MARTIN PLUSS, VICE PRESIDENT
Are commuter traffic and parking key issues for residents in the Pennant Hills District/Hornsby Shire?
In the Australian on 24 February 2018 (‘Sydney and Melbourne the focal point for a nation of commuters’) the demographer Bernard Salt, states that 2016 ABS Census data indicates “that 120,000 workers flow south into the greater Sydney metropolis in the morning, only to return exhausted in the evening.”
This is 14,000 commuters more than the estimate made in the 2011 Census, with the number of commuters growing by almost 3,000 a year. These commuters, as well as 7,000 from Newcastle, pass through and perhaps even park in the Shire.
Key questions for the Shire include: how many commuters travel to the area by train and by car? And how many drive a car from the Central Coast or Galston, Arcadia or the north west to a railway station between Brooklyn and Cheltenham? Answers to these questions will help us to better understand and respond to traffic and parking issues in the Shire and Pennant Hills in particular.
The 2016 Census indicates that 8,484 residents in the suburbs between Cheltenham and Brooklyn commute by train in the morning peak hour (6 to 9:30am). However 2014 data from Transport NSW suggests station suburbs in the Shire had more travellers (14, 520 gate entries) than the number of morning peak hour local commuters indicated by the Census.
The stations which double the number travellers entering the station are Cheltenham (113%), Pennant Hills (118%), Asquith (103%) Berowra (223%) and Hawkesbury (226%). Some of the higher number may be accounted for by locals going to school or on day trips and the many commuters who park at stations in the Shire. The percentages are higher the closer the stations is to the Central Coast.
While it may be possible that more specific data on commuters could be gleaned by conducting spot surveys at Shire stations, we could ask: do we really need more information at all when anecdotal evidence, visual inspections and inferences from Census and Transport NSW data suggest that a large number of commuters park at Shire railway stations.
We could start a strategic approach to manage this now and into the future. We hope to work in close partnership with the relevant local, state and federal authorities to develop a strategy jointly to manage the main transport hubs with specific focus on the number of commuters, and the volume of traffic and parking at Shire railway stations.
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