Northern suburbs councillor Janice Kershaw says the area’s traffic problem has “reached breaking point” and needs urgent action from Wollongong council.
The Labor representative, who is running for re-election, said the council needed to lobby harder to improve traffic conditions.
“I spoke to someone from Austinmer and it took then 45 minutes to drive to a soccer game at Bulli, and people going home in the afternoons get banked up Bulli Pass,” Cr Kershaw said.
“It’s just getting worse and worse and residents are dealing with this every day.
“Meanwhile there’s more development going on, which the council is approving, and it’s just making it worse and worse.”
While Memorial Drive and the Princes Highway are controlled by Roads and Maritime Services, Cr Kershaw said the council could consult with residents and look at freeing up council land to make small changes at the most congested parts of the road.
She said there were several parks which may be able to be reconfigured to allow for turning lanes, nominating Point Street and Grevillia Park Road as examples where this could be done.
The RMS is developing a corridor strategy, which covers Lawrence Hargrave Drive at Thirroul to the Princes Highway through Bulli, Memorial Drive, Crown, Bourke and Corrimal streets and the Princes Highway from Wollongong to Five Islands Road at Unanderra.
“But we can’t wait any longer or the RMS to join Memorial Drive to Bulli Pass – because this could be years away,” she said.
Asked about the council’s role as a development approval authority, Cr Kershaw said it was legally unable to knock-back most new development despite the ongoing traffic problems.
“Planning legislation means that if you meet certain conditions, the council can’t knock it back,” she said.
“This means every person who owns a block of land can develop that land – the problem is that there’s an accumulation effect on our main feeder roads.”
“We really need to look at some sort of second access way to the northern suburbs.”
Wollongong’s Greens candidates also honed in on transport issues this week, calling on the NSW Government to fund an expansion of the free Green Shuttle service.
This would include extra buses on the already crowded CBD route, and a new route into the city’s “disadvantaged southern suburbs” of Warrawong, Berkeley and Port Kembla.