WestCONnex gift to Beverly Hills – lower noise walls and traffic congestion

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment received more than 12,000 submissions from members of the the public and community organisations in response to the WestCONnex New M5 tollway proposal. 99.91% of these submissions objected to the project. The People’s M5 EIS team could only find one submission that supported the project.  Ten submissions  raised concerns rather than outright objecting to the New M5.

Hundreds of residents living in the Kingsgrove and Beverly Hills area were among those opposed to the project.

Many of these residents have been living near the old M5 for 15 years. They know from experience that living near a motorway is nothing like the glossy images produced by the WestCONnex graphics team. If the New M5 goes ahead, 0thers would live close to a new unfiltered ventilation stack and tunnel opening proposed at Kingsgrove; or near the Beverly Grove Park that is going to be carved up by WestCONnex, along with most of a critically endangered remnant of Cooks River Ironbark Forest.

There are many more residents living along Stoney Creek, Forest and Bexley Roads who don’t know yet that if the new tollway goes ahead the plan is for their environment to be more congested and more polluted. This is documented in AECOM’s New M5 EIS although most residents have not yet been informed of these impacts. ( We will come back to this in a later post.)

What most people don’t know is that WestCONnex has already been given approval by the NSW Baird government to begin widening the intersection at King Georges Road and the existing M5. This project, which is known as the King Georges Interchange Upgrade, is massively disrupting the lives of residents, some of whom have watched with dismay as vegetation and parks that slowly grew after the M5 sliced up their neighbourhood are torn down by WestCONnex.

The King Georges Interchange project doesn’t make the WestCONnex’s Stage 2 New M5 tunnel inevitable but what it does do is provide an excellent place to start if you want to understand some of the key arguments against the WestCONnex. It  also provides a strong warning against trusting promises by Sydney Motorway Corporation (WestCONnex) or the Department of Planning of future mitigation of the worst impacts of motorways.

NSW Premier Mike Baird recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that some “displacement” and “loss of green space” is an unfortunate consequence of building  ‘infrastructure” to cater for future growth …otherwise the city will come to a halt.”

The problem with Baird’s argument is that there is lots of evidence that the WestCONnex won’t solve traffic congestion. Yes, residents would suffer both during the construction and operation of WestCONnex, but no, traffic congestion will not be solved. In some suburbs it will be worse.

You will notice that Baird also made no mention of the consequences of increased air pollution and noise for those living near congested roads. Continue reading

Advertisements

Vanessa & Gary from Alexandria: We want infrastructure that moves people not cars

( Ed: Vanessa Knight and Gary Speechley live in Alexandria, which is close to the proposed St Peters Interchange and Sydney Park. Their suburb is in the thick of the push for development that will bring more residents into inner Sydney. Some developments are well planned but some are not, so there is plenty of work for their local Alexandria Residents’ Action Group to do.  Last year the group put up a great fight to save the heritage Alexandria Hotel. After a huge community campaign, they saved the building but not the hotel itself. Now they are faced with the possibility of 71,000 cars pouring out of  WestCONnex into their already congested suburb. Vanessa and Gary have been at the forefront of those struggles. Below, we have published their strong submission objecting to the New M5 EIS. We asked Gary how why they became involved in the fight to stop WestCONnex.  

Gary :

Vanessa and I got involved in ARAG because we love where we live and want to contribute to our community. We endorse ARAG’s goal of not dictating opinion, but putting information before our residents so that they can formulate their own views on issues and make up their own minds.
We like to be doing something positive and pro-active for the area – the Alexandria Sunday FunDay will be held in Alexandria Park on 20th March from 11am to 3pm.
But we spend most of our time fighting over-development and hare-brained schemes from governments: the sale of ATP; WestCONnex; council amalgamations; pro-developer changes to planning laws (which we helped, through BPN and many other groups, to overthrow); the Central-to-Eveleigh redevelopment; the “privatisation” of the Bankstown railway line; the sale of the Alexandria Hotel; dodgy building certifiers; the Ashmore Estate development; lifts for Redfern and Erskineville stations; adequate bus routes; . . . Sadly, the list is a long one!
We just want government to deliver evidence-based, open and transparent decision-making, and to leave us alone to live our lives normally!!!
WestCONnex is a joke of a project that has no valid business case – despite the spin from government and the redacted text from the “revised” business case. We need alternative proposals to be costed and compared to the purported “benefits” of WestCONnex. $16.8 billion, blowing out more and more each day – WITHOUT considering the unfunded third stage to link the M4, M4 and the Airport – can buy a hell of a lot of public transport, public housing, schools, childcare, hospitals, …
Vanessa and Gary Speechley
Vanessa and Gary Speechley

Here is Vanessa and Gary’s submission to the M5 EIS consultation process which closes at midnight tomorrow January 29th. It provides lots of ideas for other submissions.

Submission

How appropriate that we make this submission on Australia Day.

We strongly object to this project and the entire WestCONnex of which this is part, and ask that you reject this proposal on the basis of this environmental impact statement (EIS). Continue reading

Part 4 : Chris Standen finds myriad of flaws in Westconnex Traffic Model

Ed : Westconnex is transport project that is supposed to solve traffic congestion. So while the analysis of impacts on our community is important so too is the credibility of the Traffic and Transport analysis. The full details or those that are published can be found in Appendix G.In this last part of his submission, transport planner and modelling specialist Chris Standen spells out a myriad of reasons why he argues that the Traffic and Transport analysis is not reliable. While unlike Standen, the editors of the People’s M5 EIS are not experts in traffic modelling,  the levels of unknowns, complexity and uncertainty are obvious to any reader. This is of great public concern when you think that billions of Federal and state money have been committed before the EIS was even lodged. We certainly need these gaps to be filled and answers to all these questions. 

Read Parts one, two and three of Chris Standen’s submission

General Comments

The Traffic and Transport Assessment does not stand up to scrutiny. There is not enough information about the methodology, input data or assumptions for the forecasts to be independently verified.

Continue reading

Part 3 Chris Standen : Forty reasons why Westconnex fails to meet objectives

(Ed.: This is part three of a submission to the New M5 EIS process by Chris Standen, a transport modeller and specialist. Read Part One and Two.) 

Westconnex has key objectives that the whole project is supposed to meet.

The stated objectives for the project were contrived to fit the project after it had already been announced. In a democratic strategic planning process, objectives are set first based on the needs and desires of the community, and then alternative projects/policies are appraised against their ability to meet those objectives.

Westconnex’s stated objectives have no associated targets by which their achievement can be ever be determined. For example, how can it ever be determined if the objective to “maintain regional air quality” has been met?

Objectives/targets need to be:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-bound

Even though the objectives of Westconnex have been contrived to fit the project, the project still does not meet them.

Each objective below is accompanied by an explanation of why the project does NOT meet that objective. ( Ed: We counted them and there are 40) 

  1. Support Sydney’s long-term economic growth through improved motorway access and connections linking Sydney’s international gateways and south-western Sydney and places of business across the city. 
  • There is already an extensive and high–capacity road and motorway network linking Sydney’s international gateways (Sydney Airport and Port Botany), Western Sydney and places of business across the city. The operation of this network could be improved significantly with demand management such as road pricing reform. There is no need for costly and destructive new motorways.
  • The most efficient and economical way to link large trip generators is with mass transit. A single motorway lane can transport only 2000 passengers per hour, under ideal conditions. A single railway line can transport 20,000 passengers per hour.

Continue reading

Artist Wendy Sharpe: Westconnex, a whole of Sydney problem, not just for Inner West

One of Australia’s best known and celebrated female artists Wendy Sharpe lives in Erskineville in inner Sydney not far from her studio in St Peters, the suburb that will be most devastated by WestCONnex’s giant interchange at the end of Sydney Park.

Wendy bought her warehouse studio in 2002 because the old industrial area is one of the last places where there are small warehouses. It’s also not far from her home in Erskineville. If the New M5 goes ahead, Erskineville, which provides a through route between Alexandria to King St Newtown,  will be hit by even more traffic and pollution.

Wendy is currently overseas but before she left, the People’s New M5 EIS asked her how she was affected by Westconnex’s proposals. She told us that initially she was told her St Peters studio could be forcibly acquired. This was a blow not just to her but the whole neighbourhood where small affordable warehouses enabled an “enormous  concentration  of artists, musicians,designers and other creative businesses and is a short walk from vibrant King Street.”

Artist Wendy Sharpe in her inner west studio.
Artist Wendy Sharpe in her inner west studio.

Continue reading

Traffic and Transport Construction Impacts of New M5 – Summary of AECOM’s EIS

Ploughing through the whole EIS can be time consuming and tedious as there is so much repetition in the Westconnex EIS documents.

Researcher Anthony McCosker has provided us with a summary of the construction impacts as set out in New M5 EIS Appendix G on Traffic and Transport which consists of 298 pages.

This post should  be read in conjunction with Anthony McClosker’s comment on this section.

Later, we will provide a summary of the information in the EIS relating to the operation of the WestConnex project (note that some information deemed relevant to both summaries will cross over and be repeated or revisited).

Continue reading