My thoughts on the New M5 Urban Design and Landscape Plan

The community is rightly skeptical about Sydney Motorway Corp’s motives in calling for public feedback on the 583 page New M5 Urban Design Landscape Plan over the Easter and Anzac Day public holidays and school holidays.

They haven’t given the community enough time to properly consider the document and as a consequence the consultation process is highly compromised.

If WestConnex is serious about community consultation, they need to go back to communities and businesses in the St Peters area and extend the exhibition period.

This plan puts pedestrians at risk, proposes inner city streets designed like rural roads, gets the existing vegetation wrong, and is completely missing any reference to heritage.

The draft urban design landscape plan includes proposals that will directly and negatively impact Sydney Park, the surrounding area and local residential and business communities – and it fails to fully consider or adequately mitigate these serious impacts.

The worst impacts on Sydney Park’s eastern edge could be mitigated with new and adjusted entries, retaining walls, boundary landscape planting, building adjustments and relocated park infrastructure – however, none are considered in the urban design landscape plan.

Pedestrian safety is not addressed in the plan – there is no ‘safe by design’ analysis of the proposed work exacerbated by poor placement of footpaths alongside traffic lanes and lack of tree-planted verges.

Streets outside the motorway have been designed as though they are rural or greenfield development roads, not busy inner city streets. Pedestrians and bike riders are given significantly lower priority than cars, despite the large and growing number of people using active transport.

There is no evidence of any reference to heritage values in any part of the plan. The existing vegetation within Sydney Park is not accurately recorded. The City recommends WestConnex refers to ‘Nearmap’, for example, for recent satellite images of the area in order to gain a more accurate idea of existing vegetation in Sydney Park.