Roads Minister Duncan Gay has announced the introduction of new weekend clearways on Sydney’s busiest corridors as part of the NSW Government’s broader congestion busting strategy.
Minister Gay said as well as building vital new infrastructure like WestConnex, the Government was committed to immediate, targeted measures to ease congestion.
“We have extended our Motorcycle Response Team to weekends, our $246 million Pinch Point Program is unlocking bottleneck congestion and now our Sydney Clearways Strategy will improve traffic flow, particularly on weekends” Minister Gay said.
“There are 14 per cent more private vehicle trips taken on our roads each weekend if you compare traffic levels from 2001/02 to 2011/12.
“There are now more than 15 million trips using the Sydney road network each Saturday and each Sunday.
“Unlike weekdays, the weekend peak is spread across the day from mid-morning to mid-afternoon as people make multiple trips to destinations further apart for social and recreational reasons.
“The Sydney Clearways Strategy includes five priority corridors where work will commence to introduce or extend clearways and identifies other roads to be considered in future.
“Anyone can nominate a road they think should be considered for a new or extended clearway at www.transport.nsw.gov.au/clearways
“Of the utmost importance is the need to balance the needs of road users with the interests of local businesses.
“We’ve created a $21 million fund to assist in identifying alternative parking to support businesses on affected corridors.
“No clearway will be put in place unless alternative parking is identified.
“Our first new weekend clearway will come into effect in March on Sydney’s Victoria Road between 8am and 8pm and will see the relocation of 44 on street car spaces.
“We are providing alternatives for all 44 parking spaces. We have leased a site on 85 Victoria Road in Rozelle which will accommodate 20 cars, with another 24 spaces leased at the Secondary College at Terry Street to facilitate others including market stallholders.
“The operating hours of this clearway were amended after initial consultation with business, Leichhardt Council and residents.
“We all know how terrible the traffic is along Victoria Road on a weekend and we have received broad support for addressing the issue from stakeholders including the Sydney Business Chamber, NRMA and the Tourism and Transport Forum.
“Additional consultation with residents, councils and businesses will take place before this clearway is implemented, as well as those along Lane Cove Road, Mona Vale Road, King Georges Road and Princes Highway.
“There’s been initial consultation with all the affected Councils during the preparation of this strategy.
“Community consultation starts today, we will be writing to affected residents and businesses, holding information sessions and welcoming feedback via our website, dedicated phone line or email.
“At the same time we have extended our highly successful Motorcycle Response Team to weekends to help enforce road safety and manage the flow of traffic.
“From next weekend, the officers from the Motorcycle Response Team (MRT) will begin patrolling Victoria Road and will be a strong presence during the implementation of the clearway.
“The MRT targets intersections known for congestion and polices other issues including pedestrian safety and traffic flow.
“In the past 12 months during the MRT’s operation on weekdays in Sydney’s CBD there has been a 20 per cent overall reduction in crashes and a 30 per cent reduction in pedestrian crashes in the areas patrolled.
“Our $246 million Pinch Points program began in July 2011 to deliver immediate improvements to the existing road network including additional lanes and extended off ramps.
“More than 100 projects have been progressed including almost 30 infrastructure upgrades with almost another 50 under development.
“This is a whole package of measures that’s part of the record spend on roads of $15 billion in 3 successive budgets to build and upgrade our roads network,” Minister Gay said.