I remain firmly opposed to all stages of the WestConnex project and raise serious community concerns in relation to the proposed overpass and active transport links in Rozelle Bay (SSI-7485-MOD-2).
At all stages, the WestConnex project has imposed horrific impacts on local residents, destroyed public spaces and local amenity, and sidelined the interests of pedestrians, cyclists and local residents.
I also note that these proposed modifications are required to facilitate the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel, a project that will further compound the impacts on inner west residents, funnel greater amounts of traffic to the intersection and further expand the Government’s network of polluting toll-roads.
I also raise concerns with the impact of the project on the proposed Bays Precinct, which will now be abutted with a multilane motorway overpass.
I raise the following specific concerns with the proposed modification of the Rozelle interchange:
The proposed motorway overpass is profoundly inappropriate and amounts to the “Los-Angelisation” of the inner west.
I note the analogy made by others that this will be yet another Cahill Expressway, a Harbour-side roadway that future generations regret and resent.
It is clear that the overpass is required so as to better facilitate traffic on the Crescent and to account for the increased traffic flows stemming from the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel.
The community was promised that the interchange would be largely underground and the inclusion of the overpass is a clear validation of the concerns raised by many that building an interchange of this size would be close to impossible.
Instead, at the eleventh hour, the community is now being foisted with an overground overpass that destroys visual amenity, weakens links between the Rozelle Railyards and foreshore, and which sidelines infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.
The imposing and appalling motorway overpass should be scrapped.
Active Transport connections
The initial proposal allowed for a direct connection between the open space planned for the Rozelle Railyards and the Rozelle Bay foreshore.
Whereas the land-bridge formed a central component of the initial design, the modification relegates it and other active transport connections as mere “add-ons” to the motorway overpass.
In order to accommodate for the proposed motorway overpass, the land-bridge has been reduced in size and relocated so that a direct connection between foreshore and railyards is no longer provided.
Instead, pedestrians and cyclists will be required to navigate multiple crossing points over busy roads and intersections or take meandering, indirect routes to access the foreshore.
Multi-stage crossings pose an increased risk to cyclists, particularly when they are required to dismount, and I note the strong concerns about the impact on cyclists from cycling and active transport stakeholders.
The modification will add broken-crossings over the Crescent, meaning longer wait-times for pedestrians seeking to cross the busy road.
The proposed horse-shoe shared-path bridge does make an attempt to improve active transport links to the foreshore, but I note concerns that the bridge will be narrow, rise at a steep grade - both of which increase the risk of collisions between shared path users - and also the fact that the horse-shoe bridge is too circuitous for use as an effective active transport link.
I note that there are no proposed stairways on the bridge, which would enable pedestrians to get on and off the bridge more easily, nor are there lifts planned for the bridge, meaning that it will be less accessible for people with disability.
In essence, under this modification, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure has been “bolted on” to the proposed overpass, the result being that pedestrians and cyclists will face steep climbs, narrow paths, and longer travel times.
Additional shared paths are required to improve active transport links, particularly the ramp between the proposed land-bridge and the light rail station; along the western side of the Crescent; and the existing shared path along the south side of The Crescent from City West Link to Johnston St needs to be retained.
Bike lanterns are also required at all signalised intersections and it is critical that pedestrians be given ample time to cross these roads with long pedestrian signals.
Residents have raised with me the decimation of vegetation along the City West Link for the WestConnex project. The project has seen the loss of Baruwan Park and further degrade the foreshore at Rozelle Bay.
Throughout the duration of the construction period, the vast majority of the walking and cycling paths that remain have been de-vegetated, leaving concrete paths without shade or amenity. This will no doubt diminish the attractiveness and appeal of these paths, reducing the number of people who use them throughout construction and into the future.
I am particularly concerned that plantings on the proposed land-bridge have been reduced in size and volume, which will minimise the amenity of the bridge for both cyclists and pedestrians and make it a less attractive opportunity for walking.
Similarly, there are no plans for street-trees or other vegetation along the proposed shared paths or footpaths associated with the project. Residents have raised the fact that the City West Link is already less attractive to users due to the existing trees being cut down; there is no need to make the lack of trees and vegetation permanent with this modification.
In conclusion, the proposed modification will forever mar the harbour foreshore with an ugly and imposing motorway overpass; It will reduce the promised links between the Rozelle railyards and Rozelle Bay; and falls far short on delivering the active transport infrastructure promised by the Government.
I oppose the modification and call on the Government to implement changes to reduce the impact on local residents and improve active transport connections.