Pacific Highway misery – an end in sight?

Alister Henskens at the infamous Wahroonga pinch point
Alister Henskens at the infamous Wahroonga pinch point
Jenny Barlass

For those drivers who crawl along the Pacific Highway every day, the figures will come as no surprise: there are seven pinch points between Mona Vale Road in Pymble and where it turns into the M1 at Wahroonga.

After years of complaints and side roads reduced to noisy rat runs by motorists determined to avoid it, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has come up with a plan to quell North Shore drive misery.

This includes plans for road widening where three lanes narrowing to two get widened to reduce tailbacks, part of the state government’s $30 million Pinch Point Programme.

“RMS is also putting out to public consultation plans to create clearways on that stretch,” explains Ku-ring-gai MP Alister Henskens, who attended a closed RMS briefing on the steps.

“These measures will be introduced sequentially so they can measure one before introducing the next,” he said.

Flyers went out in early May letting residents know of proposals to stretch existing weekday clearway hours – currently they are 6am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm, so they are extended to 6am to 7pm, and introduce new weekend clearways between Mona Vale Road and Pennant Hills Road where there were previously none.

Pre-empting business fears of revenue losses, the flyer stated that: “Our investigations show that there is sufficient parking available in side streets and existing public car parks close to where parking would be removed on the Pacific Highway, if the new and extended clearways are installed.”

If the clearway plans are put into place, it could see some businesses in jeopardy. Johan Giausseran, one of the owners of Brasserie L’Entrecote on the Highway at Pymble, said clearways “would kill the business if we had all-day clearways.

“I rely on it stopping at 10am at the moment to get deliveries. And later in the day at lunchtime and dinnertime it’s important for many of our older clientele as they cannot park far away and walk back.

“Without the clearways they would have to park in Grandview Street with its restricted times and then walk up a steep hill to get to us, or on Telegraph Road which is too far for many of our patrons who are in their 70s, 80s and 90s.”

Along that stretch of commercial premises there’s also a beautician, estate agent and lawyers, all without much dedicated parking. “It would bring business down for all of us, for just 300m of useless clearway.”

The RMS is due to publish the results of the public consultation on its website in the next few months. “Roads and Maritime will continue to work with Ku-ring-gai Council and businesses in response to the issues raised around business parking. The community will continue to be kept informed as the proposal progresses,” an RMS spokesperson said.

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