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SSC Newspaper : July 2012
funded by the state government. " e M4 East is not just a road, it is a critical part of the transport network that will contribute both directly and indirectly to all public transport working more e ciently," he says. Casuscelli says it is also about decent quality of life for over 100,000 inner west residents, who now experience adverse tra c a ects for around 16 hours a business day and for substantial periods over weekends. During morning peak hour, it takes commuters around 36 minutes to an hour to travel 20km on Parrama a Road from Harris Park to Sydney, and Casuscelli says if the M4 East was to be built, there would be a signi cant decrease in travelling time. e state government has allocated $30 million to plan for the extension and an additional $2 billion for the project. By Bernadette Chua In a ballroom at one of Sydney's ritziest hotels, a dozen of the nation's top planners describe a new nirvana for Parrama a Road -- a place where soaring architectural structures create new communities, artistic workshops and workplaces. ey produce a book listing plans for billions of dollars worth of new development, designed to transform one of the city's biggest eyesores. But it takes just one question to bring the room back to earth: what about the tra c? Sadly, there isn't an answer. Transport has become the single biggest issue in development planning in the inner west today. Years of neglect and our love of the car mean planning for the future is gridlocked. Strath eld is surrounded by some of the state's busiest roads -- the Hume Highway, Parrama a Road and the M4. On weekends, everything grinds to a half, with families on their way to sports grounds and shopping centres trapped in tra c queues. On other days, commuters trying to beat clogged arteries into the city use Strath eld as a rat run and turn the roads around it into a giant car park. While everyone accepts there is a need to accommodate an increasing population -- Strath eld needs to nd room for an extra 8300 people by 2025 -- the bigger question is: how do they travel? And where do we put their cars? Not even having the city's third busiest railway station helps ease the tra c ow in Strath eld. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Aboard the commuter carriages, life is already a nightmare. A Scene reporter rode on an inner west train during peak hour heading east into the city, recently dubbed the "Sardine Line" because it is the city's most congested. e consensus was the same for almost everyone -- our trains are full. Says commuter Melissa Crowe- May: "People trying to get o the train can't get o because everyone is trying to get on 20 seconds before the doors close. ere are people standing in lines up the aisles. My mum has missed her stop because she couldn't get o ." Inner west commuter Daniel Yip says our transport infrastructure can hardly cope with the amount of commuters on the trains. "We're squished like sardines," he says. "It's not a comfortable ride. Not once will you get a seat -- it's not possible. But it's not so much about ge ing a seat. ere is no breathing space." Residents, business owners, politicians and experts are concerned that there are not enough amenities and transport infrastructure to support Strath eld's growing population. Last month, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced the extension of the light rail to Dulwich Hill and the North West Rail Link, which will o er a high-frequency, single deck train ser vice between Rouse Hill and Epping. In June, the Urban Taskforce presented some new possibilities to develop Parrama a Road and turn "the Boulevard of Broken Dreams" into a commercial and residential hub. e taskforce said there was potential for 100,000 new Strathfield Scene 11 www.ourstrathfield.com.au THE BIG ISSUE apartments and 100,000 new local jobs. But there was one key aspect missing from these projected plans -- the state does not have the infrastructure to support the population increase. One of their taskforce plans involved developments at the Sydney Markets, which they said could accommodate around 10,000 new apartments as well as the 10,000 cars that would come with the building. All of this may explain why news last weekend of the Federal opposition's pledge of $1.5 billion for the M4 East -- which many suggest would alleviate the tra c ow in Strath eld -- was greeted with major headlines and news reports. Sadly, it has been overlooked in the Liberal state government's 2012/13 budget. Strath eld MP Charles Casuscelli (pictured above) says the M4 East needs to be the next major project " e M4 East is not just a road, it is a critical part of the transport network that will contribute both directly and indirectly to public transport working more e ciently." But the M4 East plan will be pi ed against other major road works, which include the M5 duplication and the F3 to M2 link. And infrastructure supremo Nick Greiner is reportedly tending towards other projects. Mayor of Canada Bay, Angelo Tsirekas, says that if nothing is done to improve the congestion on Parrama a Road, the idea of reviving Parrama a Road would be impossible. Tsirekas says there are 80,000 commuters detouring from arterial roads on a daily basis through his and other inner west council areas. " ese cars are driving through Canada Bay, Strath eld and Bur wood to avoid the tra c but they are clogging up the suburban streets," he says. "Commuters are driving in the vicinity of schools, local businesses and pedestrians. ere needs to be a solution for Sydney's growing tra c problem." But if there is one, it has so far eluded some of the greatest minds in State planning. Probably because it involves commodities in the shortest supply: a will to solve the big problems, and a lot of investment dollars. A question of tra c