Most of the residents of St George never knew about the Berejiklian Government's massive new toll on the M5 East until it was introduced last year.
Now ever resident suffers the consequences of this bad decision each and every day.
If it's not the thousands of dollars we are forced to pay to use a 20 year-old road, it is the impact of the traffic flooding on to local streets to avoid this cost.
The latest victims of Gladys Berekilian's Tollmania are the residents in Bexley, Bexley North and Kingsgrove whose streets are now the target for traffic calming works designed to discourage commuters from rat running through their local streets.
Residents fear their lovely and quiet suburban streets will be ruined with speed humps, roundabouts, raised intersections and single lanes. Locals are concerned about the noise impact of additional breaking and acceleration of vehicles. Then there is the possibility of additional flooding during heavy rains.
There is also the added stress of having to negotiate the traffic calming measures every day, even on weekends when there are few rat running vehicles. Locals have every reason to resent having their peace and quiet upended to accommodate commuters from other parts of Sydney crossing through the area on the way to somewhere else.
The funding for these traffic measures comes from the Federal Government - more than $5 million - and is meant for projects that benefit the community through improved road safety, accessibility and visual amenity.
While I congratulate Bayside Council for getting this funding, I do not see how these road projects achieve any of these goals. Residents I speak to say they make their streets less accessible, less attractive, and reduce safety as cars speed through local streets as if they were an obstacle course.
Locals believe there are better places where the money could be spent, for example on dangerous traffic black spots. Or where there are bends that create blind spots. Or uneven footpaths which are an issue for people using walking frames or mobility scooters.
Make no mistake: Gladys Berejiklian's massive new toll on a road that was always free is the cause of all these traffic problems. We have to sacrifice our money to pay her toll, but we shouldn't have to sacrifice our quality of life as well.
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