Transport for NSW is proceeding to ban right-hand turns at the intersection of Wellington Street and Bondi Road from July 1st, despite continued community and council opposition that halted the proposal nine years ago.
The community maintains that removing the right turn will have detrimental impact on school time traffic, as Montessori East Primary School and Bondi Public School are both located on Wellington Street.
Residents say traffic from Bondi Public means removing right-hand turn would create blockages. Photo: Public Service Association.
Waverley Councillor Tony Kay who strongly opposed the plans in 2013, says TfNSW has failed to notify the community about the expected change.
“Transport for NSW has not informed the local community about the works, and we are just over a week away from their commencement,” Cr Kay said.
“At the very least, the government should be warning the residents about what’s going to happen and allow them time to make representations to their local members.”
TfNSW informed Waverley council that plans would begin during the school term. Kay took direct action to push the commencement date to the school-holiday period.
TfNSW told City Hub that the ban was a “potential change” and that they are “currently working with local stakeholders” to conduct community consultation.
At the end of May, TfNSW advised both schools about the plans to remove the right hand turn. Cr Kay stated the meeting was an “information brief” rather than an active consultation session.
Waverley councillors continue fight to keep right turn
Waverley councillors voted unanimously at a recent council meeting to request a traffic management plan that would outline the ban’s impact on local streets.
Councillor Ludovico Fabiano says the turn will complicate an efficient and safe westbound return up Bondi Road.
“Parents who use Wellington Street to drop off their children at school will have to turn left and attempt a U-turn somewhere along Bondi Road,” he said.
“Another alternative is parents will have to take narrow back-streets to get back in the direction of Bondi Junction.”
Debate over pedestrian versus vehicle safety
TfNSW maintains that the ban aims to “improve safety for road users at this intersection.”
In 2013 Waverley council endorsed a traffic light system at the Bondi Road and Wellington Street intersection.
The council recognised that the ban would increase vehicle safety; however, an expected decrease in pedestrian safety led to its rejection.
Cr Fabiano believes that installing a set of traffic lights – similar to the Penkivil Street system – at the corner of Wellington Street and Bondi Road, would allow pedestrians to cross the road safely and facilitate effective traffic movements.
“While this is a more expensive option, money needs to be spent by Transport for NSW to accommodate a safer intersection,” he said.