When the cat’s away

When the cat’s away it seems the rats do come out and play. During my brief sojourn up to Loxton this week I missed all the excitement.

What a time not to be here. Storm activity disrupted power supply and the discovery of structural concerns on the tram overpass over South Road has been high at all media outlets.

Storms and Power Disruption

The storms disrupted power to residents of Clarence Park, including ourselves. This was the fortunate part of being away. The blackout that hit 112 homes did not impact on my wife and I. Well apart from a fridge and freezer full of food that had to be thrown away.

Tram Overpass

I missed also the disruption caused to traffic using South Road. The Government, through DPTI, undertook an unscheduled inspection and repair of the tram overpass. Everyone by now is aware that one of 5 beams is leaning out.

Temporary bracing repairs are well under way as I draft this question without notice. It looks like disruption to commuter traffic and to our local residents and businesses will soon be over, temporarily of course.

When the time comes to effect a permanent solution traffic disruptions will be the order of the day again. Who knows for how long on that occasion.

I will be asking Council’s administration a question without notice at our next Coucnil meeting on Monday night. It concerns the future disruption to commuters and therefore the residents and businesses of Unley when permanent repairs or rebuild occurs.

I will be asking:

What will Council’s administration be doing to assist or direct DPTI in managing the diversion of traffic and in particular heavy vehicles through our streets to minimise inconvenience to residents and businesses alike.

Can we not only take a proactive role in determining with DPTI the least inconvenient detours but request also DPTI to alert residents and businesses alike by letter box drop or other such communication or do so ourselves as a service to the Black Forest, Everard Park, Clarence Park, Millswood and Forestville communities.

PS

Can I ask everyone who reads this blog (or the Facebook link to this blog) to support the Black Forest Shopping Centre businesses who have suffered more than we residents with a savage hit to their hip pocket.

Urgent Message to residents of Cranbrook, Grantley & Arundel

Residents of the above named streets in that little pocket of Millswood bounded by Goodwood Road and the Freight train/Belair line please be aware your access and egress for the next 24 hours is going to be limited.

 

20150402_122235A burst water main at the corner of Cranbrook Avenue and Goodwood Road has warranted Goodwood Road being blocked off between Victoria Street on the north and Mitchell Street in the south.

 

 

Busrt Mains water directed into Grantley AvenueThe work we are being told could take up to 24 hours and that was before the crew on site found what many of us know is under Goodwood Road, namely the old tram tracks. This potentially could delay repairs further.

I am told that the bitumen plant is being kept open so that work can continue into Easter by way of road repair if this is found necessary.

So how do I get in and out you ask?

Access out of Arundel is possible but you will be directed into Mitchell Street on the other side of Goodwood Road. It will not be possible to head south without maneuvering back along the back streets of Goodwood to a spot north of the Capri Cinema or heading to Unley Road.

Access into this isolated suburb will only be possible from the south using Grantley Avenue. This will mean those coming home tonight after work from the north (from the city) will need to head down Leader Street, Leah Street, East Avenue to Mills Street and then into Goodwood Road and be directed by traffic controllers into Grantley or go down South Road to Cross road and then same journey into Goodwood Road and into Grantley.

If this affects you hopefully it wont cause you too much inconvenience. If not but you know someone it will affect please let them know as soon as possible.

PS…. If you live in Forestville, Millswood (around the Oval), Millswood around the Bowling and Croquet Clubs, in Black Forest or in Clarence park you too are bound to be affected if you come home along Leader Street, Leah Street and/or East Avenue. Please have patience tonight as you head home and start the Easter break off in a positive way.

 

A Plea to Residents

A recent inspection by our administration revealed a number of street trees in Ormonde Avenue, Millswood have died and should be replaced.

 

This blog post is a plea after my blog post of 5 March to you to advise your council on what you see as the right action going forward.

Ormonde Avenue, Millswood

Ormonde Avenue, Millswood

Mindful of the fact that over 50% of our 26,000 street and park trees are mature aged trees and will reach their maximum lifespan sooner rather than later they (our administration) determined it would be prudent to investigate and consider the possibility of either replacing the whole street of trees now or staging their replacement.

We do have an emerging dilemma facing Council. If we are not proactive about creating a second generation of street and park trees we may find in the not distant future that the majority of our mature trees (over 13,000 of them) may die in a relatively short span of time. This potentially could see the City of Unley not live up to its logo.

Can you imagine 13,000 trees needing to be replaced in say a  10 year time frame, 1300 per year. Our current proactive program is seeing us replace only 300 per year. Add the loss of private trees at an ever increasing rate as people buy into leafy Unley and then remove the tree in their backyard and the picture is not so bright.

Residents of Ormonde Street have an opportunity to contribute to the decision making process having been surveyed just last week.

The decision made on this street is an important one. You have a great opportunity that most will not have and that is to inform how we address not just Ormonde Avenue but the rest of the City of Unley going forward. Other streets will inevitably present as this one has, an like I suggest neighbouring Millswood Crescent may in the not too distant future.

Please, please, please have your say. If you don’t respond to the survey we will not know your opinion and you may by default not be happy with the decision made.

Please consider what we are trying to address and carefully consider what you think is best, not just for you and the neighbourhood today. Consider your kids and grand kids who will inherit the answer we arrive at. And don’t be afraid to offer something different to the options proposed.

The future of Ormonde and maybe the City of Unley is in your hands.

 

Goodwood Oval & Millswood Sporting Complex back on the agenda

A staged implementation plan for Goodwood Oval and Millswood Sporting Complex in accordance with the resolution of Council on August 2014 I expect to be presented to Council at this months full council meeting.

 

This report should outline the approach for further community engagement, detailed design, priority projects and funding options.

The consultants for the project have taken on board what we heard during the public consultation last year. Their report will be their response to all the information garnered during the consultation.

It remains to be seen what they recommend but I am hopeful there are a number of initiatives that we can take on that will not impact significantly on our budget. This plan has been in the pipeline now since 2006 and I believe it is time we actually get to the point sooner rather than later of actually achieving something on the ground.

There are some little ticket items that I believe we can reasonable undertake. Bigger ticket times will always have to wait on Government funding. These need to be designed and costed so they are ready for implementation of funding becomes available.

Whatever is proposed will be taken back out to the public for their information and edification.

 

 

Ormonde Avenue Streetscape Review (Street Tree Renewal)

Ormonde Avenue Residents should have  received a letter by now advising of Council’s wish for their contribution into determining the future of the tree streetscape in Ormonde Avenue.

 

Ormonde Avenue, Millswood

Ormonde Avenue, Millswood

Council has a policy to replant trees in an organised, systematic way as part of a strategy aimed at avoiding all or most of their trees coming of age at the one time.

 

When we review a street and determine that trees in that street have reached their useful life expectancy we  see this as an opportune time to reinvigorate the streetscape.

It is a program of proactively ensuring we have new growth in a timely orderly fashion.

As part of this proactive program a detailed assessment has been undertaken on all the street trees in Ormonde Avenue and it has identified that a significant proportion of the trees are in poor condition and require replacement.

 

The challenge now is to determine if we replace only those in severe condition, consider replanting the whole street or ignoring the findings and replace trees on a reactive basis. Such a question must be considered in collaboration with the residents of the street. I trust they have received their letters by now.

To aid in the process of working out where to from here a street meeting has been organised by our Sustainable Landscape Specialist Trevor Stein. It will be at the corner of Ormonde Avenue and Lloyd Avenue next Wednesday, the 11th March between 4.00 and 6.00 pm.

I intend to attend so I too can join in the conversation and hear from you what your thoughts are. If you live in Ormonde Avenue please take part in this review. It is your street and your contribution is valued.

 

 

 

 

12 Streets to go

With our staff unable or unwilling to offer a program beyond the just recently approved budget for footpath replacement I conducted my own audit just to see how many streets are left in Goodwood South.

I found as follows:

In Millswood
Ellesmere Terrace, Irwin Avenue, Argyle Ave, Hackett Avenue

In Back Forest
Laught Avenue, Ellington,Ave, Gray Street, Selkirk Street,
Winifred Avenue & Hill Court
Cowper Road (west end)

And ….. my very own Kelvin Avenue in Clarence Park.

12 streets left and four years to complete. If at the rate of this coming years budget, maybe we will see them complete in 3 years.

Millswood Rail Station remains in the news

For some reason confirmation by the Government, including the Premier a while back there remains unbelief that the temporary re-opening of Millswood Rail Station will occur.

This is repeated in an article in the Eastern Courier this week. Even though initial contact with the department responsible for this (my old friends, DPTI) were unaware of it they have subsequently confirmed it will happen, just not as quick as the Government had promised.

Talking to people last night as I hand delivered our current newsletter in the section of Millswood west of Goodwood Road I received comment that indicated it will be used, and used well. By those living west of Goodwood Road. If this is true it will not be a temporary re-opening.

The resident profile of this area is fast becoming a young family demographic and they will likely prefer the train to the car to get into the city.

Well I know this much, the ailing footbridge over Goodwood Road giving us back safe access to the Station will be ready before the station is reopened with work under way to remove the Concrete Cancer completed.

Mills Street Speed Plateau needs revision

In my day time capacity as an independent building inspector I had cause to check the installation of the plateau which replaces the chicane outside 22 Mills Street.

In driving over it I was conscious, as I am sure are many who use that street, that the approach from the east is too steep. I felt too that there was dip in the plateau immediately after the approach.

I therefore put my building inspector hat and and found my suspicions to be true as the picture shows. I noticed also that there were indentations form vehicles bottoming out at this location.

The good news is I have talked to our depot management and they have checked and support my observations. Our Manager of Assets has checked work and found that there are also a few other minor issues that also need rework.

So rework will happen. Just not sure how quickly. Hopefully before the end of the financial year.

And while on Mills Street I have asked our depot to please patch the bitumen divets that exist in this street. That has been logged too.

How does the State Governments Strategic Traffic Policy affect you?

Are you aware the State Government released its ‘Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan’ on the 21 October 2013.  

If you live, work or play in South Australia but more importantly use the roads of Adelaide and beyond, whether you use car or public transport you need to be aware of what the Governments plans for our future transport are. They complement the recent 30 Year Plan they put before the public with wide ranging reactions.
This is a comprehensive plan, albeit only in concept form. And make no mistake it is a plan that will impact significantly on the suburbs of the City of Unley.
It includes, of interest to Unley residents:
ü  A new tram route down Unley Road.
ü  Continuing the development of bikeways and walkways through Unley and including completing the Greenways Program.
ü  The electrification of the Tonsley train line linked to a new 600 space park and ride facility. Upgraded rail stations and increased park and ride car spaces.
ü  Increased train service frequencies, meaning less waiting time for the commuters of the western suburbs of Unley.
ü  Increased secure bike parking at rail stations and opportunities for bike sharing through the Metrocard system.
ü  A potential underground city train link to improve accessibility, with four new CBD stations in the longer term, meaning it  is one I may not get to see
ü  The creation of Inner and Outer Ring Routes around the City. On the south side of the City this includes Greenhill Road (Inner) and Cross Road (outer), and obviously South Road.
ü  Driving from Gawler to Old Noarlunga on what will be Adelaide’s non-stop North-South Corridor.
ü  The redirection of heavy (double B) road transport from Glen Osmond Road down Cross Road instead to South Road.
There will be a number of positives for the residents of the western suburbs of the City of Unley who I am focusing on here. There will also be a number of challenges as I see it.
Those boarding trains at Emerson and Clarence Park stations will board electric trains, not what I expect in the near future will be the Diesels. This hopefully may reduce the incidence of rat running down East Avenue, Leigh Street and Goodwood Road.
We can do with the upgrading of the Emerson, Clarence Park & Goodwood Stations. Less waiting time means we inner suburban commuters can expect to get into town sooner, making public transport an easier choice to make.
Increasing park and ride car spaces further down the rail line including 600 spaces at Tonlsey hopefully will reduce the rat runners using East Avenue and Leigh Street or Goodwood Road.
Of real interest and what could prove challenging will be the establishment of the outer ring route of Cross and South Roads. This will enable the redirecting of the B doubles away from Glen Osmond Road, a bonus for those in the east of Adelaide but a challenge I suspect for those in the west.
A non-stop north south corridor, when coupled with the increased train services noted above and the introduction of B Doubles will have a tendency to grid lock the suburbs of Black Forest, Clarence Park & Millswood.
This will really help to get those southern rat runners off our suburban streets. It may mean that some of us living in these suburbs, and in particular the suburb of Black Forest may have to find other ways of accessing and egressing from our suburb to get on to those transport corridors or back home.
Non-stop as I see it means non-stop and therefore cars will no long have to wait for others to turn onto a suburban street
And from what I can see directing the B doubles past the Freight line on Cross road and directing them onto South Road will be a challenge for the Government. The freight line remaining there is, is surely a major obstacle to using this route and prompts one to ask yet again, why don’t you Mr Government take the freight rain through Truro.
…………………………………………………………………….. 

The plan can be obtained from their website at the following link http://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/itlup

And they (DPTI) still don’t get it.

Some who read the posts on this blog site may well remember my post early last year that read “DPTI just does not get it”. Well with the rail revitalization project stumbling toward completion I have repeat it.

I have received a number of complaints today at a street meeting about how DPTI have treated their observations and concerns with contempt, some past but some current. This demonstrates that DPTI are still getting under peoples noses.

Goodness I thought the project was finished some time back you might ask. As I noted in my last post DPTI may believe this but what this has done is to spark a whole new round of angst, through me, toward them and the Government.

A case in point; they have completed the pedestrian crossing just south of the grade separation tunnel, adjacent Fairfax Street, Millswood. It has been in operation for a while now. The crossing includes an audible warning which did not exist before because the oncoming trains (from the north) are now not visually apparent until almost on the crossing.

DPTI engineers have determined, not unreasonably at first look, to provide an automatic closing gate system couple with an audible warning. The problem is the audible warnings are way too loud for the comfort of adjacent residents, who were promised they would not be worse off before the project started.

It has been claimed the level of the audible warning (which is a hoot not a ding dong) is 73 dB. 75 dB I understand  is roughly the equivalent of a car horn. As a warning it is operating every 3 1/4 minutes during peak hour (trains are passing every 7 1/2 minutes each way, check the train schedules if you doubt me) and 7 1/2 minutes outside peak hour.

Hardly a warning if it is on that frequently I would have thought. And the vast majority of the time there is no-one using the crossing.

A resident has reasonably (in my opinion) offered a solution of reversing the gate function from being open all the time and automatically closing when a train approaches to one that is automatically locked all the time unless opened by the actions of a pedestrian. Of course of the automation system would have to recognize a train is approaching the gate preventing the gate to be manually opened by the pedestrian in that situation. An audible warning system becomes less necessary if this were the case I would have thought.


Their response to that residents reasonable suggestions as to how the safety they want can be achieved, was to simply to throw regulations at them. No recognition of the residents well reasoned, thought out attempt to be part of the solution or thanks for their looking to a solution rather than just venting.

Their response is to claim it was confirmed by an acoustic engineer commissioned to check the site that the alarm noise level output complies with the International Standard ISO 7731 and the volume is not required to be adjusted.

Sorry DPTI. That is just not good enough. You are sticking your neck in the sand in my opinion and using regulations to “blind people with science” who might have a concern with what you are doing.

Here is a big tip DPTI. You might want to check the statistics of pedestrian deaths in Australia on rail crossings. If what I was told today by an unqualified source the vast majority of deaths occur at crossings configured the way you have configured this one.

If this is true, might be time to change the regulations which you can do, as the regulator.