For a moment this morning I reflected on how busy the traffic on Crown Street was when I first moved to Sydney in 1995. Before the Eastern Distributor was built, Crown and Bourke were extremely busy double-lane one-way streets. Although I don’t remember exactly how they went about it, they changed the traffic on both streets soon around the time the toll road was opened, sparking a large public outcry. Both streets eventually became two way.
A few years ago when the bike lanes were established, Bourke Street underwent a further transformation with traffic calming measures. I quite enjoy a weekend bike-ride up and down Bourke Street, with its quieter traffic and leafy visage.
At the same time, Crown Street has remained busy. It never ceases to amaze me how many people continue to drive down Crown Street, when they could find a much less busy route via neighbouring streets, Bourke and Riley. If I’m running late and I need to be quickly at Taylor Square, I’ll instruct the driver to take me there via Bourke Street. Or if I want to quickly get to Oxford Street, I’ll instruct the driver to take me via Riley.
I can’t begin to imagine the traffic hell that will occur over the next few months, as they calm the traffic and widen the footpath in my part of Crown Street, located between Cleveland and Devonshire. They’re removing a fair few car parks, and they’re consolidating the two local bus shelters into one, and locating it out on the street.
In the longer term, I think this is a good strategy, and it’s one I really support, though I note in the short term, there’s going to be pain. “It’s going to be hell to take deliveries”, one shop-keeper said to me this afternoon.