Sydney’s RTA about to pull down public transport infrastructure (part 1)

Sindney goes backwards in public transport. Part of the M2 widening, the RTA is about to pull down a bus ramp connecting the M2 bus lanes with Epping station. This ramp will be absolutely vital in the years of declining oil production when diesel shortages will force bus companies running services from the North West to the City to terminate them at Epping station to save on fuel. From Epping a brand new rail tunnel to Chatswood and the Newcastle express via Strathfield offer excellent rail connections to the CBD.

The whole community was against the removal of the bus ramp during the public consultation process but the RTA will not listen.

The M2 widening is now in direct conflict with a statement of the NSW government in a submission to Infrastructure Australia:

A carbon–constrained economy is imminent. Market forces will demand individuals, governments and organisations minimise greenhouse gas emissions in response to global climate change. In cities, this will mean the need to reduce private vehicle travel in preference for public transport and prioritise more local travel.” (page 39)

More details are in this post:

NSW government acknowledges peak oil but continues business as usual regardless

We just experience how hard it is to scale back an over-allocation of irrigation water and how angry farmers have become. Well, the M2 widening means an OVER-ALLOCATION OF ROAD SPACE for which there will not be enough oil. Angry commuters, inquiries, financial failures and as yet-unknown departmental and party-political accountability will be un-avoidable.

It is incomprehensible that 5 years after peak oil started in 2005 this M2 widening still seems to go ahead.

In actual fact, the problem started around 2002 when oil prices left the $ 20-30 band for good. Incidentally, this was the time when the North Sea peaked. In the meantime, UK has become a net-oil importer and we see the results of this event while the UK government is now forced to embark on an unprecedented austerity program. But no-one appears to understand the link to peak oil.

The US can no longer import oil in increasing quantities and is basically bankrupt.

Limited oil supplies converged with an underlying accumulation of debt which in part was boosted by increasing oil prices, fuelling a positive feed back loop to unending economic and financial problems. We are clearly entering the 2nd half of the oil age.

The above graph is from the ASPO 2010 conference

In contrast to the US and Europe, Australia thinks it is fine because it is linked to the growing Asian economy, in particular China. But China needs at least 300-400 kb/d of  additional oil EVERY YEAR (17 million new cars pa for example) adding up to the equivalent of 1 Saudi Arabia over the next 15-20 years. India would also need around 150 kb/d of additional oil. These incremental oil flows are simply not there. When Chindia’s growth will get stuck in peak oil there will be a bad awakening in Australia, invalidating many economic calculations.

What’s worse, an unsustainable immigration policy – designed keep housing prices high – contributes to more congestion on roads, leading to a push for more freeways.  All the while there is no oil-geological mechanism by which a growing population will produce more oil. The higher the population, the bigger the problems will be – just the opposite of the assumed population boom bonanza.

What has to be done now is to get away from oil, REPLACING car traffic by public transport. The M2 widening is doing exactly the opposite. This is a peak oil assessment:

(1)   In the next oil crunch expected in 2012 traffic will go backwards as already experienced in 2008. Toll revenue will decrease

(2)   At a certain stage of the coming oil decline, very likely before 2015, there will be physical petrol and diesel shortages

(3)   When that happens, bus companies will be forced to terminate services to the CBD at Epping station to save on fuel. With the bus ramp gone, buses will have to leave the M2 at Pennant Hills Rd, getting stuck there and many other bottlenecks on the way to Epping.

In the last 100 m before Epping station, buses will be stopped dead by long lines of motorists queuing up at the filling station at the corner Carlingford Rd – Beecroft Rd. What that means can be seen in France right now

Filling station at corner Carlingford Rd/Beecroft Rd will develop into a critical bottleneck on the way of diverted buses to Epping rail station. This applies also to the newly established Metrobus line M54 Parramatta – Macquarie Park

Happy motoring.

Earlier posts on the M2:

M2 widening: Primary Energy Dilemma for cars 

RTA fails to present business case for M2 widening (part 1)

So where are RTA’s calculations on clean primary energies and an assumed transition of the car fleet including bar charts, costings and availability of funds?


Added 4/12/2010: Bridge demolition will divide Beecroft

The Beecroft-Cheltenham Civic Trust has put out a media release: 

Michael Stove the President of the Beecroft-Cheltenham Civic Trust said residents were very concerned by Transurban’s intended demolition of the Murray Farm Road Bridge, ahead of the widening of its M2 Tollway. 

“Transurban has not provided residents with detailed information” Mr Stove said at a weekend gathering of concerned residents and local Councillors at the bridge.

“M2 upgrade a burden without benefit”

THE M2 upgrade set to begin early next year has already begun causing headaches for residents, who say they have not been consulted about changes to roads and traffic conditions.

Transurban and the RTA confirmed they will permanently close the bus ramp used by Hillsbus buses that leads out of the M2 at Beecroft Rd for access to Epping railway station.

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