People’s M5 EIS editor Wendy Bacon reports:
‘Stop Westconnex’ flags fly from City of Sydney poles in Newtown
City of Sydney’s “Save Newtown Stop WestCONnex flags” have appeared in King Street, Newtown, just in time for the Easter crowds. As thousands of visitors from outside the Inner West flow into the famous street, the City of Sydney Council and local campaigners hope they will take the message home.
This is just the latest sign that City of Sydney, Newtown Business Precinct and Save Newtown Westconnex Action Group (WAG)are continuing to campaign hard against the Baird government’s WestCONnex tollways that will dump thousands more cars into already congested local roads. They’re not convinced by a promise made by Minister for Roads Duncan Gay that however bad the congestion gets, clearways that would kill off businesses and street life will not be created on King Street.
There is no doubt that the NSW government is troubled by the scale of the campaign in Newtown. WestCONnex has recently indicated that it may also consider plans for a new ‘Gateway’ to steer cars away from King Steet. But this would only happen after the NSW Planning Department has approved the New M5 and would not form part of the current project.
WestCONnex opponents are sceptical of these suggestions. They are at best only promises aimed at deflecting WestCONnex critics. They know from experience that when traffic is pushed onto other local roads, it usually finds its way back back to its original destination. The main problem is that rather than solve traffic congestion, WestCONnex will dump more cars on many roads in Inner Sydney.
This week was also the Green Cities Conference – celebrating ‘disruptive ideas’.
Of course there could be nothing more disruptive that a massive motorway carving through our suburbs but that wasn’t a topic that found favour with the conference program organisers. You would think the biggest transport infrastructure project in Australia’s history might have been on the agenda but while many planners privately acknowledge that WestCONnex is a poor idea, most prefer to play safely by keeping quiet. But City of Sydney’s Mayor Clover Moore was not going to let the conference pass without a little disruption of her own. Continue reading