Manly Daily – Tuesday 15 February 2005

Bridge the hot issue

 

THE traffic bottleneck at the Spit Bridge will not be solved by widening it by two lanes, Opposition Leader John Brogden told a transport forum yesterday.

 

But the Opposition's plan for a tunnel from Manly Vale to Cammeray also came in for criticism at the forum.

 

The Pittwater MP was speaking at a roads and transport forum he convened at the Balgowlah RSL Club at Seaforth attended by local politicians, council representatives, the police, local transport businesses and public transport, pedestrian and community group advocates.

 

“The Spit Bridge remains one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in Sydney and the Opposition is still firmly of the view that the Government's plan to widen the bridge will not solve the problem,” Mr Brogden said.

 

“Meanwhile commuters who use public transport are forced to endure fare hikes on ferries and buses without any improvement in service in reliability.”

 

Warringah Action Group spokesman Peter Pappas said that, while the proposed tunnel would not solve the peninsula's traffic congestion, it should be one option considered.

 

He said the Government should seek expressions of interest from the private sector to build a tunnel rather than dismiss the proposal out of hand.

 

But Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby said the tunnel proposed by the Opposition would quickly become as congested as the existing road system.

 

Mr Scruby wants transit lanes scrapped and replaced by red lanes, for the exclusive use of public transport, to encourage the use of buses.

 

While the Spit Bridge remained a hot topic, those attending the forum all agreed an integrated transport plan for the whole of the peninsula was needed.

 

They also agreed the RTA should not be involved in road planning, just road building.

Public transport advocate Norman Rich said the RTA's dominance of road planning “should be ended”.

 

“The RTA short-changes bus users and pedestrians,” he said.

 

“The roads they build usurp public transport.”

 

Pittwater Council general manager Angus Gordon said there had been almost no integration of the strategic and operational arms of government agencies.

 

He cited a $600,000 grant Pittwater Council had received to develop a park-and-ride facility at Warriewood and of the subsequent undercutting of its effectiveness by the State Transit Authority.

 

“We told them (the STA) it was essential to have express buses operating from the park-and-ride facility but they didn't do it,” he said.

 

“And the bus fares are higher at Warriewood than they are just down the road at Narrabeen.

“There is no integration between departments at the operational level, which undoes the strategic planning.

 

“It's a case of the tail wagging the dog.”

 

Illus:  Photo

 
 
© This work is copyright and is reproduced under licence from News Limited