MACROC welcomes the opportunity to comment on The NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan Discussion Paper released in February 2012 by Transport for NSW.
The MACROC Councils, Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly, acknowledge the importance of long-term transport planning within the State Government’s overall vision for the future growth of NSW and the regions within it. The MACROC Councils have made individual submissions to Transport for NSW identifying the particular issues in the Transport Master Plan that apply to their local government areas.
MACROC understands that the Discussion Paper is looking at the issues, current trends and challenges that need to be addressed, as well as identifying priorities and formulating solutions to meet the State’s transport needs over the next 20 years. Submissions received will then be used to develop the Draft NSW Long Term Master Plan to be released in mid-2012.
The Discussion Paper poses a number of strategic questions and MACROC would like to make the following comments.
Are the objectives appropriate and comprehensive?
The objectives of the Long Term Masterplan are supported. The difficulty for the Government will be translating these objectives into strategic plans with measurable outcomes.
Do you have any other objectives to suggest for both public transport and roads?
Better public transport is critical for the sustainable growth of South West Sydney and given that this region is targeted to accommodate the majority of Sydney’s population growth in the period to 2036 provision of infrastructure needs to be a major Government priority.
Transport will need to be planned for future as well as current needs and it will need to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. Public transport is particularly important to the Growth Centres and it needs to be available for the first residents. It may need to be subsidised initially to encourage use but it is important that the Government encourage a public transport culture in areas of high population growth.
Additional provision needs to be made for infrastructure provision for new growth areas not part of the two main Growth Centres.
Should additional or different objectives be considered for the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan?
There needs to be active management of public transport growth concurrent with population growth; and population growth needs to be accompanied by growth in local employment opportunities to reduce travel times and pressure on road transport. Public transport subsidies need to be considered to encourage use of public transport.
In solving the transport problems in Sydney what transport mode should be the first priority for new investment, bearing in mind the need for a socially equitable and environmentally sustainable transport sector?
No one transport mode should have priority over others but each should be looked at as options in particular situations.
Whatever solutions are adopted need to take into consideration equity so that no groups or areas are disadvantaged.
The Macarthur region currently faces a number of transport challenges: insufficient road capacity and serious road congestion, particularly in peak periods, which means buses are delayed and miss rail connections. As a result people revert to private motor vehicles adding to the congestion. There is a need for bus priority measures and a campaign to increase regional use of public transport.
In some areas the rail network needs better connections and increased capacity. The Glenfield to Leppington rail line will benefit the region however there needs to be planning to extend that line to provide greater land use options. Wollondilly residents in particular rely significantly on private vehicles and despite the LGA having 5 railway stations there is poor take up of rail for commuter travel. The area needs improved rail services, particularly an extension of the electrification of the line south of Macarthur Station.
What do you consider to be the main priorities for investment in Sydney’s transport infrastructure?
For the Macarthur region, as in other areas on Sydney’s fringe, the main priority is to increase the travel options available to residents and that will involve substantial investment in public transport. The extension of the heavy rail electrified network will benefit many residents as will increased freight rail capacity to remove heavy vehicle traffic from local roads. Bus priority measures need to be improved and more commuter parking needs to be provided at railway stations.
Government investment should be encouraged in the establishment of large scale parking areas on the fringes of regional cities and other major business centres and transport hubs such as the railway stations along the Main Southern Railway Line. These parking areas should be served by ‘shuttle bus’ links to the centres and the transport hubs to provide efficient, safe and reliable connections, particularly for commuters and workers in the centres.
These ‘park and ride’ facilities will enable:
1. Reduction in vehicle demand on available road space;
2. Establishment of a public transport culture;
3. Support the establishment of bus priority lanes on major arterials;
4. Reduction of traffic volumes around stations and employment zones.
How can the road network be better utilised and enhanced?
Suggestions for better utilisation of Sydney’s roads include provision of public transport lanes; increased bus priority at intersections; ensuring that there is equity across all road users in the amount of tolls they are required to pay; increasing transit lanes and actively promoting their use; continuing the principle of maximising urban density close to transport nodes and investigating ways to reduce trucks/freight from urban areas.
What are your priorities for public transport in terms of frequency, reliability, cleanliness and safety?
All users of public transport are entitled to a service that is reliable, responds to their travel needs and is clean and safe. In the outer areas of Sydney there is an additional challenge and that is getting people to use public transport. More express routes, bus priority lanes and other strategies and frequent services will encourage greater use of public transport. This is particularly important in new land release areas where a public transport culture needs to be established from day one.
What criteria should determine whether light rail or bus transport should be prepared?
Use of light rail or bus transport needs to considered on a case by case basis and would need to consider the total economic cost and value as well as environmental impact. The critical thing is that major development roads need to consider the provision of transit lanes. These lanes would have the potential to be converted to light rail if that solution is appropriate in the future.
The provision of both these options needs to be considered now when planning key transport corridors.
Wollondilly has an additional issue with bus infrastructure because it is not eligible for the Country Passenger Infrastructure Grants Scheme and so it is difficult for Council to meet resident demands.
How can walking and cycling be best encouraged?
The provision of dedicated, safe, well lit cycle lanes with direct routes to major transport nodes will encourage more people to cycle as part of their commute to work. There will also need to be provision of cycle facilities where bikes can be left safely. Safe cycle and pedestrian crossing points will also encourage active transport. The Macarthur region has a number of walking and cycling paths but there needs to be additional funding for these paths to be linked.
Active consideration of the use of open space networks including stormwater management systems, to provide for cycle and pathway systems should be undertaken. In addition major rail and road systems need further consideration for inclusion of cycle facilities.
What are the current barriers to using multiple transport modes to complete a journey? How can these barriers be addressed?
In the Macarthur region there is a mix of transport modes as well as varying levels of efficiency. Some areas have very limited transport choices. To encourage residents to use public transport for the whole of their journey it is essential that bus transport is frequent and on time, that there are improved integrated timetables and better bus rail interchange facilities. For those driving to rail stations there needs to be secure parking areas. Integrated ticketing would also encourage the use of multiple modes of transport.
How can the transport requirements of Sydney Airport and Port Botany be best addressed?
MACROC recognises that there is a need for improving the capacity of Sydney Airport and to addressing the issue of freight flow from Port Botany.
However MACROC does not support the development of a second international airport in the Sydney Basin and the final resolution of this question is essential for long term transport and land use planning.
The State and Federal Governments study Joint Study on Aviation Capacity for the Sydney Region proposes an airport site at Wilton in Wollondilly LGA. Alternative options need to be rigorously explored including optimising capacity at Kingsford Smith Airport, overflow options at Bankstown or Richmond Airports as well as the development of a high speed train that could connect the major cities as well as connecting to an international airport outside the Sydney Basin.
In terms of freight movements provision needs to be made for additional efficient inter-modal terminals as well as improved capacity to existing arterial roads particularly the M5.
If there are to be more greenfield land release areas in Sydney should there be a focus on developing public transport options as part of strategic land use planning for Metropolitan Sydney? How should this policy be given effect?
Public transport provision needs to be intergral in planning all greenfield land releases.
Additional provision needs to be made for infrastructure provision for growth areas not part of the two main Growth Centres.
What are the key transport objectives for your region?
MACROC supports the focus of growth around centres and areas that are close to existing transport and other services. However increased population will mean increased pressure on these services so substantial transport and other infrastructure needs to be provided before, or at least at the same time as development occurs.
In the context of South West Sydney, the region is targeted to accommodate the greatest proportion of population growth in Greater Sydney. Because of this projected population growth, detailed planning needs to be undertaken on a sub-regional level and the draft South West Sydney Sub Regional Strategy needs to be revised in genuine consultation with local government before it is finalised.
Public transport is a vital component of an effective transport strategy. The provision of efficient public transport contributes to the well-being of the region on a number of levels: to environmental and economic sustainability as well as providing disadvantaged groups with access to essential services. The absence of efficient public transport means more car dependency by residents and all the negative impacts that accompany such dependency.
Again adequate transport is one of the major barriers to residents accessing key services in South West Sydney. Many key services for Camden and Wollondilly residents are located in Campbelltown. Improved intra-regional public transport and road infrastructure would improve access to services and a greater level of Government funding would assist in delivering better access to services for all residents of the region.
Consideration also needs to be given in the Long Term Master Plan to outer metropolitan areas such as Wollondilly where there are a significant number of residents who have to commute long distances to access employment opportunities. MACROC believes that the Transport Master Plan needs to focus on linkages within Greater Sydney. There is an opportunity now for the State Government in consultation with local government to develop local transport plans that address the issues that affect particular areas.
Key transport objectives for the Macarthur region as a whole include managing existing road travel demands; improving transport access to encourage economic growth and employment with a focus on reducing travel time; increasing the up-take of public transport by improved service provision and increased funding for road maintenance.
The MACROC Councils in their individual submissions have identified the transport priorities that relate to their LGA. These include:
• extension of the Parramatta to Liverpool Transitway;
• extension of the Transitway through Ingleburn to link the employment zones of Moorebank, Ingleburn and Minto;
• The Georges River Parkway alignment and the timing of implementation;
• upgrade of Narellan Road;
• prioritisation of the development of the Spring Farm Link Road;
• duplication of Badgally Road;
• improved access to the University of Western Sydney and TAFE precinct;
• improved on off access to the M5;
• widening of Picton Road; and
• completion of the Maldon Dombarton Rail Line.
MACROC seeks assurance from the State Government that funding will be available for the road upgrades that are urgently needed in the region, in particular Narellan Road, the Northern Road, Picton Road, as well as the “link” roads that connect the South West Growth Centre with Campbelltown, in particular, Badgally Road. There also needs to be funding dedicated to fast tracking the construction of the Spring Farm Link Road.
How can different levels of government and the non-government sector work more effectively together to improve transport outcomes for the regions?
Up until now the various government agencies have not consulted effectively with each other resulting in projects that are poorly planned and uncoordinated. Local government needs to be included in interagency groups to develop comprehensive transport planning solutions for individual regions.
These interagency groups would facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between the various stakeholders and guide capital investment both from the government and the private sector.
In what form can CountryLink best serve the needs of the regions over the long term?
Electrification of the Main Southern Rail Line need to be extended south to Picton and Tahmoor and include Menangle Park and the area identified as the Macarthur South Growth Area. Infrastructure provision must be in place prior to development to prevent dependence on private transport.
How should regional connections be improved to meet future freight and passenger demands?
The issue of a high speed train service needs to be included in the Long Term Transport Master Plan. Such a service would free up existing track capacity for increased passenger and freight services.
The impact of two intermodal terminals proposed on either side of Moorebank Avenue, Liverpool, will have a significant impact on our region, particularly Campbelltown LGA and the effect of increased traffic movements on local roads and the impact on the capacity of the F5/M5 needs to be carefully assessed.
The construction of the Spring Farm Link Road from Richardson Road to Appin Road via the Hume Highway is an essential piece of infrastructure to support future freight needs as well as the future population of the Macarthur region.
What investments are needed across NSW to improve the efficiency of freight movement?
MACROC supports investment to increase efficiencies in freight movements. Such efficiencies would reduce truck traffic on minor roads and minimise the impact on local residents.
Infrastructure Australia’s National Land Freight Strategy needs to identify what is required to achieve long term freight efficiencies and appropriate land and transport corridors need to be zoned and quarantined as part of the long term strategy.
Strategically located intermodal terminals, such as the one proposed at Glenlee in Camden LGA, would also assist effective freight movements.
How can the NSW Government best support an efficient freight system as well as meeting community expectations for safety and amenity in residential areas?
Heavy vehicle use of local roads causes a number of problems including noise issues, damage to roads designed for lighter loads, loading impacts on bridges and culverts and lack of parking and rest areas for heavy vehicles. Funding arrangements need to be established to address the issues around road maintenance.
Freight is an increasing component in the demand on these road systems with significant impact on the urban fabric within the region. The arterial roads to be used by freight should be limited to those roads that are directly linked with the Hume Highway, and be provided with appropriate access to and from the highway system.
What are the impediments to greater use of high productivity vehicles and how can these be overcome?
Current road and bridge infrastructure are not designed to carry heavy freight loads. Funding needs to be made available to upgrade roads targeted for freight movement.
How much would people be prepared to pay for further investment in the transport system and what would be the expectation flowing from these investments?
If people pay for further investment they would expect to see direct benefits to their community. Any proposal would need to demonstrate the cost benefit to consumers.
Given the limitations on funds available for future transport investment, what mechanisms should be employed to manage demand?
Pricing could be used to limit demand but this is a matter for Federal and State Governments to resolve.
Should new revenues or charges be explored to deliver the transport infrastructure needs within a realistic timeframe?
The user pays principle has merit in that those using the system contribute towards it. However care needs to be taken to ensure that communities that have poor public transport options are not being disadvantaged.
As a matter of priority the State Government needs to reexamine the role of levies in relation to infrastructure provision for land release areas. There is a marked shortfall in funding between infrastructure needs and developer contributions and this issue needs to be addressed.
The State Government may also need to reconsider its position on debt funded infrastructure for projects that have economic benefits to NSW.
If further road user pricing were to be introduced, how should this operate? For example, by distance travelled? By vehicle type? Or should it be area based?
MACROC would like more information on these options before commenting.
The provision of better public transport and improved inter regional connectivity are essential for the sustainable development of South West Sydney given that the area is targeted to accommodate the major proportion of Sydney’s growth. Provision of better public transport has beneficial environmental effects, benefits for family and community, and provides the community with better access to health, education and employment.
In addition to provision of better public transport the State Government needs to provide clear direction on how the employment set targets for South West Sydney are to be met and what assistance will be provided by the Government to support local government in meeting these targets. Identification of suitable sites for the future employment needs of the region and the transport infrastructure to support these needs should be undertaken in consultation with local government on a coordinated sub regional level.
The current review of the Metropolitan Strategy Sydney 2036 and the subsequent review of the Sub Regional Strategies provides the State Government, in consultation with local government, an excellent opportunity to improve strategic integrated land use and transport planning across New South Wales.
MACROC thanks you for the opportunity to provide input into the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan Discussion Paper. It is hoped that the comments made in this submission will be considered by Transport for NSW in conjunction with the individual submissions made by the MACROC Councils.