Lord Mayor calls for removal of clearway on Oxford Street
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for Oxford Street businesses with the Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Sydney Independent MP Alex Greenwich and Woollahra Mayor Tom Zeltzer banding together to call for the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to permanently remove the clearway on Oxford Street.
Since the GFC many local businesses have been doing it tough and the recent introduction of more stringent alcohol laws have added to the pressure.
The removal of the clearway will hopefully provide some relief to the strip’s pubs, bars, restaurants and retail outlets..
Last week the Lord Mayor Clover Moore has introduced a mayoral minute requesting the NSW Government permanently remove the Oxford Street clearway to allow for kerbside parking and reduce the speed limit to 40km/h. Currently RMS continues to impose peak period clearways on Oxford Street, with bus-only lanes in operation from 6am-10am in the westbound direction and 4pm-7pm in the eastbound direction.
“These kerbside clearways mean that large volumes of high-speed traffic create a noisy and hostile environment for pedestrians, shoppers, diners and visitors. Kerbside parking provides a buffer between people and vehicles,” said the Lord Mayor.
Residents and business owners agree the removal of the clearway is key to reactivating and revitalising the precinct.
Oxford Street is a shopping precinct with high heritage value and the capacity to service local residents’ needs. However noisy, fast-moving through traffic makes it is unpleasant to be there. Business owners and residnets argue the opening of the Eastern Distributor and Cross City Tunnel have provided alternative routes for traffic, lessening the need for a clearway on Oxford Street.
Stephan Gyory from Darlinghurst Business Partnership said: “One of the oppositional stances taken by those wanting to keep the clearways is that it will increase traffic congestion. However, with a measured reduction in traffic numbers of 22% since 2005, the 6 lanes of Oxford Street are not even close to capacity – even during rush hour. It is strongly suggested by the 1 year trial of the reduced clearways in Paddington that the road will not suffer problematic congestion if the clearways are permanently removed.”
Gyory said a thriving village culture is vital to an International city, it increases liveability, encourages culture and longer stay times, which is just one of the many reasons business owners and residents are calling for the removal of the clearway from Oxford Street. No clearway would enhance the village atmosphere and make the shopping precinct more attractive to residents and visitors.
“East Sydney is a Melbourne on Sydney’s doorstop and Oxford Street should be its heart, and yet we’ve driven an unfriendly and noisy 6 lane highway through it,” said Gyory. “Replacing the clearways with parking is low hanging fruit; an easy and cheap way to attract destination traffic to benefit the local community and economy.”