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REDWatch North Eveleigh Concept Plan Submission - Traffic

REDWatch's submission on the RWA's North Eveleigh Concept Plan in June 2008 was made in two parts. This is the Traffic Impact Statement Submission.

To The Director, Urban Assessments, Department of Planning, GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001

REDWatch Traffic Impact Statement Submission on North Eveleigh Concept Plan (MP 08_0015

REDWatch makes this submission to raise our objections to a number of aspects of the Traffic and transport Impact Assessment North Eveleigh Development prepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff for the Redfern Waterloo Authority in April 2008 (TIS) as part of the “Redevelopment of Former Eveleigh Carriage Workshops Site” - Concept Plan (MP 08_0015). 

This submission compliments the more general submission made by REDWatch about the concept Plan. Such are the concerns about the TIS that we have decided to make a separate submission that just deals with the TIS report.

Lack of Disclosure in the TIS

REDWatch is concerned that the TIS did not disclose key information which was necessary during the exhibition to allow the traffic impact of the concept plan to be adequately assessed by those impacted by the proposed development.

The TIS report is very much in the “trust us we are the experts” genre. The TIS reports only on the areas that the consultants believe the traffic network is likely to have an issue or exception. It leaves out details of impacts on streets and intersections which it believes will function acceptably. Most residents in the area impacted by the development have no idea of the traffic impact on them or even if the impacts in their streets have even been assessed by the study.

It is not only the comprehensive output from the study which lacks transparency but the TIS does not disclose the base data for the model. The base traffic movements come from three different sources but the TIS does not disclose the three raw data sets nor the amalgamated data after they are blended and adjusted.

The TIS is also not careful in its labelling of data. For example the TIS Appendix B Forecast turning movements contains no explanation of what the data represents. What year does the data relate to? Is it actual counts or projected? If projected what is it projected from, to and how? What is the time frame for the “counts” – are they over 1 hour, 2 hours or a day? If they are peak hour figures are they AM or PM? When we questioned this data we were advised by the TIS consultants that these figures are forecasts from SCATS data and form the base case figures for these intersections in the model. As they do not agree with TIS table 3-2 they can not be the 8am to 9am “counts” so maybe they are the 2 hour AM counts … we are still not certain!

The problem with labelling data is also evident when trying to compare data within the report as in some places 2 hour peak figures are used, but in others 1 hour peak figures are used. As the data is often labelled ‘peak hour’ without specifying the period it covers, it not possible to determine if the data should be comparable with other data within the report. Further, in some cases the 1 hour peak figures may be from a different 1 hour peak time span. These labelling problems become particularly obvious when trying to analyse what the data says about any of the major intersections, such as the Lawson Street example later in this submission. The data sets are such that this form of analysis can not be performed. Whether this is by design or accident we are unable to say.

REDWatch, and others, have requested that the RWA and their consultants clarify key aspects of the TIS and release details of base and projected movements, intersection queue lengths etc. While we have met with and discussed a number of issues with the RWA and the TIS consultants, we have been unable to obtain key data and clarifications concerning the TIS during the exhibition period.

The RWA initially undertook to put out a series of Q&As to clarify key TIS issues, raised by REDWatch in writing and others at the open days, but these never eventuated. The consultants took the view that it was not appropriate to provide their traffic volumes.

The decision to not release the Q&As and the traffic volumes (base and projected) left the community with no option other than to object to the inadequacy of the TIS. The TIS on exhibition did not contain the information necessary for a considered response to the traffic impact of the proposed developments. Unless the Department requires such information be made publically available, residents will remain unaware of the traffic impact on them.

When we met with the RWA and the TIS consultants, the consultant kept referring to certain questions being covered in their earlier study for the RWA. A copy of this study, Preliminary Traffic and Transport Strategy for Draft Built Environment Plan (Stage 1) prepared by Parson Brinckerhoff for the Redfern Waterloo Authority in September 2006(BEP1 TIS), was requested and was subsequently made available by the RWA to us on May 31st 2008.

It should be noted that there are some significant differences between the TIS and the BEP1 TIS which need to be understood before the earlier report is used. The area covered by the BEP1 TIS included Regent & Gibbons Streets, as it also aimed to test traffic impact from development around Redfern Railway Station, which is not covered in this TIS. The BEP1 TIS did not provide information for any City Road intersections nor for Wilson Street west of Forbes Street (this means the western exit from North Eveleigh was outside the BEP1 TIS as were movements to the west from this exit).

The BEP1 TIS provided the trip assignments used from the North Eveleigh site while the final TIS contains no trip assignments although we understand that the input to the model did seem to accord with the logic of the BEP1 trip assignment. In addition the BEP1 TIS provided AM and PM peak hour intersection volumes (vph) for key intersections: pre-development; resulting from the development; and post development. No such information was provided in the TIS. This means that residents were unable to assess how the development proposed in the concept plan may impact up on them and their area in the way they would have if the movements were presented in the same form as in the BEP1 TIS prepared for the RWA.

The BEP1 TIS also provided intersection performance details, including degree of saturation and queue length, both pre and post modification. None of this information is disclosed in the latest TIS.

REDWatch requested, again in writing, that the RWA release the same level of detail for trip assignment, and intersection movements and functioning for the TIS as was provided in the BEP1 TIS. This information was also never released.

REDWatch hence requests that the Department require the applicant to release the additional information necessary to allow residents to properly assess the TIS. The Department of Planning should extend the exhibition period to allow residents to make fully informed submissions about the traffic impact of Concept Plan based on the additional data we have requested.

Basis of Submission

REDWatch has received clarification from the RWA and the TIS consultants on some of the issues we have raised with them and we have appreciated the clarification received. In the case of some other issues raised the information requested has been denied (as mentioned above) or the answers have skirted or avoided the issues raised. For the purposes of this submission REDWatch must address the TIS as it was exhibited, and point out issues that we feel need to be clarified or changed prior to the Concept Plan being granted approval by the Department of Planning.

Sydney University and the DGRs

The Director General’s Requirements (DGRs) for the Concept Plan require the RWA’s TIS to address and assess “cumulative impacts on the local and subregional area including the future development by University of Sydney, and develop a traffic network model to determine impact(s)”.

The TIS appears to have been constructed with a very restricted view of this DGR requirement. The TIS appears to confine itself only to the impact of the University’s proposed Abercrombie Street Campus as covered by the University’s major project preliminary application and not to the broader “future development of the University of Sydney” known to it.

The TIS acknowledges that “The RWA and the University jointly appointed PB to develop a micro-simulation model (Paramics) to test current and future traffic conditions” (page v). Recently The University of Sydney Campus 2020 Masterplan – Building the Future University has become available. It can be downloaded from Central to this plan is the rebuilding of the entire Darlington Campus and the closure of Butlin Ave which is one of the major access points into the study area. The TIS consultants clearly were aware of this Masterplan but choose not to model it. The TIS states that:

“The University of Sydney also had a number of options for the road network it wished to test that have not been included in the assumptions of the current modelling. One option the University wished to consider was closure of Butlin Avenue to through vehicle traffic in accord with the University Master Plan”(TIS p45).

The closure of Butlin Ave would see all traffic proposed to enter Darlington and North Eveleigh via this route needing to use Shepherd Street or Darlington Road & Golden Grove Street. We would envisage it would also have implications for the phasing on the City Road – Carillion Road lights as more traffic would need to turn right. Due to the lack of information in the TIS on traffic on key roads, it is not possible to quantify the level of traffic that would need to redirect through the alternative entrances to Darlington sites.

The Butlin Ave / Maze Crescent Forecast Turning Movements (TIS Appendix B) [Base data] only indicates movements out of Darlington at 538 but provides no inwards movements. The Darlington Street turning movements are not covered in the Appendix at all and while Cleveland Street / Shepherd Street is covered it does not provide turning figures to indicate expected traffic movements. Given the lack of reporting of the alternative intersections under the TIS and the known traffic in Butlin Ave the TIS statement that “modifications to the precinct design should impact little on the conclusions of the cumulative study” (TIS p45) could only be justified on a restrictive view of the University’s future development and is totally misleading when the University’s Campus 2020 proposals for the Darlington Campus and Butlin Ave are taken into account.

Any proposed changes to the University road network, especially the potential closure of one of the major entrance roads to Darlington, the University’s Darlington and Abercrombie Street campus and the North Eveleigh development, must be assessed under the DGRs. A narrow interpretation of the “future development by University of Sydney” which is limited to only to the Abercrombie Street Campus creates a TIS that does not accurately show the true traffic impacts of the University’s plans.

Given the restrictive view taken by the TIS on the “future development by University of Sydney” it is important to also check what has been factored into the model for both traffic and pedestrian numbers from known expansion at the University. There is for example no indication that the TIS includes any traffic and transport impacts resulting from the Sydney University’s Campus 2010 expansions which are nearing completion. They include the Law School coming back onto main campus, and any impact from the new ‘Sydney Central’ building and the redevelopment of the School of Geosciences.

The Sydney Uni Campus 2020 Masterplan states that “since 1990, the number of students (EFTSU) has grown from approximately 23,000 to nearly 36,000 and is projected to reach approximately 40,000 by 2010” (p21). It is not clear from the TIS if the study has taken into account growth in the main and Darlington campus outside that which is proposed for the new Abercrombie Street Development.

Obviously the extent to which Sydney University expansion may include purchase of some of the site covered by the RWA’s Concept Plan and includes the Concept Plan for the Abercrombie Street campus, the impact is included already in part in the current TIS. However if the University is not successful in acquiring the site there may be an added impact from the University needing to fit more development within its current boundaries.

The Department needs to be sure that the model has adequately included both the current University impact on the area, as well as the future development proposed by the University. On this basis REDWatch requests the Department require the applicant to produce a TIS report which adequately includes the “future development by University of Sydney”

To the extent that it is possible to assess the TIS, REDWatch is of the view that the TIS currently does not adequately meet the DGRs requirement that TIS address and assess “cumulative impacts on the local and subregional area including the future development by University of Sydney, and develop a traffic network model to determine impact(s)”.

The New Traffic Model

The Department DGRs required the proponent to prepare a “traffic network model to determine impact(s)”. The TIS has done this in the form of “a micro-simulation model using Paramics software” (TIS p vii).  This model was not available for the BEP1 TIS so the only information concerning it is in the TIS.

As this is a previously untested model it is important for the accuracy of the model that its fit with surrounding areas, its assumptions and operation be fully assessed to ensure its reliability.

The Department needs to ensure that the model provides an accurate representation of the area and the traffic impacts of the proposed developments. With the level of information available we are unable to ensure the model’s accuracy. Some of the issues that must be taken up in assessing the model’s adequacy, in addition to the University issues just discussed, are raised below in this submission.

The Study Area

We submit that the report is deficient in that the Darlington study area defined in the TIS omits the Lawson St / Gibbons St intersection and omits the impact of left hand turn traffic at Cleveland St queuing down Regent St on the functioning of the Lawson / Gibbons intersection.

As mentioned earlier the TIS does not disclose trip assignments. However, assuming that the TIS model is similar to the BEP1 TIS assignment, approx 45% of the traffic from the Darlington area’s development will leave the area via the intersection of Lawson St with the Gibbons St arterial road twin pair. The functioning and impact of this intersection is therefore critical to the traffic impact of the proposed development. 

According to the BEP1 TIS the LoS on this intersection went from B to C as a result of the North Eveleigh development and the attractor of developments around Redfern Station with queue lengths of 272m AM and 353m PM. The TIS uses higher development generated traffic numbers from North Eveleigh than the BEP1 TIS. It increases inwards movements from 567 to 1031 and outwards movements from 296 to 570. This would indicate that there would be further deterioration on level of service, increased waiting times and a lengthening of queues on this intersection following the development of North Eveleigh, the Abercrombie Street campus and the developments around Redfern station.

The Lawson St / Gibbons intersection is also important as traffic here impacts upon both bike traffic and high AM peak pedestrian movements that share parts of Lawson St as it is currently the only way across the rail corridor between Cleveland St and MacDonaldtown / Erskineville / Newtown.

As the Lawson St / Gibbons intersection has been excluded from the TIS it is not possible to assess its LoS nor the final traffic count using the intersection. In the same way that the Department has required the RWA to include the impact of the University expansion in the TIS, the Department should also require the RWA to include the impact of developments proposed under its BEP including all the attractor figures taken in account in the BEP1 TIS. It should also include the likely impact from the Aboriginal Housing Company’s proposed development and the other BEP allowed developments including the station and the commercial core.

We also submit that the report is deficient in that the study area defined in the TIS omits the area to the south and west of the Wilson St / Burren St intersection.

In our view the TIS wrongly assumes that traffic travelling west from the site that turns left  at Wilson and Burren can easily dissipate into the surrounding area without added impact and hence excludes it from the TIS. Surrounding street closures, turning restrictions and railway lines make dissipation of traffic into the surrounding areas only possible when traffic reaches King St or has passed the Erskineville rail bridge.

Traffic exiting Wilson St via Burren St into Albert St and then Charles St or John St first must negotiate pedestrian access to MacDonaldtown station and a problematic stop sign at the Albert / Charles intersection before making a non traffic light controlled exit right onto busy Erskineville Rd and thence to King St, or left over the railway line at Erskineville Station. The TIS should include traffic impact assessment in Charles St and John St to assess traffic impact on these streets.

We submit that the western extremity of the study area should have been bounded by and included Erskineville Rd from Erskineville Station to King St with the inclusion of the one way section of Wilson St going east to Burren St.

In general terms we submit the study area for the Darlington model should cover the area bounded by the surrounding arterial roads i.e. Gibbons St, Cleveland St, City Rd, King St, Erskineville Rd and the Erskineville to Redfern Station rail corridor. This then allows the traffic impact to be assessed leaving and entering the local area at all the intersections with the surrounding major road networks.

Listed below are the main intersections with arterial roads and the LoS information where available. The TIS supplies no information as to the impact on these intersections in terms of increased traffic through the intersection as a result of the developments, the degree of saturation (DoS) or queue length. As there is little room to alter arterial light cycles, provision of such information is important for residents to assess the traffic impact of the proposed development.

  • Lawson St – Gibbons St (not in TIS) (LoS C in BEP1 TIS)
  • Regent St – Cleveland St (not in TIS) (Bank up impacts LH turn ex Lawson)
  • Abercrombie St – Cleveland St (TIS LoS C)
  • Shepherd St – Cleveland St (TIS LoS C)
  • Cleveland St – City Rd (TIS LoS C)
  • Butlin St – City Rd (TIS LoS B)
  • Darlington St – City Rd (TIS LoS A)
  • Forbes St – City Rd (Not in TIS)
  • Queen St – City Rd (TIS LoS A)
  • Charles St – Erskinville Rd (not in study)

The Base Data

Unlike the BEP1 TIS, the Concept Plan TIS does not provide comprehensive base line data for key intersections within the study area. The TIS refers to various data sources used but does not indicate how it constructed its “counts” from this base data and why. It also does not deal with any variations between its data sources or with any variances or confidence levels with the data. The result is that the model calibration charts compare the model against the “counts” without disclosing the basis of the “counts” or in the terms of Appendix B “forecast counts”.

What is of concern with establishing the base counts is that the results accurately reflect traffic movements through the area. The importance of the University to traffic movements in the area means that the date counts are made to establish base line data, need to take into account the University terms, as well as the usual spreads of traffic over the week, month and year, and other variations that may arise e.g. school holidays or the weather on the survey dates.

We note that for one data set, PB conducted site visits to non signalised intersections for traffic counts by vehicle type during the University holidays (12 & 13 February). We would expect these counts to underestimate local traffic movements due to university holidays. We are not in a position to determine if SCATS data for Tuesday 13 March 2007 or counts for the Tuesday 11 April 2006 were typical. Presumably there are protocols for establishing what a statistically valid process for establishing traffic counts.

We are a bit surprised that only one or two days figures have been used. We would have expected to see base line data determined over a number of days to rule out random factors on a single day, which may distort the model. We would also have expected some random subsequent checks to verify the results for the period were typical.

The Department needs to be convinced that the traffic data used in the TIS accurately reflects peak traffic movements (day and month) through the area as we are unable to verify this from the TIS.

Traffic Growth

REDWatch is concerned about the method for calculating traffic growth in the TIS. If the RTA model figures are to be used then we are of the view that the rate could be double the rate used for the TIS. The impact of underestimating the traffic growth could be equivalent to 72% of the total additional traffic the TIS attributes to the Darlington developments if the higher figures are correct.

Page 41 of the TIS uses traffic growth in the RTA model to calculate AM peak 2 hour growth at 0.9% pa. To obtain this figure the TIS includes traffic data projections for arterial roads including City Rd, King St, Cleveland St and Carillion Ave in addition to data from Abercrombie, Wilson, Codrington and Lawson within the Darlington area.

If growth is calculated from the data for only the streets within the Darlington area then the traffic growth is 16.74% between 2007 and 2016. This would be consistent with more traffic using Darlington to avoid congestion on King St (especially when clearways are not operating) or to avoid Regent St and Cleveland St.

We note that the BEP1 TIS found virtually no increase in volume when comparing data from November 2001 (unknown if in Uni term) and April 2006. The BEP1 TIS also noted a decrease in RTA traffic volumes in the area between 1999 and 2002, but noted they may result from the opening of the Cross City Tunnel (BEP1 TIS). We note that the opening of the Eastern Distributor will have had some effect and, depending on the RTA base year, that the introduction of traffic calming measures in the precinct, following a council study in 1994 to reduce rat running through the area, may also account for some differences.

It is clear from our discussions that Parsons Brinckerhoff that the 2007 RTA figures are themselves projections and the TIS authors believe the real rate is below the 8% used. We are not in a position to assess these arguments. However if the RTA Traffic growth figures are to be used, as they have been in the TIS, then it is plain that the selection of declining arterial trends into the calculation halves the rate of growth shown if only streets within Darlington had been used to calculate growth.

It should be noted also however, that to the extent that changes to prevent rat running through the area may have influenced projected figures, there is concern that this will be undone by the TIS proposals for changes to Abercrombie / Shepherd and Abercrombie / Lawson intersections and the probable sign posting exists from the area. These changes are likely to result in increased movements through Darlington by traffic avoiding King St and Cleveland St.

We reject one argument put to us by the consultants that increased traffic from the development will deter future rat running in large part because the restrictions on King St, which many seek to avoid, do not coincide with peak hour periods within Darlington.

REDWatch submits then that should the proponent use the RTA figures for calculating growth then the model should be run at a growth of 16.74% between 2007 and 2016 and not at the 8% used for this period.


REDWatch is unable to comment on the technical calibration of the model. In large part this is because of the limited availability of intersection count data so that actual movements and route selection can not be tested against the model. Such data should be made available so it is possible to assess the model against reliable traffic count data, intersection by intersection.

The release of this data is especially important because we understand models can be within an acceptable GEH and yet still have a significant error at street and intersection level. This may be particularly the case where the model includes a mix of high traffic arterial roads like this model and an area constrained by arterial roads. In this case the parameter choices in the model may not accurately reflect driver choices. For example many in the area will avoid King St at all times which is contrary to the model calibration of major links over minor links.

We note that the screen line calibration GEH is good on NB/EB movements but is weak at 3.9 on SB/WB movements (page 36). We would have liked to see the TIS disclose the margins for error within the model.


REDWatch is concerned that the TIS documents note the existing pedestrian route from Redfern Station towards the University, but it does not assess the traffic impact on this pedestrian traffic. The TIS says of pedestrians:

“The main pedestrian movement corridor in the study area is along Lawson Street and Abercrombie Street with significant university pedestrian traffic moving between the Redfern railway station and the Darlington and Camperdown Campuses of the University of Sydney. This key route has a narrow pavement on both sides of Abercrombie Street between Shepherd Street and Ivy Street that at peak times can lead to the pedestrians walking in the road. Pedestrians mostly use the southern side of Lawson Street and then Abercrombie Street crossing to the north side of the street at the scatter crossing on the intersection of Abercrombie Street and Shepherd Street. At the Abercrombie / Shepherd intersection pedestrian traffic divides with pedestrians continuing along Abercrombie to Codrington Street and pedestrians travelling north along Shepherd and via a walkway on to the Camperdown Campus.” (TIS p 11)

Surprisingly, given this statement which documents the existing conflict between pedestrians and vehicles along this narrow route, the TIS does not address the impact of further increases pedestrians on this route, nor does it address the impact of increased vehicular traffic upon the pedestrian traffic.

Of major concern is the Abercrombie / Shepherd intersection. This intersection may be the main vehicle entrance to the North Eveleigh site but it is also the major intersection for pedestrian traffic travelling down the southern side of Abercrombie St to cross to the University walkway in Shepherd St. This intersection was scrambled in part to try and stop students walking across Abercrombie between Lawson and Shepherd and across Shepherd between Abercrombie and Lander. The re-phasing of the lights is likely to see increased uncontrolled student movement across the roads rather than at crossings and returns a major problem to the area. While we appreciate that increased traffic leads to less “gap acceptance” and greater light compliance we are not convinced that the three different possibilities for this intersection in the TIS have factored in the large numbers of pedestrians that need to cross Abercrombie and Shepherd Streets and the potential traffic turning conflicts.

The TIS recognises generally that a “direct, safe and accessible pedestrian network is critical” (TIS p4) but it has not planned for such an outcome. The TIS contains no pedestrian counts. The only indication in the TIS is that “Surveys undertaken by State Rail in 2001 revealed that during the morning peak (6:00 am to 9:30 am) up to 62 percent of passengers (2,209 people) exiting Redfern station - travelled west along Lawson Street in the direction of the university.” (TIS p 15). In addition to those leaving the station there are the people who come in by bus and those who walk from the east and the south of the station and cross the railway line at Lawson St as it is the only way to the University from these directions.

In 1994 South Sydney Council commissioned Aldovale and Traffix to undertake a Darlington Precinct Traffic Management and Pedestrian Network Study. The traffic calming features in the area have their origins in this study although not all recommendations were implemented. This 1994 study found “pedestrian counts showed 2,300 people walking from Redfern Station in the half hour before lectures at 9am” (Page 9 of Consultation Draft). The figures in this study were higher than State Rail in 2001.

As mentioned earlier the Sydney Uni Campus 2020 Masterplan states that “since 1990, the number of students (EFTSU) has grown from approximately 23,000 to nearly 36,000 and is projected to reach approximately 40,000 by 2010” (p21). Based on these figures the number of students using this route would have increased significantly in the last 14 years and is set to increase by a further 10% in the next two years. Accurate count figures are required to be able to adequately assess the pedestrian movements that need to be accommodated. As peak pedestrian movements coincide and conflict with peak vehicular movements they must be dealt with in the TIS.

The only pedestrian traffic likely to be diverted from the Lawson Street bridge and use the proposed new pedestrian bridge referred to in the TIS (which is not part of the North Eveleigh Concept Plan currently on exhibition) are those coming from the south. Student pedestrians tend to take the shortest distance between two points. It is unlikely that they will change from using Lawson Street to leave the station to take a longer route via the new pedestrian bridge.

The TIS itself envisages station access from the development to be via Little Eveleigh (and then currently Lawson St) rather than via the new pedestrian and cycle bridge. It states “The most significant pedestrian routes are likely to be between the North Eveleigh site and Redfern Station, and the wider Redfern area via Wilson Street and Little Eveleigh Street, and the route between North Eveleigh and Redfern, via the proposed pedestrian and cycle bridge over the railway lines.” (TIS p 12).

One implication of the mode splits not investigated in the TIS is how the new 2,936 North Eveleigh pedestrians (public transport users and walkers) and the 4,972 Abercrombie Precinct pedestrians (public transport users and walkers) interact with the area’s increased motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the 2 hour AM peak period.

There is a clear need for a broader movement study that addresses these pedestrian issues and their interaction with motor vehicle and bike movements. The TIS does not do this.

Abercrombie and Shepherd Street Intersection

The main conflict between pedestrian traffic and motor vehicles will come at the Abercrombie / Shepherd St crossing. The TIS proposes changing the scrambled lights which facilitate crossing from the high pedestrian southern side of Abercrombie to the western side of Shepherd St near the university pedestrian entrance. The scramble crossing was introduced to encourage use of the intersection for crossing rather than at the site of the now removed Pedestrian Crossing midway between Lawson and Shepherd Sts (where students continued to cross for some years after it was removed) or the uncontrolled crossing of pedestrians across Abercrombie and Shepherd Sts.

It is not plain from the TIS what is proposed for this intersection. The TIS puts up what could be three solutions almost interchangeably – these solutions are “adjusting signal timings to 90 second phases, or alternatively, additional turning lanes could be introduced at the expense of on street parking” (TIS pp vi, vii & 48) or “normal pedestrian staging and adjusting signal timings is intended from 60 seconds all day to 70 seconds in the AM peak and 80 seconds in the PM peak” (TIS pp vi & 39).

While the TIS consultants have provided us with helpful information on the operation of both scramble and two way intersections, we have not been supplied with information about what the sequence of lights needs to be to allow for turning traffic across the pedestrian movements which is a significant requirement of this intersection. Similarly while we have requested details of pedestrian counts and how they would be handled through this intersection the TIS consultants have been silent on this aspect.

While the TIS shows there may be three options for addressing the traffic through this intersection we are of the view that there needs to be an assessment based on the numbers of pedestrians expected to be using this intersection. The final solution needs also to look at what is best for pedestrians to minimise the number of students crossing against the lights and in high risk movements through gaps in traffic.

Changes to the Abercrombie / Shepherd St lights must take into account both the logistics of moving more pedestrians through the lights as well as the increased number of motor vehicles. Increased footpath holding space for pedestrians potentially conflict with space needed to accommodate extra turning lanes. Increased pedestrian waiting time at traffic lights increases not only the holding area required but also the likelihood that pedestrians (especially those running late for class) will cross Abercrombie and Shepherd against the lights in an uncontrolled manner for the full length of the block thus increasing the risk of injury and the need for vehicles to travel more slowly.

Even using the Council 1994 pedestrian count a 90 second pedestrian cycle means the intersection has to, between 8.30 and 9am, handle on average 115 people per cycle. In addition to this volume you have to include the peak half hour proportion of the 4,972 Abercrombie Precinct pedestrians that will come from Redfern Station as part of the development (TIS p 44); the proportional growth of students from 1994 to 2008 (1900: 23,000 to 2008 36,000 USyd MP p 21) and the impact of pedestrian clustering due to train discharge patterns.

The TIS has to ensure that the Abercrombie / Shepherd St intersection solution works for pedestrians as well as vehicles and the TIS currently does not adequately demonstrate this.

Abercrombie and Lawson St Intersection

The TIS also proposes changes to the Abercrombie / Lawson St intersection. While this does not appear to involve changing light cycle times the introduction of extended turning lanes will need to interact with high pedestrian levels on the south sides of Lawson and Abercrombie Sts while not impacting on pedestrian lights and pedestrian blisters. The TIS has not addressed the impact of these changes on Ivy Lane and Ivy St both of which are in very close proximity to the intersection and neither of which have pedestrian crossings.

Prior to the road closure between Little Eveleigh and Wilson Sts, the turn from Ivy Lane onto Lawson St was restricted to left turn only because of impaired visibility when trying to make a right hand turn. This restriction didn’t last long because of police use against the no right turn sign and the signs were being taken down as quickly as council put them up. The present situation which allows right hand turns sees a significant level of dangerous movements across both pedestrian flows and often fast traffic turning from Abercrombie St into Lawson St. The impact of the proposed changes to traffic volumes and to the structure of this inter section must address this traffic black spot.

Ivy St south of Abercrombie St which has no Pedestrian Crossing currently carries a low volume of traffic, but this is likely to pick up significantly as a route to the east entrance to the North Eveleigh site as traffic seeks to avoid the Abercrombie / Shepherd St intersection with its slowed light cycle and decreased level of service. Currently the TIS does not address this problem. In addition to existing traffic it is expected that there will be significant additional pedestrian and bike traffic discharging into Ivy St as a result of the proposed pedestrian and bike bridge linking to the ATP and Alexandria. Installation of pedestrian crossing at Abercrombie Street across Ivy street is essential and the possibility of Ivy St south being a shared zone should be considered. 

Ivy St to the north of Abercrombie is now getting increasing student activity with the activation of the street with retail food service on the northern side of Abercrombie St. This intersection does not have a pedestrian crossing. Currently traffic exiting Ivy St north mainly turns left to go to Redfern and beyond via Lawson St. At present few motor vehicles access Ivy St south across Abercrombie St from the north side. This is likely to change as it becomes an alternative way to enter Wilson St and the eastern entrance to North Eveleigh. Given the proposal to adjust the Lawson / Abercrombie intersection the Ivy St / Abercrombie St intersection just meters from it also needs to be addressed.

Lawson and Gibbons

The Lawson / Abercrombie intersection was one of the two intersections that have comparable data between the BEP1 TIS (p52) and the TIS (p 35). As the Lawson / Gibbons intersection was excluded from the TIS, which we have already argued is a major shortcoming in the TIS, extrapolating from the Lawson / Abercrombie data is the only way to get an understanding of what might be happening at Lawson / Gibbons and exploring what the figures tell us.

Both the BEP1 TIS and the TIS use the same starting “counts” for traffic turning into Lawson St from Abercrombie St. Between 8am and 9am 423 vehicles travelled east and 353 travelled west.

The other data in the TIS for Lawson Street and Abercrombie Street intersection is that in ‘Appendix B Forecast turning movements’. We have been advised by the TIS consultants that the inadequately labelled Appendix B figures form the numbers in the base case. It is clear they do not tally for Lawson St with the 1 hour “counts” in the link flow calibration (TIS p35), so it would appear that they must be 2 hour movement figures. If this is so then they are comparable with the RTA 2 hour AM peak figures (TIS p41) of 1319 travelling east and 968 travelling west. The Appendix B figures show 676 movements east (51% of RTA) and 484 movements west (50% of RTA).

As discussed earlier the TIS authors have informed us that they believe there are major problems with the RTA data. A 50% difference certainly indicates some major issues between the RTA figures and the TIS “counts” and underlines the importance in establishing accurate base data. The use of the “counts” and the use of the vastly different RTA figures for growth estimates make those reading the TIS very nervous and bring into question in people’s minds the accuracy of the TIS.

The BEP1 TIS predicted a post development peak hour intersection volume of 585 easterly movements and 607 westerly movements (BEP1 TIS 52). However for the current study peak 2 hour movements increased from 863 in the BEP1 TIS (p49) to 1601 in the TIS (p43). Based on the Trip Assignment in the BEP TIS (p 50) 45% of newly generated traffic was expected to enter or leave by Lawson St which should have added at least an extra 166 peak hour vehicles (based on a conservative 1hour peak at half the 332 2hour peak). This alone would constitute an increase of at least 14% above the BEP1 TIS for the current TIS.

While we have verbally been advised by the TIS consultants that there was an attractor effect from the Railway / Gibbons St Developments also modelled in the BEP TIS, we note that the BEP1 TIS traffic assignments (p50) make no such allocation down Lawson and there is no information detailing where else this attractor may have been added. In any event when the Regent & Gibbons Street core develops and when buildings associated with the station are built any included attractor effects in the BEP1 TIS will be actualised.

On the BEP1 TIS figures (p 56) the AM peak queues go from 188m pre-development to 272m post the North Eveleigh development with PM peak queues going from 159m to 353m, and AM Degree of Saturation of 0.84 and a PM DoS of 0.91. To these figures we need to add the impact of the 166+ extra Lawson St movements from the increase out of North Eveleigh plus the difference in background growth assumption between BEP1 TIS (0.5pa) and the TIS (0.9%). All of which points towards the possibility that the LoS ‘C’ on Lawson and Gibbons reported in the BEP1 TIS may have deteriorated in the current TIS and that the Degree of Saturation in both the AM and PM peaks will have approached closer to 1.0 where significant delays can be generated. The TIS does not address any of these problems and excludes the Lawson / Gibbons intersection and Lawson St Bridge from the study area.

What makes this potential problem a major issue is that Lawson intersects with a major arterial road and there is limited room for phasing adjustment, as well as limited room for vehicle stacking due to the intersection being just over the railway bridge that must also carry large numbers of pedestrian and cyclists.

This example starkly underlines the problem for those trying to both understand and discuss the TIS. It brings together many of the issues which REDWatch believes need to be addressed before the TIS should be accepted as adequate by the Department of Planning. As stated earlier it is our view that the TIS should have provided clear, transparent figures on its base data and clear information about how the model it has constructed expects vehicles to enter and leave the study area’s intersections with the surrounding arterial roads.

The TIS would have been more understandable and its implications clearer for residents if peak hour data (as 1 or 2 hours) was clearly labelled and if the at least one set of comparable figures was included for the model (in either daily movements, peak 2 hour or peak 1 hour movements). The decision by the RWA not to release such information made it extremely difficult to assess the traffic impact from the proposed development.

The queue figures mentioned above from this BEP1 TIS example also underline that there are differences between AM peak and PM peak traffic movements due to the structure of the arterial road intersections. The TIS has only considered AM peak movements and does not address PM movements, which in the case of Lawson St, is more congested in the afternoon. There are important differences between AM and PM route availability due to no right turn restrictions into Cleveland St at both Abercrombie St and Regent St. The result is that Cleveland St traffic from the east can enter the study area easily at Abercrombie St, but to leave the study area to get to Cleveland St it has to use either Shepherd or Lawson. The TIS must examine major intersections in both the AM and PM peaks as well as assess if traffic flow improvements to handle peaks will increase non-peak rat runs through the study area which follow primarily from congestion on King St.

It should be noted also that congestion on Lawson St is a major determinant on emergency vehicle response times due to the limited options to cross the rail corridor. We note that the TIS confines itself to provisions for emergency services within the Concept Plan site but does not address the possible impact of traffic congestion on Lawson St for emergency vehicle assess to the site and the surrounding area. Long queue lengths and LoS on Lawson / Gibbons Sts and Lawson / Abercrombie Sts will impact emergency vehicles and this must be fully assessed in the TIS.

Wilson Street Issues

In the same way that the TIS takes little account of pedestrians there is concern that the TIS has not adequately addressed the interaction between motor vehicles and bicycles as well as bicycle pathways and storage requirements on the North Eveleigh site. The Wilson St bicycle route runs across both entrances to the site. Currently there is no cross traffic across this route in Darlington.

According to the TIS (p43) there will be 1466 motor vehicles leaving the North Eveleigh site through the Shepherd St entrance in the AM peak period across the Wilson St bikeway. The TIS has no assessment of this new intersection nor does it propose how the conflict between traffic entering the path of the bicycle route will be handled other than “warn motorists that cyclists are likely to be present” (TIS p 59).

The relocation of the Wilson / Shepherd St roundabout to accommodate articulated vehicles potentially creates problems for both bicycles due to the relocation of the new roundabout and to pedestrians who have to cross further in to the site to avoid turning traffic. The impact of this intersection on pedestrians and bicycles should be assessed with a view to ensuring safe movement by all users. This may require pedestrian crossings or lights.

While the expanded entrance / exit to the western end of the site is expected to have much less traffic, again there needs to be provision for safe pedestrian and bike movements. There is concern that unaccompanied children use this street on their way to school and that due to articulated vehicle access it will not be possible to add a blister. A pedestrian crossing is probably required.

The position of the western North Eveleigh exit needs to be fully assessed. There is considerable concern about the path taken by some of the existing CarriageWorks traffic from the site into Queen St. Locals report traffic moving from this exit to Queen St diagonally and say that there has been an increase in accidents. While Queen St is one way towards King St, it is narrow and two way near Wilson St and entering vehicles may meet exiting vehicles and need to back out into Wilson Street. Queen Street also has a deep dip which makes anything but slow entrances problematic which compounds the problems for those making a diagonal dash. If the exit is to remain in its current location this issue has to be addressed.

From a motor vehicle point of view the exit to the site would be far better to line up with either Forbes St (as per the earlier master plan) or Golden Grove St (as the main link to Wilson, City Rd and Abercrombie). We were advised verbally by the TIS consultants that the three T intersections work better for cycle and pedestrian safety than a four way intersection. Given the current problems with movements to Queen St the exit needs to be rethought and a better solution achieved.

A move to align with Forbes or Golden Grove Streets would also address concerns from those backing onto Ivery’s Lane, who fear that the proximity to the lane combined with the land drop to their properties will result in exhaust fumes from the current exit gravitating onto their properties with consequent health risks.

It should also be noted at the western end of the site that there is currently no provision in the North Eveleigh concept plan for pedestrian movements from the site to MacDonaldtown Station other than via the Wilson St access. Given the mode split for public transport there needs to be easy access from the proposed development to MacDonaldtown station. This provision should be included into the approved Concept Plan.

Street Capacity

Streets like Shepherd and Queen are narrow and are not suited to having significant traffic volumes. Other than the reference to articulated vehicles, the TIS does not investigate the structural capacity of streets in the area to handle increased traffic. We are advised that Railcorp uses small buses through the area as a result of such issues and there is fear that street like Shepherd St will be unable to handle heavy and increased traffic without problems to the road and surrounding buildings. We have also been advised, but can not verify that Forbes Street has a weight limit.

While the TIS identifies that articulated vehicles can not leave by certain routes due to weight limitations and it does not identify the problematic routes. It notes however “PB has made an assessment of suitable routes and would recommend that all heavy vehicle traffic should be directed from City road via Golden Grove Street into Wilson Street”.

This route takes heavy vehicles through a roundabout at the intersection with Abercrombie which includes one of the main pedestrian crossings for the Primary School on the corner. The TIS needs to investigate the impact of this traffic upon the safety of the school and children travelling to and from the school. Increased traffic, especially heavy vehicles, next to school crossings are a major cause for concern and has to be addressed in the TIS.

Mode Share Issues

This is one of the most difficult balancing acts in planning such a development. Traffic generated is dependent on the mode shares assumed and parking built into the project. The higher the level of parking the more traffic is generated and project is likely to impact less on the on-street parking available to surrounding residents. The lower the parking the lower the traffic generated and the more pressure that is likely on the parking for surrounding residents. We are sure the department will get many submissions on this and will not argue for either and increase or a decrease in parking or the various mode shares.

We are however concerned that the TIS mode share figures are very dependent on the ability of the public transport system to provide a viable alternative to car use. While the consultants have been happy to point to recent increased public transport patronage to support this mode share split they do not seem to have also taken on board the converse, which is that high patronage levels has pushed some public transport to their capacity constraints.

This is particularly an issue for inner city access to busses where proximity to a bus route (TIS p26) does not equate with ability to access bus transport. Many services are full before they enter the area and it is not uncommon during peak hours for long delays while full buses go past. It is not clear if the default boarding rate of the Parametrics model used in the TIS takes this inner city problem into account. It does seem strange however that given local resident experience that the TIS should conclude that “existing infrastructure and bus stops should accommodate the increased demand. Demand for bus and transit from the university and the North Eveleigh sites is estimated to increase by 7,000 trips a day in the AM peak

The recent increase in rail patronage is also making it difficult to board some peak services with overloaded trains having difficulty discharging passengers and also taking on new passengers in the time allowed. These problems do not appear to have been taken into account in the TIS. The TIS (p57) recognises “Redfern Station is crucial to achieving the mode share target for the North Eveleigh Development and improvements to the station would assist. However, findings from earlier work undertaken by PB would suggest that the station has spare capacity and will be able to accommodate the increased patronage resulting from both the North Eveleigh and Abercrombie proposals.

Currently the issue is spare capacity in the peak network rather than the spare capacity at Redfern Station. Without addressing such issues in the TIS and at least identifying that the problem needs to be addressed, those who live in the area are left only to hope that the NSW Government will have addressed the problem by the time these projects deliver the new people to the area. Such optimism has proved unfounded in the planning for many developments throughout the metropolitan area.

If Sydney University is successful in purchasing the North Eveleigh, as allowed both in the RWA Concept Plan and the University’s 2020 Masterplan, and if the University mode split applies to the North Eveleigh site, car usage will drop from the 40% share proposed for North Eveleigh (TIS p43) to the 7% used for the Abercrombie campus (TIS p44). This would significantly reduce the impact of traffic generated by the developments on the Darlington area. Public transport capacity however becomes even more important for servicing such a development and as previously noted the TIS is very week on pedestrian issues.

One of the current concerns for adjoining residents has been the parking impact of the CarriageWorks performances. This has resulted from a low parking allowance for the CarriageWorks development. The TIS proposes to extend this level of parking for the CarriageWorks expansion. While again it might be hoped that most people will use public transport when attending performances this is has to date not been the case.

It is our view that the RWA Concept Plan should incorporate an integrated approach to parking that would allow theatre patrons to use parking vacated by day time commercial or educational users. A larger integrated parking solution for the site, similar to that being considered by Frasers at the former Kent brewery site, would allow for better integration of parking between business, retail, entertainment and residential uses, and minimise the quantity of parking that is necessary to be built on the site and potentially the construction costs. It would also allow for parking space to be retired, provision for car share to be increased in concert with the changes of car and public transport usage over time. It would also make it possible to modified parking for delivery of electrical or gas filling or other changes that may be required.

We note that the University is aiming to remove motor vehicles from its Camperdown campus and to place parking at the periphery of the site. This is similar to the approach taken by Frasers in their revised Concept Plan for the Broadway site. We are of the view that this approach should be considered by the proponent and the Department in the North Eveleigh Concept Plan. We are sure that the public domain on the North Eveleigh site can be activated without the need for streets feeding parking under each building and the provision of the 75 on street parking spaces proposed by the Concept Plan.

The Lack of Integration

While we welcome the Department’s initiative in requesting traffic be looked at in the context of both the North Eveleigh and University expansion we feel this has not gone far enough. The RWA and the Department have put in place planning controls that also include possible attractors at Redfern station and in the Redfern commercial core as well as in the Eveleigh St precinct. All these will impact on vehicular, pedestrian and bike traffic within the Darlington area and between it and Redfern Waterloo and Alexandria.

Central to how the area operates will be what happens at Redfern Station. This information however still has not been publically released. Decisions on surrounding developments are being made without this vital information. The consequence is likely to be a series of one off developments rather than an integrated approach to the area which activates the public domain and minimises traffic impacts upon the community and those entering it. Should for example, as some fear, the station turn its back on The Block then there is good reason to believe that this will probably ghettoise this area even further.

At a minimum REDWatch requests the Department to request the RWA and its traffic consultants to run their traffic model taking into account all developments allowed under the RWA planning controls that will impact on Darlington as well as the impact of the University’s 2020 Masterplan. This assessment of the combined impact of the proposed developments should be completed before the Concept Plan approval is given for any of the sites.

Ideally REDWatch would like to see the RWA undertake an integrated Movement Infrastructure Study similar to that proposed by Space Syntax in The Pemulwuy Project Aboriginal Housing Company Movement Infrastructure Report Preliminary Findings 27 October 2007 which is currently with the Department of Planning. The TIS on exhibition is almost exclusively a motor vehicle study and does not go into the full range of movements across the site and the how those movements will integrate or further separate parts of the area.

It is imperative in our view that there is an integrated evidence based approach to movements across the area to ensure that all the proposed developments work together and address the area’s issues rather than reinforce them.

REDWatch hence encourages the Department ensure that consideration is given to all proposed developments in the area in a TIS and that this includes a broad movement infrastructure study looking at the area as an integrated whole.


The TIS is central to what density and activity is suitable for the North Eveleigh site Concept Plan. To the extent that it is possible to assess the TIS because of its lack of detail and construction, we have raised in this submission a series of issues, questions and concerns which the TIS report does not appear to have adequately addressed.

In summary we request the Department of Planning to:

  • Request the proponent to release the information necessary for the community to understand the local traffic impact on the community and to allow the community to make any supplementary submissions.
  • Ensure that the issues raised in this submission have been taken into account in the preparation of the traffic model used to model the traffic impact.
  • Request the proponent to rerun the model including the traffic impacts of the University’s plans for the area and the developments allowed under the RWA BEP that will impact on Darlington traffic.
  • Request the proponent to undertake an integrated movement infrastructure report across the Darlington area to deal with all movements and how these impact the area and what can be done to provide greater integration, amenity and economic benefit from movements across the area.

For and on Behalf of REDWatch
Geoffrey Turnbull                                                                      
REDWatch Spokesperson
c/- PO Box 1567
Strawberry Hills NSW 2012                                           
Ph Wk: (02) 9318 0824