Don’t let history repeat

I’ve been perusing some other sections of the EIS this week, and on pages 28-29 found a salutary reminder that the determination of the RMS to remove the shared off road path in Jesmond is simply a continuation of a pattern of behaviour that they (as the Department of Main Roads) have been engaged in before.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the DMR planned to ruin Blackbutt Reserve by building State Highway 23 through the middle of it.  It was only sustained and vociferous opposition by local activists, including Tom Farrell that foiled the madness of the DMR.

While I freely admit that the retention of a shared path in Jesmond in 2016 is on a different scale to the salvation of Blackbutt Reserve in 1974, the exact same principle is at work. Unimaginative engineers working for a Sydney based government department draw lines on a page (or computer screen), and unless the local community objects and fights, those plans come to fruition and take away the amenity, beauty and livability of this city.

Map of proposed route of State Highway 23 through Blackbutt Reserve in 1974.

One thought on “Don’t let history repeat

  1. The response from RMS planners to alternative treatments is often “There’s no budget for these facilities.” Our response is always “Well, if you included the best alternatives for active transport in the design and planning, the way you are REQUIRED to do by state management plans and Austroads guidelines, they WOULD be in the budget, wouldn’t they?”

    Traffic lights cost a lot of money. A solution which accommodates cyclists and pedestrians, including over and/or underpasses, is offset by the avoided costs of three sets of lights, refuges, etc., and would amount to a small fraction (maybe less than 1%) of the $280 million budget. If projects that are already under construction, such as WestConnex are anything to go by, they can blow out by 30% or more because of a lack of rigour and forward planning.

    It is simply unacceptable that facilities for other members of the community get sacrificed for the sake of car drivers saving maybe 5-10 minutes getting between Rankin Park and Sandgate. RMS Planners: DO YOUR JOB AND PROVIDE THE MANDATED FACILITIES THAT ARE ALSO DEMANDED BY THE COMMUNITY!

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