The NSW Government Is Planning To Reduce The Size Of Busy Sydney CBD Footpaths To Make Room For Faster Cars

Commuters wait at a bus stop on York street in Sydney’s CBD. Photo: Mark Kolbe/ Getty Images.

Loading zones, parking spots and footpaths will disappear in Sydney’s CBD under NSW government plans to widen existing roads to improve the traffic flow through the city.

The plan includes 17 road infrastructure projects within the CBD, from Broadway to Circular Quay, which would get underway next year and be completed by early 2016.

The proposal overview. Sydney City Centre Capacity Improvement.

However the plan contradicts the Baird government’s recent “part-time” cycleway along Castlereagh Street initiative, and has alarmed Clover Moore’s Sydney council over pedestrian safety.

A City of Sydney spokesman said the local council has raised their concerns about the new plan, regarding foot traffic.

“This location has more than 4000 pedestrians per hour in the lunchtime and afternoon peak periods,” she told Fairfax Media.

“This proposal would remove some of the most heavily used pedestrian space in this busy retail area.”

And according to Ausroads, the association of Australasian road transport and traffic agencies, pedestrians form the largest single road-user group.

“Most individual trips, whatever the primary mode used, begin and/or finish with a walk section, so that walking is a fundamental component of all travel,” published in Pedestrian Safety In New South Wales — Trends, Attitudes and Key Issues.

Therefore if the NSW plans are approved, reducing the footpaths could significantly impact the safety of pedestrians on Sydney’s walkways.

In fact, in the five years from 2007 to 2011, about one in seven people were killed on the road was a pedestrian.

Statistics from Roadsafety NSW reveals, “Of all crashes in which a pedestrian is killed, more than a quarter occur between 5pm and 9pm. Pedestrian injuries, particularly in the Sydney metropolitan area, peak during the mid-morning (8am to 10am) and mid to late afternoon (2pm to 7pm).”

However, the proposal says, “It realises the need to manage a competing set of demands on what is termed the ‘available street space’, including private vehicles, buses, taxis, freight/delivery vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians” and that “pedestrianisation of 40 per cent of George Street” will help to deliver an integrated transport network in the city centre.

“It is expected these changes will deliver capacity improvements of up to 27% at some intersections,” a spokesman for Transport for NSW said.

Read more here.

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