I indulged in a little foot-stomping activism this week. There was a public meeting at my local community hall about the NSW Government making both sides of my street a seven-day-a-week clearway.
People are very, very upset about the clearway idea, even the ones who don’t live on my street because they still want to be able to drop their kids to Scouts or visit friends or be able to find a parking spot in the soon-to-be-overflowing side streets.
A woman who’s organised a petition about the dreadful idea wrote on the website afterwards: “Great turnout tonight! Well over 100 residents expressed their disapproval about the extreme proposed clearway measures. ‘How can we safely cater for our 70+ cubs and scouts ?’ ‘How will I be able to get my meals on wheels?'”
(Also, selfishly, how will people park outside my house for open for inspections when I eventually want to sell it? Kinda off-putting when you have to park five minutes walk away.)
The police were there and everything, just in case the Meals on Wheels mob and the Scout masters turned violent. It was quite exciting.
About a week ago, I wrote a letter of complaint to the email address on the Government website. It said:
While I understand these changes will improve traffic flow for people travelling through the suburb, they will be very detrimental to residents.
Your website suggests it has an “alternative parking” section for this clearway, but nothing happens when I click on it, presumably because there are no options for alternative parking available.
If these parking restrictions are put in place, it will be impossible for visitors to park in any proximity to houses. This is extremely difficult for people with disabilities or children.
It will also create massive parking congestion in the few streets close to where I live, which are already very crowded with cars. What does the government intend to do to address this?
If the government proceeds with this inconvenient plan, I believe it also needs to widen the narrow driveways along the route to improve useability for residents. Currently it is incredibly difficult to access my property because the driveway is so narrow – this is something that holds up traffic as cars entering the property have to come to an almost complete standstill and swing very widely to get into the property. Visitors to my property often prefer to park on Eastern Valley Way because access is so difficult.
If the plan is put into action, I think residents should be given more latitude to create parking options on their property to address the issue of lack of access. Will the NSW government be liaising with Willoughby Council to ensure this happens?
I do not regard the weekend clearway restrictions as necessary – I never experience traffic congestion issues on my street on weekends unless there has been a traffic incident or accident.
I believe residents should be considered more highly in this proposal, rather than it just being about convenience for those passing through.
And then I pressed “send” and it immediately bounced back because the email address the Government had given on the website didn’t exist … eye roll … FFS.
So I went to the meeting and told them and they tell me it does work now. I then pointed out the “alternative parking” bit definitely bloody doesn’t, and they were very embarrassed to realise I was right.
I moved on to raise my voice at the head of the clearways project team, Hillary, who insisted the road is bumper to bumper on weekends when it patently ISN’T. Typically, her department only did its analysis on one corner of the street that happens to host Petbarn, Bunnings and The Good Guys.
Well OF COURSE that corner is freaking busy you EEJITS. (I didn’t say EEJITS.)
I know you shouldn’t shoot the messenger, but I was very cross, not the least because I hadn’t slept for six nights, but mainly because it’s a REALLY STUPID IDEA. I mean, I know there’s bad traffic during peak hour in alternating directions but the non-peak-hour side of the road is EMPTY. Actually, even the peak hour side of the road ain’t bad – I turn right out of my driveway onto it every morning on my way to work without much bother. Harrumph.
DD knows me too well. He’s in China on a business trip and asked, when I sent him a photo of the mob, if “angry yelling at bureacrats” had helped my grumpy mood. I replied: “I did yell at a bureaucrat – it was v therapeutic.” He sagely noted: “How did I know that?”
Bloody bureaucrats. Maybe they should fix the woeful public transport infrastructure instead? I reckon a train line from Chatswood to Mona Vale via the new Northern Beaches Hospital would go gangbusters. Ooooh, that’s a fabulous idea … I’d better go write another email and tell them that …
Song of the day: Rhianna “Shut up and drive”