Traffic & Transport

In Rhodes and other areas in the Drummoyne electorate, the rail and road networks are already completely overloaded (see quote below from Council report 2016). Before COVID, many trains travelling to or from Rhodes or Concord West in peak period were so packed that many residents could not get on – this still occurs. The T9 Northern Line remains the most congested railway line in Sydney. Also, as Rhodes is a peninsula connected only by Concord Road, frequent traffic jams cause huge problems. Yet the government is still planning on development that will add another 10,000 residents to Rhodes regardless.

Similarly, the “Rapid Transit” public transport promised to support new medium and high-rise (some over 20 storeys, coming soon) in Concord and Five Dock along Parramatta Road now looks like it will take another 15 or 20 years by the time the bus lanes get sorted out after future redevelopment. Sydney Metro West, while very welcome, cannot mitigate congestion on Parramatta Road. The government is happy to spend mega-billions on congested, costly motorways which can’t move enough people, but not on public transport which can carry much more people.

Drummoyne electorate has two key transport projects which the government must give urgent attention:

  • A substantial increase in train throughput on the Northern Line (T9), most likely by increasing its capacity from currently one line in each direction to two in each direction.
  • A “Rapid Transit System” along Parramatta Road from the CBD to Burwood station – promised in 2016 and later as part of the Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Strategy (PRCUTS) for delivery at the same time as Westconnex opened. Note that this is quite different to the Metro, used for longer distance travel.

A third key transport project, the Stage 2 Parramatta Light Rail, will be enormously beneficial for Rhodes, because it will relieve the enormous pressure of Wentworth Point residents who rely on Rhodes station for regular commuting. This has now been given the green light by the government, after an inexplicable long delay.

Overloaded trains

Quotes from:

Rhodes Station Precinct Traffic and Transport Review
[for] Canada Bay Council
Final Report, 6 December 2016.

The whole report makes the clear point that – as of 2016 with lower approved levels of development – the road and rail system are already operating at full capacity or more. The quotation below is from section 2, “Broader Transport Network”, sub-section on Rail existing conditions, pp 7-8.

Rail patronage at Rhodes Station has experienced significant growth over the past 10 years due to the development of high density residential precincts on remediated industrial lands. As a result, the number of journeys to and from Rhodes by rail has increased from 122,000 journeys per year in 2004 to 1,813,000 journeys per year in 2014. There has been a corresponding increase in the number of station barrier movements, where the total number of daily entries and exits increased from approximately 2,360 in 2004 to13,300 in 2014.

Rhodes Station Precinct Traffic and Transport Review: “Given the continued growth in demand along the T1* Northern Line including Rhodes, the majority of AM and PM peak rail services already reached their loading capacity in 2015. Inbound T1* Northern Line trains via Strathfield have an average load of 135% (or 148% without the express services) of their nominal capacity when they reach the city during the AM peak hour, with a maximum load of 162%. Similarly, outbound trains have an average load of 100% leaving the city during the PM peak hour, with a maximum load of 153%. This means that during peak periods, some passengers travelling to or from Rhodes are unable to board trains as they are overloaded.”

[* Note: The Northern Line is now referred to as the T9 line, not T1.]

Rhodes Station Precinct Traffic and Transport Review, pp7-8.

Parramatta Road study 2022

This study, presented to a Canada Bay Council meeting in October 2022, was commissioned as part of the PRCUTS project by the councils of Canada Bay, Burwood and Strathfield. This study covered areas around Burwood, Concord, Strathfield, North Strathfield and Homebush.

The report is in quite technical language. In summary, it says that Parramatta Road will have an estimated 35% to 39% increase in traffic above 2019 levels by 2036, of which perhaps 75% will be traffic passing through (ie coming from and going to east and west of our area). This will have significant impact on local traffic trying to enter Parramatta Road (eg from Burwood Road, Concord Road etc), with traffic often re-routing along local east-west streets. It includes many recommendations for traffic management changes across the study area.

The traffic difficulties in the area for this study are already amongst the worst in Sydney. A key issue arising from the study is that the NSW government is introducing greater density into the area, which will have even greater traffic problems than today. That’s why PRCUTS promised the Rapid Transit system (mentioned above) promised by the former NSW coalition government. Unfortunately, that government then ignored their promise, and the current government won’t talk about it. (Unfortunately, the massive spending on motorways – the most financially inefficient mode of transport – has diverted NSW government spending away from core needs like education, health and public transport.)

A key aspect of this study was that the NSW government promised that all areas nominated in PRCUTS would not be rezoned until a substantial traffic study was completed. In our area, that promise was broken, with the rezoning taking place several months before the study was released. The promise, given in a Ministerial direction, stated:

“Prior to any rezoning commencing, a Precinct-wide traffic study and supporting modelling is required to be completed which considers the recommended land uses and densities, as well as future WestConnex conditions, and identifies the necessary road improvements and upgrades required to be delivered as part of any proposed renewal in the Precinct.”

Ministerial Direction s9.1

The government avoided public discussion on the traffic study by requiring rezoning to be well under way before the study was released. One more way that the NSW government undercuts democratic process in local government.