The Liberal Government promised WestConnex would mean less traffic on local roads. A year on, the cat is out of the bag—WestConnex has made inner west local traffic even worse. So much so that Transport for NSW is now proposing changes to major intersections in Haberfield, Ashfield and Leichhardt to try to manage the flow of traffic into the WestConnex tunnels. These changes are the equivalent of bandaids for a triple bypass. If they go ahead, they will make it harder for locals to go to the shops, school or work. It will make it harder to visit friends or family, and ironically it will even make it harder for inner west residents to use the toll roads that are beneath their homes. Hundreds of inner west residents have spoken up about the changes and made submissions. Their message to the Liberal Government is very clear: Wrong way. Go back.
Haberfield and Ashfield have been subjected to years of dust and disruption from the WestConnex project. Now the Government is foisting poorly thought through road changes that will further divide our suburbs and mean we spend longer and longer stuck in cars. Margaret, a resident of O'Connor Street, Haberfield, puts it in her submission best. She said, "Haberfield residents have already been unduly and negatively impacted as a community by the WestConnex development through the loss of housing and living in proximity to major roads with the attendant noise, dust, building cracking and trucks. To ask the same community to also lose ease of access to journeys in and out of their suburb is totally unreasonable." As part of the proposal, the Government plans to remove the traffic lights at Dalhousie Street and Parramatta Road and to remove the right hand turn in and out of the City West Link at Waratah Street.
These changes are designed to stop rat‑running between the City West Link and Parramatta Road as drivers try to avoid the traffic jams around the WestConnex tunnels. Instead, locals report they will make it harder for Haberfield residents to access the city CBD and will actually increase rat‑running on local streets. Vivien, who lives on Rogers Ave, says, "An observation of the intersection of Dalhousie Street and Parramatta Road during any morning peak hour, even with the lights, clearly illustrates the safety issue if the lights were removed. Motorists on Parramatta Road queueing across the intersection already regularly causes traffic to bank back on Dalhousie Street all the way back to Ramsay Street and further into Five Dock. The changes at both Parramatta Road and Dobroyd Parade will force traffic into streets with schools and childcare centres, creating another major safety issue. I believe these safety issues alone would be irresponsible, an accident waiting to happen, but access into and out of Haberfield for local residents will also be made near impossible."
Leanne and Paul, who live on Hawthorne Parade, also note that backing up traffic around Sloane Street is likely to impact ambulances getting in and out of the new ambulance station. These concerns being raised by locals are not small inconveniences; if they go ahead, these changes will fundamentally impact daily life of inner west residents and put safety at risk. The clearest example is how these changes would impact the safety of local kids trying to get to and from school. Removing the traffic lights at Dalhousie Street will funnel an additional 100 cars an hour onto Bland Street, an already busy street in a school zone immediately outside Haberfield Public School. Further down Bland Street, congestion will make it harder for students at Bethlehem College, De La Salle Ashfield and St Vincent's, while the changes at Timbrell Park will force more cars to use the roads around Dobroyd Point Public School.
Parents are already worried about their kids riding or walking to school, let alone with extra cars and trucks speeding along the local roads around them. As we all return to school and work post‑pandemic, we need to encourage walking and riding for short trips—making local roads safer particularly around our schools is key to that ambition. While the community broadly supports the proposed pedestrian overpasses and associated cycling infrastructure, they categorically reject the changes to local roads being proposed by the Government and Transport for NSW. I will leave the final word with Dee, a resident of Bland Street, who said, "We have accommodated the travel needs of greater Sydney, we bore the brunt of construction of WestConnex, we live with the traffic fallout, and now our local access to our own suburbs will be denied." It is just not good enough and these traffic changes are categorically rejected by the residents of Haberfield and Ashfield.