WE LOVE WENTWORTH STREET, BLACKHEATH!

My partner Rob and I are the most unlikely ‘activists’ imaginable, but suddenly we have become Wentworth Street Warriors.  We may not live  in the street, but as local residents  we appreciate its beauty all year long.

UPDATE – we  have just been alerted by a local consulting arborist with over 30 yrs experience that the Liquidambars along Wentworth St could easily suffer root damage by packing more vehicles over the established root systems – see more below…………… 

ANGLE PARKING IN WENTWORTH STREET?   NO!

The deep autumn colour of Wentworth Sreeet

Our delightful Wentworth Street in Blackheath is under threat from an ill-advised  council parking plan.  It would  see the street become one-way, with angle parking along both sides, from Govetts Leap Road to Hat Hill Road.

This street is one of the major tourist draws in the village. It would be such a shame to destroy its ambience, not just for visitors, but for locals.  The Liquidamber trees were planted in the 1930s.

Our sister village of Leura has its main street cherry trees, we in Blackheath have our glorious autumn colour.  Let’s not turn the street into a giant car park when there are other less expensive  (and far  simpler)  solutions.

 

 

 

Early autumn in Wentworth Street, Blackheath

Early colour  looking towards Hathill Road.

 

Tourists in Wentworth Street BlackheathWentworth Street Blackheath

Visitors enjoying the  tree lined street.

Here are the details of the  overall  parking plan,  the problems envisaged, and some alternatives.

Blackheath MASTERPLAN – Proposed PARKING Amendments

A VERY BAD IDEA – Lodge your Objection to Council by Saturday 2nd July 2017

The Proposal

That Wentworth Street (WWSt) be converted to ‘One-Way’ heading north from Govetts Leap Road (GLR) to Hat Hill Road (HHR) with 35 degree angle parking all the way along on both sides.  The Street Plan issued by Council however, only shows angle parking along the Western side of WWSt, with existing parallel parking retained along the eastern side. Confusing?

Consequences

  1. Iconic attraction ruinedthe tree lined WWSt is one of the main attractions in the Blue Mtns, admired by locals and tourists alike. Creating a giant car park would destroy the ambience of one of our best Town Centre attractions.
  2. WWSt – a great transport link will be diminished – WWSt provides a very valuable Off-Highway, 2-way access for the entire length of Blackheath from Evans Lookout Road to HHR at the northern end and beyond to Bacchante St. It also provides a suitable by-pass if the GWH is blocked approaching the Village.  This through road asset should be preserved at all cost.
  3. Hat Hill Road Precinct Isolated – closing WWSt to access from the north will isolate the entire HHR precinct from easy access to the Town Centre and for parents dropping children to the public school, forcing them  to do battle with heavy traffic on the Great Western Highway (GWH) and at the GLR intersection.
  4. Creation of a Rat Run – drivers heading to the Town Centre from HHR will start using much smaller, single lane streets, such as Clarence, Dell & Wills Streets.
  5. Rat Run dangers – these streets are NOT suitable for use as high traffic alternative routes to the village. They are very narrow with several sharp bends with limited line of sight.  Consequently, 2-way traffic is a real problem and delivery trucks are of particular concern. There are no footpaths along these roads, with a lot of pedestrian traffic on the roadway at all hours – including families (often with strollers and toddlers) and people (often elderly) walking dogs.  Many bushwalkers come along Wills/Dell Sts, to access the Popes Glen Walking track, while large groups of school children walk to and from the Pool throughout summer. Any increased traffic will add to the likelihood of a serious accident and put pedestrians at much greater risk.  Inconstant Street and Gardner Crescent are likely to be affected as well.
  6. Environmental damage:  Council has not assessed the potential environmental damage that may be caused by packing more vehicles over the root systems of the mature Liquidambar trees, which are such an important part of our Village.  Council also state that additional parking will be made available using ”Road Reserve” but provide no explanation whether this means that the road will be widened and if so, what affect this may have on drainage patterns and increased soil compaction!

Alternative Parking Solutions

There are much simpler, less expensive solutions available to improve Town Centre parking availability which will benefit all businesses.

  1. Move ‘All Day’ parking away from the Town Centre – the Masterplan highlights the use of many parking spaces near the Town Centre, both On & Off-Street, that are used for all day parking.  The report also highlights the need to encourage  the use of private business parking by employees, especially along Hydora Lane.
  2. Expand Timed/Restricted Parking –  for both On-Street and Off-Street areas close to the Town Centre where 1P, 2P and possibly 3P parking should be considered. This will provide a huge benefit to all local businesses.  On-Street (from the GLR/WWSt intersection) includes WWSt going north to Gardiner Cres and south to Leichardt St, plus GLR east to the Gardiner Cres intersection.  Off- Street includes the Council Car Parks behind the Victory Antiques Centre and Collier Arcade, where all spaces are now  available for all day parking.  The Council car park spaces should be providing Town Centre businesses with short & medium term parking solutions.     
  3. Park Avenue – an additional 10 – 16, 2P parking spaces could be added to the western end of Park Avenue (off WWSt) at a later stage – again much closer to the Town Centre.
  4. Library and Community Hall – restricted parking (1P & 2P) around this area should also be considered. The stretch along the GWH from HHR to Gardiner Cres desperately needs resurfacing and Marked/Timed spaces installed.
  5. Clanwilliam Street Intersection – there is also the possibility for Council to acquire the vacant block next to the church where additional parking could be made available in the long term.
  6. Railway Commuter Parking – there needs to be a big increase to the Station Street commuter parking capacity for rail commuters. BMCC and local groups should push this with State Rail and our local member.

Conclusion:

The current ineffective use of parking spaces within a range of  only 200 metres from the GLR/WWSt intersection appears to have been overlooked. There is huge potential for increasing the availability of Timed/Restricted On-Street and Off-Street parking spaces within a reasonable distance of the Town Centre – to the North, South and East – from the GLR/WWSt intersection (on-street), and within the Council car park.   This will provide a much less expensive and destructive solution, capable of prompt implementation.

Similar arrangements could be installed around the Library/Community Hall.  Consideration should also be given to line marking all timed spaces up to 1P, in order to make best use of the space available.

Approximately 40 – 50% of the angle spaces proposed for WWSt will be too far away to provide any benefit to the Town Centre.

The Council proposal will destroy the ambience of a large section of WWSt and create major access problems for the Hat Hill Rd precinct, as well as problems for those residents who will suffer the ‘rat run’ consequences.

The preferred option from Council is totally unnecessary and should be strenuously opposed by all Blackheathens.

Submissions

If you are concerned about this, I urge you to send a submission to reach Council, by Saturday 1st July 2017, with a subject heading something like – “Objection to Amendments – Draft Blackheath Masterplan – PARKING”.

Submissions should go to:

Email: [email protected]

or by mail to:

BMCC, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba  2780

If you would like any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Rob Conolly

14th June 2017

Email:  [email protected]

Abbreviations:

GLR        Govetts Leap Road

GWH     Great Western Highway

HHR       Hat Hill Road

WWSt   Wentworth Street

 

BLACKHEATH AND BLUE MOUNTAINS RESIDENTS IN PARTICULAR…….PLEASE SHARE.

 

 

 

 

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