Shire roads 'Sydney's most congested'

Slow going: Morning peak period traffic on Captain Cook bridge. Picture: John Veage
Slow going: Morning peak period traffic on Captain Cook bridge. Picture: John Veage

SUTHERLAND Shire residents battle the highest levels of road congestion in Sydney, the final report of a $250,000 NRMA study has revealed.

Research found car travel times between the shire and the Sydney CBD in peak periods were 25 per cent longer than from similar distance centres around Sydney.

The "Get Sutherland Shire moving" report says shire residents spend 84 minutes a day travelling.

This compared with 78 minutes a day on average in metropolitan Sydney, even though average trip distances were similar.

"This shows that Sutherland Shire residents on average face greater levels of congestion than the average congestion levels faced across Sydney," the report says.

The study lists an extension of the F6 from Waterfall to St Peters, including connection to the planned WestConnex motorway, as the No.1 strategy for dealing with the congestion problem.

Other recommendations include reviewing signal phasing and signal co-ordination on major roads such as Taren Point Road and President Avenue; upgrading Princes Highway, Linden Street and Heathcote Road; and introducing bus-based, public transport improvements to reduce demands for private vehicle travel.

NRMA deputy-president Michael Tynan said "long-suffering shire motorists" needed both state and federal governments to act, as well as Sutherland Shire Council.

"We know the F6 Extension will immediately reduce congestion and deliver real benefits to the community through reduced travel times, reduced emissions and less wear and tear on vehicles," he said.

The report says Princes Highway was trying to cater for inter-regional, intra-regional and local trips "at the same time and in the same space".

"'Other north-south roads such a Heathcote Road and Taren Point Road are similarly congested as there is simply insufficient north-south road capacity," it says.

"At the same time, the limited number of north-south routes means that intersections with key east-west roads such as President Avenue and Kingsway are source points of congestion, with heavy turning movements focused on these intersections.

"Long queues in turn bays are common."

THE BLOCKAGES

The top five challenges were identified as:

 Insufficient north-south traffic capacity

 Capacity issues at major intersections

 Park-and-ride capacity issues

 Insufficient bus services and bus priority for trips to subregional centres and locally

 A growing need for community transport for an ageing population

BUS, TRAIN USE

PUBLIC transport was also found to be letting down shire residents.

‘‘While train frequencies and travel times towards the Sydney CBD are comparatively very good, these benefits have led to strong park-and-ride demand at stations,’’ the report says.

‘‘These demands are not being met at many locations and overflow parking into nearby commercial and residential areas is a common consequence.

‘‘Furthermore, the rail system is focused on trips to/from the CBD (and intermediate locations) but the trend is for a diversification of travel patterns which are not well serviced by the fixed rail system.

‘‘Buses are relatively poorly used within Sutherland Shire. With limited services and no bus priority facilities, there is little incentive to use these services.

‘‘The growing importance of connections to Sydney’s southern and western subregional centres cannot be understated.’’

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