(7pm 11 April 2012, Alexandria Town Hall, 73 Garden Street Alexandria)
Thank you, Vanessa, and good evening, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the 200 nationalities who make up our city.
Here with me from the City of Sydney tonight are Terry Lee Williams, Manager of the City Access Unit and Melanie Fyfe, our Transport &Traffic Sustainability Planner. Ciara O'Riordan from my office is also here.
Transport is always a key concern in Sydney, and our City's growth is putting pressure on road and transport networks that are already at capacity.
The economic and environmental impacts of congestion are serious - it's costing us $3.5 billion a year. Traffic is predicted to increase by 23% over the next 15 years with costs blowing out to $7.8 billion a year.
Sydney's overall population is set to nearly double by 2036, with 60 per cent more residents and 31 per cent more jobs expected in the City of Sydney over the next 25 years.
We need to plan responsibly now, so that we can live, work, and move around our City in the future.
Here in Alexandria, some additional challenges are; that car ownership is relatively high for an inner-city village; public transport options in the area need improvement; and, commuter parking from the ATP is adding to the on-street pressure.
Australian Technology Park
The City did not approve the Australian Technology Park (ATP) site; it was assessed as a Part 3A project by the former State Government, and we have no control over ATP's onsite parking arrangements.
Because of the concerns expressed by residents, our traffic team consulted extensively on changes to parking restrictions in streets badly affected by ATP's impacts.
The City's CEO has also met with the Australian Technology Park management to discuss your concerns about the impact of commuter parking in the area.
They tell us they are taking active steps to reduce the number of tenants driving to work by improving security around the train station, having green travel plans for tenants, and asking drivers to be considerate towards the local community.
At a recent meeting here in this town hall, after discussion of the problems caused by ATP parking, I undertook that the City would introduce resident parking across your area, together with visitor parking, on a trial basis. I will write to residents in the area soon outlining how that will be introduced.
At the same time we will complete the peer review of the ATP's Alexandria parking study, which will also consider the potential impacts from developments in the area. This will feed into our wider transport network study to identify gaps in public transport, both now and for the predicted future populations.
We will use this information to advocate to the State Government to provide adequate public transport.
You have told us that public transport options are patchy at best, with infrequent services even in peak hours and that there is a lack of cross-regional connections, which inevitably increases reliance on car-use. We are continuing to speak directly to the STA to ask them to improve services in this area.
We recognise that some people have no alternative to using a car, so we're trying to reduce competition for limited road space by making it easier for those residents who can live without a car to get around the City by foot, bike or public transport.
The City's transport policies include car sharing, improved walking and cycling networks and lobbying for improved public transport. These policies are intended to create diverse transport options so fewer people need to own a car, ultimately reducing the demand for road and parking space.
Our bicycle network, connecting Belmont and Maddox Streets is proving popular with residents in the area. To overcome the missing link between Bourke Road and Bourke Street, we're working with the Roads and Maritime Authority to investigate designs for a high quality, direct connection.
Also, we have recently put on exhibition a proposal for a new two-way separated cycleway on George Street in Redfern which will better connect residents of Alexandria, Green Square Waterloo and Redfern with the city centre.
Parking Controls for New Developments
Before 1996, developments were required to provide car parking to satisfy the parking needs of a new development.
Since 1996, medium and high density developments throughout the former South Sydney City Council area have been assessed against the South Sydney DCP 11; Transport Guidelines for Development. This set a maximum parking rate for new developments by taking into account alternative transport options.
This policy was not about reducing car spaces; where there is public transport available, fewer parking spaces are provided in new developments.
The City recently finalised the City Plan, translating the different planning controls we inherited into one consistent planning document. It builds on the philosophy of the old South Sydney DCP by determining maximum parking rates for developments based on access to public transport and, for residential development, access to village centres and public transport.
The purpose of these parking provisions is to set an allocation, or limit, for the amount of on-site car parking that is allowed to help us address traffic impacts.
In areas like Alexandria, which are poorly serviced by public transport, more off-street parking is permitted. Fewer car parking spaces are permitted close to train stations, major bus routes and local services, such as in Central Sydney.
The State Government has control of major traffic corridors, like Euston Road, and has responsibility for ensuring adequate transport infrastructure, particularly in the context of growth due to its population growth targets.
Residents have also asked about the impact Ashmore may have on parking and traffic in this area.
We successfully lobbied for a decrease in the scale of the Ashmore development, which was reduced from 19 stories to 9 stories.
Our traffic assessment for Ashmore has recommended local traffic works to manage the increase in traffic. These works will be carried out as development is undertaken.
Ashmore is within walking distance of Erskineville station; however, residents have told us that trains in peak hour are often full.
I spoke to the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Transport, requesting increased public transport to support urban renewal areas, like Ashmore and Harold Park.
As a result, the Minister for Planning announced that he would work with the Transport Minister to ensure that public transport for these two major proposals is increased as the sites are developed.
Connecting our City
We recently put on exhibition our integrated transport plan, Connecting our City. It outlines the principles behind what we advocate - and includes the evidence to support those principles. You can find it on our website and give us your opinions until the end of May.
The City is also doing a major transport study for the area, which Mel Fyfe will speak about in more detail.
We developed Connecting our City as a major input to the State's Long-Term Integrated Transport Masterplan.
I have brochures available for you about the consultation process for the masterplan. The City will be making a far-reaching submission, but as the Premier recently made clear, it's a State responsibility to ensure efficient public transport and traffic networks.
I strongly urge you to keep him to his word and use the masterplan process to directly inform him of the issues you're facing, the transport choices you are required to make, and what you would really like to be able to do instead.
It's only by hearing directly from you that the government will understand what is happening on the ground. They'll understand the effects of their decisions, and the inadequacy of adopting a business-as-usual approach.