Submission to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment re the proposal for State Significant Development: Newcastle Jockey Club New Stables Complex
Reference: Application Number 12982045 on exhibition until 15 November 2021
Submission relating to Parking and Traffic Flow - App 16 in the development proposal
Thank you for an opportunity to make a submission in regard to the proposed development
Having read the letter from SECAsolutions, the only evidence quoted in the response to App 16 in reference to issues of parking and traffic flow, is a lengthy report of their survey of possible congestion. Their report gives a focus on the intersection of Darling and Chatham Streets, but ignores other significant traffic flow in the vicinity. Despite its detail I can see no mention of the location of a major institution which influences the amount of traffic on Chatham Street and the busy corner where it intersects with Darling and Melville Streets. This intersection has a Stop sign, which already causes considerable break to traffic flow, particularly at busy times each day. As frequent users of the intersection we know the difficulty which all traffic experiences in negotiating this busy corner.
Opposite the Chatham Street boundary of Newcastle Racecourse is Merewether High School, which is the selective high school for the Hunter region. As would be expected the school generates considerable traffic, particularly during the hours 7.30 to 9.30 am, and 2.30 to 4.30 pm, which are also busy times for horse floats, and other large vehicles entering and leaving the racecourse. As there is inadequate parking on-site, most of the vehicles used by staff and students of the school must park on either side of Chatham Street. Also, two pre-schools located on the racecourse site generate a large volume of traffic within these same hours.
As a regional high school, Merewether High has a considerable number of special school buses during the morning and afternoon peak hours. As part of the survey of traffic movements it would be assumed that the bus companies may have been contacted to ascertain the number of buses serving the school each day, transporting students to all parts of the Hunter region, including Port Stephens local government area. There is no evidence in their letter that SECAsolutions surveyed these bus movements.
The report on traffic flow makes no mention of the considerable bicycle traffic in the peak hours. Hundreds of students cycle to this school and to others close by, but they have not been considered in the survey. The mix of cycles and large trucks on busy roads is a very dangerous one and there are no dedicated cycleways for cyclists to use, so they have no alternative to using the busy roads.
There is currently no marked pedestrian crossing from the racecourse side to high school side of Chatham Street, where many students cross during the morning and afternoon peaks. Traffic flow is impeded by those crossing as well as the great risks of serious accidents to the pedestrians. Those who attempt to cross are at the mercy of the heavy traffic, including horse floats. It has always been the school’s responsibility to assist students to cross, as the City Council has never installed a marked crossing, nor has the state government accepted that traffic monitors are needed. Such major concerns of safety have been ignored in the consultants’ report on traffic flow in the whole area.
Despite many representations to Newcastle City Council about the absence of a sealed footpath on the racecourse side of Chatham Street, much of the verge remains unsealed. It is to be hoped that any development of the racecourse site will include an upgrade of the footpaths on the boundary of the racecourse, including the northern side of Darling Street.
During the construction period there will be a need to ensure access is available for pedestrians and cyclists using the footpath on the racecourse side of Chatham Street. During the morning and afternoon peak periods this path and verge has a continuous flow of students entering and leaving the school premises.
With these concerns about any increase to the existing heavy traffic flow, plus the number of vehicles parked on both sides of Chatham St, we wish to request that those responsible for the approval of this State Significant Development give further attention to the issues of Traffic and Parking in assessing the project. To date there has been quite inadequate attention to the matters raised in this submission.
Submitted by Isabel and Doug Hewitt
35 Veda St, Hamilton 2303.
E: [email protected]
M: 0431 935 097