[CAMWEST-discuss] Letter re Prospect Canal Reserve

John Holstein jonhol2 at netscape.net
Mon Jul 5 11:56:41 UTC 2010

Fellow CAMWESTies,
                               I have drafted a letter to the Miniter for Transport, Mr Borger in protest aginst the failure to build a bridge over Reconciliation Road at the old Boral Quarry site. I have included the contents here & would like to forward it under the CAMWEST Banner. Does anyone have any objections to its content or direction?

John Holstein 
Member of CAMWEST (http://camwest.pps.com.au) advocating for better cycling infrastructure for Sydney's West. 

"if we don't change direction, we will end up where we are headed" (Professor Irwin Corey 
American vaudeville comic and actor (1914 - ) )

Mr David Borger,
Minister for Transport & Roads
Dear Mr Borger,
                           I recently wrote to your predecessor, Mr Campbell, regarding the construction of Reconciliation Road, Pemulwuy and in particular, the proposed crossing of that road by the existing Prospect Canal Cycleway.
I did not receive a response from Mr Campbell, or from the Minister’s staff, which was understandable. Instead a reply was forwarded from the Acting Chief Executive of the RTA, Ann King. The reply was a generic document that I assume was forwarded to many people who wrote to Mr Campbell, as I have seen three identical copies written to three different recipients.
Ms King’s reply contained what I believe to be at least one major piece of erroneous information, which casts doubt on the veracity of the entire contents of the letter. She states:-
“The Developer Agreement struck in 2002 between the RTA and Boral did not include a cycleway bridge.” 
Whilst perusing documents relating to this issue I found the Environmental Assessment dated 2006 that included a detailed drawing of a plan entitled “Future Lower Canal Shared Cycleway Overpass. North South Spine Road Strategic Concept”.  A further joint letter from Blacktown, Holroyd and Fairfield Local Government Mayors dated 17 March 2009 to another previous Minister for Roads, Mr Daly, expresses concern that the bridge may not be built as proposed “The documents accompanying the Part 3A application showed that a Cycleway bridge will be constructed as part of the works. However, plans are now showing that the bridge is no longer part of the proposed works.”
It is my understanding that a bridge for the cycleway was touted as part of this plan. I would also guess that there may never have been an intention to build the bridge and inclusion of plans and pictures was just a smokescreen to placate protesters until it was too late to fight against the proposal.
Ms King further states,” At the time of planning, it was assumed that there would be a high volume Prospect Highway; this has since been deferred by the delivery in 2005 of the M7.” I fail to see how this would have changed predicted traffic flows, and if it has, is there still the justification to go ahead with the entire plan? Ms King’s statement “Current traffic modelling, and a review of the impact of planned infrastructure and development, indicates the construction of a bridge (estimated cost $3 million) would be excessive for the conditions” indicates to me the project may not be as beneficial as once thought, leading to repeating the question “is there still the justification to go ahead with the full plan?” 
An estimate for the Southern Employment Lands project predicted 8,000 jobs would be created by the development. Using the RTA’s own traffic modeling data, this could lead to around 2,700 motor vehicle trips, morning and afternoon, just to move employees into and away from the site. This does not include heavy vehicle movements servicing the proposed businesses or public transport which also provides the potential for large traffic volumes. This route will be a well utilised alternative to Greystanes Road for traffic traveling to Wetherill Park from the Blacktown area. The decision to provide a signalised crossing at this point also constructs a barrier to traffic by placing the only set of traffic control lights on the entire section of the road, which has the potential to stop large volumes of traffic at many times, simply to allow a walker, skater, jogger or cyclist to pass.
This path passes four schools during it 7.2km journey and crosses the Liverpool to Parramatta Transit way on at least two occasions. It links the neighbouring residential areas to these vital transport links as well as joining the Granville to Liverpool rail line near Guildford, all tangible commuter links, except that adequate end of trip facilities are not available at these junctions to encourage cyclists.
The Lower Prospect Canal Cycleway is a valuable asset to the region covering 56 hectares, an area similar in size to Parramatta Park. It provides a gently graded facility some 7.2 kilometres in length that, until now, was completely separated from motorised traffic. It is a facility used not only by cyclists, but also walkers, joggers, skaters, dog walkers and others. It is a refuge from city life and should be treated as valuable parkland and public space. It links some of the heavily populated Western Suburbs of Sydney by way of a potentially uninterrupted path with the developing Western Sydney Parklands. The area is a haven for families and although it carries some commuter traffic by bicycle, its primary use is as a recreational facility. The existing link to the BBQ and other recreational facilities at Prospect Reservoir is an invaluable facility that contributes not only to the amenity of Western Sydney, but provides health benefits that are incalculable. The building of this road without a bridge for the Canal Path is, in my opinion, the same as building a similar road through Parramatta Park and one could only imagine the protests that such a proposal would generate, yet this is seen as a simple disruption to a cycleway.
This facility (Lower Canal Reserve) was obviously an expensive exercise. I am unable to locate figures for the cost of its construction, but I assume that several million dollars would have been spent on the project as it is a first class facility. It is my opinion that the failure to build the bridge to allow the facility to retain its previous status as parkland separated from motorised traffic is an absolute waste of Public money as by failing to build the bridge, the entire project is rendered almost worthless and the opportunity for it to be used to its full potential is seriously compromised.
I look forward to your early response.
Yours sincerely,
John Holstein
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