Traffic Calming in Millers Point Precinct

17/05/2021 - Traffic Calming in Millers Point Precinct

Moved by Councillor Scott, seconded by Councillor Thalis -

It is resolved that:

(A)        Council note:

(i)          the Millers Point Precinct (the Precinct) is the post-European settlement centre of heritage in Sydney. Any major/significant development or activity should be considered through that prism;

(ii)         the Precinct is surrounded by other major urban precincts and activities that can and do impact. This includes:

(a)        The Rocks (Place Management NSW);

(b)        Barangaroo (Infrastructure NSW);

(c)         The Sydney Observatory (Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences through Create NSW);

(d)        The Arts Precinct in Walsh Bay (Create NSW); and

(e)        Sydney Ports Corporation and cruise ship operations;

(iii)        the Precinct is characterised by wide streets, sometimes combined with long, flat stretches of road. This is particularly the case with Windmill, Kent, Argyle and Lower Fort Streets and Hickson Road;

(iv)       that other streets have features that result in unnecessary volumes of traffic due to unclear signage: “no through road” signage for Pottinger and Merriman Streets and one-way traffic signage for Argyle Place (east);

(v)         that heavy vehicle traffic (particularly private coaches) is returning to the precinct and parking illegally in areas (particularly bus zones reserved for public buses) that result in unsafe manoeuvring and reduced sight lines on roads for other users;

(vi)       pedestrian traffic is starting to return to pre-Covid levels, particularly with returning office workers and weekend tourists. This is in addition to the increasing number of long-term resident numbers as previously short-term rented properties are now being let on a long-term basis. This has meant an increase in families, children and companion animals;

(vii)      local residents have reported an increase in vehicles speeding through the neighbourhoods, particularly on those roads without traffic calming devices, this includes the above roads particularly;

(viii)     having regard to these features of the Millers Point streetscape, having a precinct-wide systemic approach to traffic planning and management is logical and sensible;

(ix)       in early 2020, together with the Millers Point Community Resident Action Group, City staff developed a concept plan to widen footpaths and introduce pedestrian crossings in Lower Fort, Pottinger and Windmill Streets and Trinity Avenue, to improve access and safety for pedestrians;

(x)         the Heritage Impact Statement stated that the concept plan is “not consistent with the heritage values of the area” and that “the proposed changes to the intersections would have adverse impacts on the heritage significance of the area in all locations”; and

(xi)       the City is not pursuing any changes until heritage matters are resolved; and

(B)        the Chief Executive Officer be requested to:

(i)          investigate the installation of traffic calming measures in the Precinct (including but not limited to Windmill Street, Kent Street, Argyle Street, Lower Fort Street, Hickson Road;

(ii)         investigate the implementation of a 30km/h speed trial in the Precinct as contemplated by Transport for NSW in the “Liveable Slow Streets” trial and applied in other major capital cities around the world, particularly in Europe;

(iii)        ensure that any traffic calming measures that are investigated are consistent with the area’s heritage significance and resolve any heritage matters that may arise in a timely manner to ensure pedestrian safety is achieved;

(iv)       as part of the above investigations, facilitate a Traffic Workshop with the Millers Point Community Resident Action Group (MPCRAG) in the Millers Point Community Centre to clarify all local traffic issues and potential solutions; and

(v)         report back to Council with the results of this investigation via the CEO Update at the earliest opportunity.

The motion, as varied by consent, was carried unanimously.