The latest changes to Sydney’s CBD see speed bumps and a ban on turning left, plus a temporary ban on double-parked cars.
It’s all part of the Transport for NSW’s ongoing trial of traffic calming measures and it’s proving confusing for commuters, who are often caught out of action on several key roads in the city and its surrounding suburbs.
One woman we spoke to, who recently moved to Australia from Australia, used to take the bus across Sydney Harbour, even though she felt like there was a ‘no walking-home’ rule after the bus stopped three times at various red lights, especially after many stops.
‘The driver always stopped, but I wasn’t in a hurry so it was fine, but I stopped and did the 6 kilometre journey, where people are tripping and falling.’
Her commute took approximately 30 minutes but at times that was stretched out to over an hour and three quarters as she had to unclip her train pass and slide it through a small gap in the bottom door.
A decision was made by Transport for NSW that the train stops would occur at a specific time on the West and Pyrmont Pier routes. The decision resulted in 15 stops along her route making the journey a longer one, and consequently, extended walking times.
It’s not the only issue the Aussie dweller has encountered either, with Transport for NSW also banning pedestrians from crossing part of The Esplanade in March 2018.
The boardwalk will be accessible for pedestrians during daylight hours, but from 5pm to 8am, it will only be for cars as part of the trial to reduce congestion.
The ban has been created by the boardwalk being designated a ‘turnaround area’ for the cycleway, with only cars allowed to enter the cycleway during the trial period.
However, this seemingly relaxed policy doesn’t allow pedestrians access to the boardwalk at all times. Which means navigating around the 18 million square metres of sand, which is described as ‘the world’s biggest sandbar’.
Not only has this resulted in many frustrated pedestrians and commuters with a roving series of rails, but it’s also affected the so-called ‘City’s Wonderland’ tourist destination.
Now an area has been coined as the ‘destination jam’ because of the queues caused by the bypassed tracks.
From hotels to restaurants and cafes, the place has been almost completely taken over by the mass motor vehicle traffic. This means people now have to walk further than planned to get from one destination to another.
Video Player failed to load. Play Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Closer to home, there are also a number of other practical changes being implemented that seem like they shouldn’t be needed.
In May 2018 the Roads Minister took steps to reduce congestion by reducing the number of queues during peak time, as there was concern that the car-centric systems were causing lengthy queues on major roads such as Martin Place, as well as on The Esplanade.
The major changes included:
Reducing delays on numerous streets by increasing frequencies and decreasing frequencies
Eliminating Zebra lines at intersections of Paddington Road and Phillip Street
Adding more intermediate ‘no go’ zones
As a result, a stop in Sydney Harbour was also to be abolished as Transport for NSW moved to increase congestion through a new network.
But as for the new intersection, the biggest shift was that turnoffs were being allowed only between 18 and 19 o’clock.
However, the question becomes, who decides when it’s time to start slowing down?
In July 2018, Transport for NSW introduced a new rule to begin at 5pm, and this took effect at a busy intersection in The Rocks, meaning the following confusing times:
From 5pm to 8am only
From 10pm to 11pm only
From 11pm to 11pm only
From 12 midnight to 12 midnight only
And, under this catchment area, from the following times:
Between 1am and 2am only
Between 2am and 3am only
Between 3am and 4am only
And finally, at 11am to noon only
All drivers were told not to risk accidents by breaking the law during these times.
But while they seemed like fair measures, in reality it’s happening at the wrong time.
Photo by Jacqueline Le on Flickr. Copyright: Jacqueline Le.