country where half of the population live in cities of 500000 or more and most of that half in just two giant cities.
We hope that enough people are concerned about air pollution and other adverse effects of over-reliance on private cars to block the package.
BUSTITUTION OVER XMAS
Buses replaced trains for Inner West stations from Macdonaldtown to Croydon from 27th December to 10th January. It was a large operation - up to 85 buses were running at peak times. However, it seemed to work well. It permitted reconstruction of the Lewisham viaduct and many smaller projects.
Other bustitution was not so praiseworthy. In January, there were the usual four Saturday evening free concerts in the Domain. After successfully publicising rail travel to "Opera in the Park", CityRail seems to have changed its mind. This year, the Jazz night (30 January) drew the top crowd - 110000 - and was generously extended by the musicians to 10:30 p.m., delighting the audience. Unfortunately, there were no trains on the North Shore after 2 p.m. APT wonder how well the buses coped with the extra crowds after the delayed finish.
All we can see for the pain imposed on northsiders are a few new signals erected on elevated gantries.
The Department of Transport called for tenders (18 January) for an integrated transport study of the lower Hunter region, in recognition of the need for land-use and transport to be planned conjointly. Unfortunately, it seems that the private vehicle, provision for which influences settlement patterns in a major way, will be excluded from the study.
Perhaps the DoT's brief is to let the car have its way in Newcastle. After all, the Roads ministry in N.S.W. is higher than Transport. APT feel that if the Newcastle area is to develop properly, any "integrated" transport plan should cover ALL modes of transport so that interactions between modes can be recognised and all modes managed in order to produce the best result
BOTANY WEST TRANSPORT STUDY
The RTA have used the recently-released Summary Report on Community Consultation as a vehicle to express its own opinions and recommendations which favour the F5 extension from Beverly Hills to Alexandria. Examples identified by APT in the report include the need to meet demand, to cater for essential road freight, to consider the diverse origins and destinations of road trips and a view of rail transport as primarily serving the CBD.
There is no mention of the obvious interaction between road provision and use, and the resulting concepts of managing demand into defined corridors to and between activity centres to enable rail transport to have a larger role. There is also no acknowledgement that present problems in the Botany West area are mainly due to a demand responsive approach to road building in other parts of the Sydney region.
APT believe the airport rail link, and particularly its extension to
connect with the Illawarra and East Hills lines, is unlikely if the
F5 is built. This pessimism is apparently shared by CityRail, as
their just-released operations plan shows additional capacity between
Sydenham and Illawarra Junction as a short-term (5 year) requirement and
an airport link as just a long-term (20 year) possibility.
Although the Government want you to believe that the Guns 'n' Roses concert at Eastern Creek was a complete success, the public transport arrangements were less than brilliant.
The "small charge" on the shuttle bus between Doonside and the venue turned out to be $3 irrespective of age, and a rip-off because many had to walk on the return trip due to poor traffic management This in turn delayed the trains, which had to wait for patrons to arrive, by an hour or more. Connections with last trains on other lines were missed by many as a consequence. Surely a combined ticket for bus and rail, and traffic priority for buses over cars, is not an unreasonable expectation in a city vying for the Olympic Games?
Concern has been expressed recently about the speed and volume of traffic passing between Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the clinics on the other side of the road. The latest proposed solution is to close Missenden Road and build a 1200-space car park. While the revenue generated might please the hospital accountants, APT wonder (a) what will happen to the bus routes passing the hospital (b) how the cars to fill the spaces - possibly 3000 cars or 6000 car movements a day - can be handled by the road network.
The RTA has advertised for a Propaganda Officer (although not quite under that title) whose duties include promotion of the Government's road-building policies to the public. APT refer you to the newsletter article we published last August about hiring a racing driver (who does not live in Sydney!) to promote the M5 tollway. It is bad enough that such policies exist but intolerable that they are promoted. APT also refer the RTA to its own Future Directions report!
Some insight into RTA thinking can be gleaned from the letter of chief executive Peter Wolfe published in the Herald of 8 December. Development of the road network is apparently at the forefront, but management of peak demand by means of road pricing and public transport is now officially running. There is no mention of managing or even influencing land-use. APT fear a long wait before politicians adopt traffic demand management.
Wandering through an arcade recently, your reporter noticed that none of the games showed traffic jams - players were able to fly around cities without any bothers of congestion.
Of course, all games are an escape from reality
The government is looking into the possibility of a privately- financed road from Hexham (near Newcastle) to Tweed Heads (on the Queensland border), a distance of some 700 kilometres. The toll is conjectured to be possibly $70 for a car travelling the full distance or less for shorter runs. APT wonder what toll would be fair for trucks, given that they are generally considered to each cause about 10000 times the road surface damage of a car.
We respectfully point out that a railway runs between Sydney and South Brisbane. Fair road pricing would be all that was needed to put much long distance truck and bus traffic on rail! Further, the railway could be significantly upgraded to attract more localised road traffic and a sizable share of present car journeys as well. APT note that an upgraded Pacific roadway will do the reverse: boost road use and reduce rail patronage. We wonder whether the builder will have to pay for the increased congestion in Sydney and Brisbane induced by the tollway.
An unusual claim in the RTA's glossy book is that the Tollway option will reduce ribbon development by concentrating settlement around exits. APT are amazed at this traditional benefit of rail transport being used to help justify a major road development.
Sydney weather office wants to relocate from Town Hall to Macquarie where public transport is sparse. Many employees would have found themselves with much longer travel times between home and work than formerly. Of course, executives with company cars might find travel times reduced. Unfortunately, if everyone moved out to escape traffic congestion, they would find that the congestion moved out with them.
Meanwhile, Canberra office has moved to a site where public transport is better than at the former location. The Canberra office comes under the DASET (Dept of Arts, Sport, Environment and Tourism) umbrella, which may explain the acknowledgement of public transport.
N R M A POLICY
The NRMA has recently revised its public policy. It is now accepted by the NRMA that levying motorists in favour of public transport can be acceptable and that management of traffic demand can also be acceptable. Full details of the policy can be obtained from the NRMA. Unfortunately, the policy is being reviewed piecemeal and only those changes which pass the NRMA Council are implemented, resulting in some lack of cohesion.
REVISED RAIL TIMETABLE
A revision of the May 1992 CityRail timetable came into effect from 24th January to coincide with the extension of electric services to Dapto. Most services on other lines are unchanged, and this includes the long peak period intervals between trains on the Liverpool via Regent's Park, Riverstone and Berowra lines, and the unsatisfactory interchanges between the Main and Shore lines at Hornsby. Noted improvements include a shoppers' hourly service between Bankstown and Liverpool extending trains from the city via Sydenham, and more peak period services stopping at Gordon on the Shore line. APT have also noted some more extended intervals at the peak/offpeak transitions, including a 21 minute gap for services to intermediate stations between Hornsby and Gordon at the end of the morning peak.
STATEMENT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
On 21 December, the Prime Minister made a statement giving funds to investigate which cars were the worst polluters, to study how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport industry, and to promote production of methanol as an alternative fuel to oil. Unfortunately, he missed the point entirely - the cars which pollute the worst are those which are driven the most.
It would have been better to promote proper urban design which encourages the use of public transport. As has been stated here before, land-use and transport interact closely and should be planned conjointly as an ongoing activity.
The irony of the announcement is that we already know which cars pollute - all of them do.
At this election time, APT understand that Mrs Hewson used to work in the road safety field. Should Dr Hewson be elected Prime Minister, APT hope that his government will appreciate the value of good public transport in reducing road accidents.
The inevitable capitulation over the Eastern Distributor is yet another example of how the building of faster roads, in this case the enormously expensive Harbour Tunnel, leads to the demand for even more. When is NSW going to learn that the process is endless, and damaging to our competitiveness and environment as the encouragement of road trips with diverse origins and destinations diminishes the role for public transport?
As the light rail lobby pointed out, one possible response to congestion in the Darlinghurst area would be to use Bridge lanes 7 and 8 for a guided transit system. Such a system could run up to the Warringah area and/or the north-west and might connect through Wynyard and St James platforms 2 and 3 then under Oxford Street to Taylor Square and beyond. Even so, the 4-lane Tunnel has increased Harbour crossing capacity to an extent that was bound to cause embarrassment in the Eastern Suburbs.
There has long been a plan to extend the F6 from Sutherland in to Taren Point (and also from Rocky Point to Alexandria). Sutherland Council are considering building about 1.3 kilometres of road along the F6 extension mute in order to provide a bypass for Miranda, where a new Westfield shopping centre has caused a considerable increase in traffic. The new road would connect Kingsway near Sylvania Road across The Boulevarde with Port Hacking Road north of Parraweena Road. The council hope the State Government will fund it - Westfield probably agree!
Of course, this would be an utter travesty of proper transport planning. Its effects would include increasing traffic on Taren Point Road and making easier any subsequent decision to extend the F6.
Rather than bypassing centres, Sydney needs transport corridors which connect centres in order to foster regional development. In this case, the outstanding corridor for public transport would be Miranda to Hurstville and ultimately a new railway line from Hurstville to Bankstown and Strathfield. Ideally, the public transport should be off-road but the closest we could hope for would be bus lanes into and out of the various centres passed through.
Readers may recall that the proposed Redfern - Arncliffe via airport railway would, by improving connections from South Sydney to the Illawarra, reduce the need for extending the F6. The viability of this railway would be reduced by the F6 extension.
FOR YOUR LIBRARY
Traffic Safety and the Driver book by Leonard Evans. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1991; A detailed analysis of many technical factors plus a look at traffic safety in some broader contexts - very rewarding. Presumes that everyone drives 16000 km per year, which is not necessarily so when public transport is available.
A Date with Density article by Roland fletcher in 2lC, summer 1992.
Wrong Route to Docklands article by Hamer in New Scientist, 21 Nov 1992. What happened to London's version of our Darling Harbour monorail.
Greenhouse Hysteria essay by Professor Fritsh Bottcher in B.M.W. Magazine, 4/1992. Argues that "there is no valid reason to use the hypothesis of an approaching climate change as a weapon against the use of gasoline and similar hydrocarbons for motorised vehicles". APT would be more impressed if BMW gave equal space to promoting public transport.
The Imp act of Federalism on Metropolitan Strategies in Australia book edited by Christine fletcher and Cliff Walsh. $24 ppd from Bibliotech, P.O. Box 4, Canberra. Proceedings of a symposium on reconciling federalism with metropolitan planning and the Building Better Cities programme.
Providing information to the traveller by public transport article by and Travel Information a list of references by T Paul Hutchinson. Shows that provision of information about public transport is too often poor and gives a method for quantifying and hence measuring the provision of information. Contact APT for details.
FOR YOUR DIARY
Urban Transport conference, 22-23 March, Sydney. 954-5844.
Light Rail conference, 24 March, Sydney. 954-5844.
The paragraph about public transport to universities in the last
issue overlooked a few sparse services to Macquarie University. This
regrettable omission, however, does not change the point of the