On December 10, the NPBA together with our federal member Anthony Albanese met with the Roads Minister Duncan Gay to discuss the impact of Westconnex on King St and the subsequent impact to our entire precinct.
This meeting came about as a result of 12 months of NPBA advocacy to protect King St from the potential and almost certain increases in clearway restrictions and removal of parking from King St. After several discussions, Mr Albanese was able to arrange this meeting for us to voice our concerns and attempt to identify solutions.
During the meeting Minister Gay gave us his unequivocal guarantee that there will be no changes to the current clearway or parking restrictions on King St. The Minister showed concern and acknowledged that any increases in clearways or reduction in parking facilities would be detrimental to businesses in the precinct.
The Minister also explained that Roads and Maritime Sydney have commenced scoping a ‘King St Gateway’, which has the intention of diverting traffic northbound via Sydney Rd and southbound via the Princess Highway as opposed to taking the King St option.
The traffic modelling undertaken by RMS as part of the Westconnex Stage 2 Environmental Impact Statement states that there will be no increase in traffic movements along King St and therefore no reason to change current restrictions. The exert from the EIS reads
‘As there would not be any significant changes to traffic volumes or no modifications to King Street are proposed as part of this project, the project would not have a significant impact on businesses or amenity along King Street.’
The NPBA identified that our initial anecdotal reporting is contrary to this and we would seek to review the data supporting the claim that there are no forecast increases to traffic on King St during and post construction.
Our concern is that when construction commences, the traffic modelling is proved incorrect and traffic movements on King St increase significantly. This would mean that RMS are left with no choice but to increase clearway restrictions.
Minister Gay has instructed his team to meet with the NPBA to provide the background data of the traffic modelling forecasts mentioned in the EIS. At this meeting, the NPBA also hopes to have further data showing potential increases to King St traffic which contradicts these findings. We are also hopeful to discuss the potential King St Gateway. This meeting is scheduled for 18 January.
Our intention for these discussions, and our entire advocacy campaign, is to find a solution that will protect King St and in turn our whole business community. We would like to thank Mr Albanese for arranging this discussion with Minister Gay and his continued support in protecting our business precinct.