Council plans have been deferred after locals spoke out against proposed improvements for the Goulburn and Crown St junction in Surry Hills.
Residents and business owners are concerned with the lack of community consultation over proposed changes at the junction, which include the implementation of curbside extensions and a pedestrian crossing on Goulburn St. In a letter written to the City of Sydney Council, Crown St business owner Andrew Duckmanton argued the proposed measures could result in chaos at the notorious traffic choke point.
“This means we will have a pedestrian crossing and smaller road opening, ensuring none of the cars from Crown St will be actually able to fit into Goulburn St,” he wrote. “Just to make matters worse, traffic can’t actually do anything due to the amount of people crossing the road and the choked road width ensuring nobody goes anywhere … It will [be] nothing short of a chaotic mess that will choke the whole street into absolute chaos.”
Darlinghurst business owner Stephan Györy said many community members were left unaware about Council plans to improve pedestrian access at the junction.
“The conflict is not about the actual project, it’s about how the project was planned and announced,” he said.
“The reason why people are opposed to [the plans] is because there are unanswered questions. If the Council had come and spoken to everyone then there wouldn’t have been opposition.”
The City of Sydney announced the plans through the distribution of letters two weeks ago. Mr Györy acknowledged submissions for comment were made several years ago by Council, but lamented the lack of a consultation process.
“The consultation process [was] non-existent,” he said.
A City of Sydney spokesperson said: “More than 500 letters were sent out and the City received just three responses opposing the proposal and one in favour.”
The spokesperson said the purpose of the project was about increasing the safety of pedestrians.
“Pedestrian count results show there are consistently more pedestrians than cars at the intersection of Goulburn and Crown Streets in Surry Hills, especially at lunchtime with 325 pedestrians compared to 171 cars,” they said.
The current plans only foresee the loss of one car space, but Mr Györy along with other locals consider the larger issue is the plan’s flawedcapacity to streamline traffic flow.
“It’s not going to achieve what they aim to achieve,” Mr Györy said. “They’re trying to pacify that corner but they’re actually going to increase congestion. They’re going to make Crown St more congested.”
Following a recent email campaign from local community leaders, the improvement plans have been deferred as the City of Sydney investigates the apparent issues.
“We will consult with residents and business prior to any work taking place,” said the Council spokesperson.
By Patrick Griffiths