Councillors have voted in favour of permanently changing Dee Why’s beachfront street The Strand to a one-way street at a meeting of council this evening, 27 June 2023.
The one-way system, also known as Streets as Shared Spaces: The Strand, Dee Why, was first installed as a trial in August 2021. It has involved converting the southbound lane of The Strand into a dual cycle path whilst retaining a northbound-only vehicle traffic flow. An enlarged boardwalk for outdoor dining and pedestrian activity was also added.
Councillors voted 10 for and three against the move, with Crs Crvelin, Vincent De Luca and Karina Page, voting against.
Cr Crvelin unsuccessfully sought to examine options to either completely reopen or fully close the street to avoid a job “half done”. Cr De Luca foreshadowed a rescission motion, which means he will seek to have the decision overturned next meeting.
The Council report from the trial recommended the one-way be made permanent. Manly Observer understands this will cost $2.5-$3 million dollars and is not currently budgeted for. Council will seek grant funding for the works and will run community meetings before decision on the final design of permanent installations are made. Any financial decision will have to come back to council.
The report summary from Council’s Transport and Assets division stated, “The trial has been assessed against the project outcomes of supporting business, enhancing pedestrian activity and access, and prioritising space for people. Overall, feedback received from both businesses and the community has been positive, however, there were divided opinions regarding the traffic and parking arrangements. The trial has resulted in reduced overall vehicle traffic volumes, improved pedestrian, and improved visitor experiences along The Strand.”
The successful motion to make the one-way permanent was put forward by Greens councillor Kristyn Glanville and seconded by Mayor Sue Heins.
Revision division look
Since its announcement the lane closure trial has been a divisive issue, prompting fierce debate between opponents and those advocating for its permanent installation.
You can read more about this via our previous article.
By far the most prominent community campaigner against the one-way change, David Borgnis was visibly angered at the decision from the gallery, later declaring the decision an outrage.
The Dee Why resident added that he had been frustrated by a lack of transparency in being able to see the traffic data, and with the whole of Dee Why’s trade being assessed, rather than The Strand specifically, when determining if the move had been good for business.
Fellow Dee Why resident Richard Buzas, said the increased traffic in the back streets had been his major concern.
“My concern is the impacts that the one way is having on the streets behind. The safety issues. It’s caused a real rat run with cars there and as a resident I’ve seen an increase in safety issues, noise pollution, air pollution, and roads are being damaged. We’ve seen an increase in accidents in there and I don’t feel like council has listened to us,” he said.
Cr Glanville said that ultimately, 30 per cent of the community were against the project but 60 per cent were either in favour of the one-way or a version of it with changes.
“I acknowledge this is an issue where there are a diversity of views in the community. However the majority either support the change or support it with changes. Only a minority want to return to how the Strand was. I am not dismissing their experience, I understand that the change in the traffic movement is felt by them in a negative way. On the other hand, I receive positive feedback about the wider space available for the local cafes and pedestrians, and about the new bike lane which will connect into future bike networks.”
There are currently ongoing issues with one of those bike networks planned for the Curl Curl and Freshwater areas.
In March 2021 Council first sought public feedback on their proposal to modify the main road along the Dee Why seafront. Then, on 25 May 2021, Councillors revealed several options to reduce vehicular traffic and increase pedestrian activity along The Strand, including “improved parking opportunities and on-road cycling connections.”
These were combined with “additional pedestrian traffic measures, such as new pedestrian crossings in the surrounding streets” and “preference for the existing footpath to be allocated as outdoor dining and the existing parking spaces to be used as new boardwalk.”
The Strand was shrunk to a one-way lane northward, restricted to 30km/h, beginning at the southern end junction with Oaks Avenue and ending by the Surf Life Saving Club adjoining Dee Why Parade.
The southbound lane was converted to a two-way cycle path, painted green and buffered from the vehicle lane alongside.