Thousands of Clontarf and Balgowlah Heights residents will be forced to go the long way round, if a plan to close off access to Manly Rd and Spit Bridge goes ahead.
The State Government wants to build a recessed bus stop and permanently block Heaton Ave Clontarf, in an effort to free up traffic flow in the kerbside bus lane on the run down to the Spit Bridge. It’s in preparation for the new express B-Line buses, which will run between Mona Vale and the CBD every five minutes during the morning and evening peak, and every ten minutes at other times.
White the closure would give buses a quicker downhill run, it would be a disaster for local residents. They would have to backtrack through suburban streets to join the morning logjam on Sydney Rd, a daunting prospect as access roads through both Seaforth and Balgowlah are already unable to cope in the morning rush.
Local schools, including Balgowlah Heights Public School, St Cecilia's Catholic School and Balgowlah Boys, would all be affected by greater traffic volumes, as would Balgowlah Heights shops and many residential streets.
To add insult to injury, Clontarf, Seaforth and Balgowlah Heights residents can’t even use the new B-Line service, as their ‘local’ bus stop is actually in Manly Vale.
Residents' groups, including Clontarf Community Forum and North Harbour Residents Group are fighting the closure. A change.org petition to local MP and premier Mike Baird, Transport Minister Andrew Constance, B-Line Project manager Neil Dix, and Northern Beaches Council administrator Dick Persson and GM Mark Ferguson, has gained almost 1000 signatures in just a few days; and an online survey of residents’ travel needs has begun.
North Harbour Residents Group secretary Terry Le Roux says blocking off Heaton Ave won’t just affect local commuters - everyone in Manly will feel the pain as tailbacks along the entire length of Sydney Rd get worse, along with ‘rat runs’ along alternative routes.
Former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham called on the government to listen to the local point of view.
“The problem here is that cars from Heaton Ave are slowing down traffic because they have to get out of the kerbside lane quickly and merge right,” she said. “So a short term solution would be to give drivers a longer stretch of road from which to merge.”
“Blocking off roads will just lead to even more congestion and longer tailbacks at choke points, and worse gridlock on Sydney Rd. I know that Transport NSW says it will improve traffic flow at the Sydney Rd/Manly Rd / Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation intersection. But that completely fails to address the major impact this will have on traffic in local streets of Manly, where the only B-Line stop will be Manly Vale".
Mrs Bingham said that while the B-Line bus will help some commuters, it’s not a long term solution.
You can sign the petition here
Or click here for the travel survey
Manly ran the risk of losing its last butcher shop last week when Council issued a last-minute order for the popular sausage sizzle to shut down.
Darley Road Butchers has run the weekend sizzle for around 20 years which not only provided a great snag, but also much needed income to make the business viable.
Taking over the struggling business 3 months ago, Steve Stratford worked hard to recreate a community butcher in Manly's Village. The unexpected order from the Council was a huge blow putting the viability of the businesses at risk, with no immediate solution in sight.
Good For Manly quickly took up the case contacting the Council's General Manager and putting an alert out on Facebook asking locals to sign the butcher's petition and buy some meat.
Over 27,000 views on the Good For Manly Facebook page, comments of support and hundreds of signatures on the petition got the community right behind the cause. It was reported that one local, a vegetarian, even bought some meat.
It worked! Within 48 hours Council reviewed the order and permission was given for the sizzle to be reinstated.
But the issue still remains ... stroke by stroke we are losing the essence of our Manly Village. Recently our last two florists closed. We almost lost our last butcher. It is important that locals support local businesses - otherwise our only options will be the giant franchise businesses which are taking over the area as we are now seeing with KFC and Starbucks recently taking leases.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.