On Tempe M5 corridor expansion

February 13, 2010


More incredible stuff from the NSW Government’s Transport Department and the RTA!

Reducing congestion and travel times on the M5

The NSW Government built the M5 and now it’s congested. Well, just stop the rot! Don’t encourage them! Take cars off the road. Take trucks carrying sea containers off the road. Run the containers out to the west along the existing hard rail freight line which already runs from Port Botany, along the north of the airport and through Sydenham. Yes, I hear the grinding of the train wheels at night so I know it’s already in use, but what about upgrading it – faster trains with a bit more soundproofing?

New four-lane westbound tunnel on the M5

Won’t an enlarged four-lane westbound tunnel simply draw in more vehicular traffic? More trucks? Won’t it be congested three years after it’s built? When that happens, what’s next? Another four-lane westbound tunnel? Why cater to them, why encourage them? Stop the rot!

‘Access to the airport and industrial/commercial areas to the north of the airport’

I’ve been very careful to repeat the exact words of the RTA here. Access to the airport is perfectly efficient at the moment. For cars and trucks coming from the south and west, there is a spectacular highway from Marsh Street along Airport Drive to the airport and to areas north of the airport. I remain unconvinced of the need for any more highways in the area.

I don’t know what data the RTA is using for this argument but the City of Sydney Council has already approved and implemented spectacular amounts of residential housing north of the airport, consolidating a trend since the 1990s of light industry moving out. The leather tanneries and horse knackeries are long gone. Danks St and Green Square occupy what used to be light industrial areas. The Waterloo Council incinerator has gone. The putrid smell of industry no longer hangs in the air. Residents are served magnificently in terms of public transport with a new rail network – gleaming new stations at International Airport, Domestic Airport, Green Square. If that private rail network was part of the larger Sydney CityRail network, then pressure would be taken off the 309 and 310 buses. Ever tried to catch a 309 bus from Botany to the City at the end of the morning shift? Try getting on a bus anywhere on those routes around 2pm…

No, this is rhetoric for car commuters from Wollongong and Sutherland Shire having an alternate route into the city. Shaving an extra ten seconds off their airconditioned private ride into the city. They have a perfectly good Sydney Orbital and Eastern Distributor, but they want more. Car drivers want the entire inner Sydney to be concreted over and turned into highways for their benefit. Stop the rot! Impose taxes on cars in the CBD. Get commuters off the roads and into fast trains.

Tempe as construction site

At first glance, I couldn’t understand why I was being consulted as a Tempe resident. The M5 East Expansion runs from Wolli Creek to Bexley and beyond; the Sydney Orbital and M5 Motorway at the aiport are already in place. Then it hit me: Tempe is going to be used as the construction site. Again. Tempe has already given up its green space many, many times: the 200 Olympics saw our sporting fields turned into a carpark for buses; then there was the M5 Motorway construction when the same playing fields were used to create the tunnel and ferry out the soil; then came the construction of the Wolli Creek rail interchange. Then the completely misguided desalination plant with its pipelines. All these infrastructure constructions meant temporary alienation from green space – for years at a time. This is not NIMBYism; this is the opposite of NIMBYism. We’re constantly turning over our local area for the good of others.

The F6 corridor extension by stealth

When Tempe is included on the map and Tempe residents are consulted, then we know this is code for extending the F6 from the south. We know this is code for concreting over the Tempe wetlands, created at a cost of $17.3m by our local Council.

This is about a NSW government not committed to promotion of public transport, but about punishing the environmental agenda of a local Council. The State government will quash the Tempe wind farm for the same reason. It will confound local action regarding solar panels and grey water and water runoff. It will find new Fees & Charges to inhibit local electricity being created and fed back into the grid.

Plainly, the NSW Government is not interested in making the urban environment liveable for its citizens, not addressing air pollution or climate change or self-sufficiency. The State Government wants to continue building highways in order to promote the use of the car and the car manufacturers. 

Surely once the F6 corridor extension is built, then the NSW Government must, of necessity, have its eyes on running a highway through Sydney Park, through public housing land in Zetland into the CBD. The State Government’s agenda is very clear: build a highway, promote car usage so that one become congested, build another one next to it, let it become congested, build another one next to that one.

The NSW Government’s cash flow for all this is what? Car registrations and party political donations from developers interested in building more highways; it’s too frightened to make users pay. Make residents like those in Tempe pay, the uncomplaining, the commuters on Tempe Station every morning and the passengers of bus 422.

Highways and car/truck transport in this part of Sydney is perfectly adequate as it stands: the recently-built highways and freeways in and around the Airport, South Sydney, the Botany and Marrickville LGAs. Stop concreting over even more of the inner Sydney just so those in the ‘burbs can sit in their cars all day long. For those in living in Woonona and Camden and Cronulla: lobby for faster and more comfortable trains and get sea containers travelling to Ingleburn on existing railway lines, not new freeways!


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