City battles for Alexandria traffic solutions
At the recent Alexandria Residents Action Group (ARAG) community meeting, Lord Mayor Clover Moore announced a significant win for Alexandria residents, with the introduction of a 40 km/h speed limit in most local streets. This great outcome was a direct result of concerns raised by the community through ARAG, advocacy by the City of Sydney and cooperation and approval from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).
Overall, this exercise shows the value of advocacy and a strong relationship between communities, collective voices and the advocacy of the City to state government agencies.
The ARAG meeting was just one of a series of recent public meetings in Alexandria where City of Sydney staff and councillors outlined proposals to protect local streets from increased traffic from the WestConnex, St Peters Interchange traffic. The independent traffic study was commissioned by the City to better understand the likely impacts of WestConnex traffic in absence of a local roads study by the RMS.
The report considers a range of traffic management measures, including street closures and narrowings, raised pavements and a pedestrian refuge on Fountain Street, near the intersection with Belmont Street. Residents at the meeting were generally supportive and encouraged that the City was taking residents’ complaints about traffic management and road speeds seriously, but many were also worried that the plan may not adequately address speeding in back lanes and would concentrate traffic onto already stressed streets (such as Fountain and Copeland streets).
Several councillors (Clover Moore, Kerryn Phelps, Jess Miller, Jess Scully and Craig Chung) attended and answered resident questions at the ARAG meeting, at which the Lord Mayor pledged to continue to oppose WestConnex, and to work with residents to minimise the influx of “off-ramp” traffic from residential streets in Alexandria. Residents were encouraged to study the proposals and provide feedback by June 1 via the Sydney Your Say website. The website has a copy of the traffic study, maps of proposed road closures and traffic calming measures.
The sessions were interactive and residents gave detailed feedback on the needs for, and sometimes the problems associated with, local road closures. There was widespread understanding that any closures would have knock-on effects in other streets and require changes in residents’ local road use. There was also widespread understanding that the City could not “fence off” Alexandria from the impact of WestConnex, and that the RMS has authority to decide road and parking changes on major suburban roads such as Euston, McEvoy, Fountain and Mitchell.
While the proposed RMS Alexandria to Moore Park Connectivity project (A2MP) roadworks remain unfunded, the certainty of increased traffic for the inner-city from two state government initiatives (WestConnex and approved Urban Growth residential developments) remains.
Many residents are infuriated at the NSW government insistence that inner-city neighbourhoods take on tens of thousands of additional residents and then illogically and perversely attack the amenity of our wonderful suburbs by driving freeways through them. While the disregard for the lives and the health of our residents, both young and old, by the Liberal state government is truly disheartening, residents have an enduring ally in the City of Sydney.
ARAG meets the second Wednesday of each month at 7pm at the Alexandria Town Hall, Garden Street, Alexandria. The next meeting on May 9 will include discussion of the Alexandria traffic management proposals.