(Ed: This submission is by transport planner Chris Standen, who is currently completing a doctorate in transport economics at the University of Sydney. For more on Chris, see below. Readers will note that Chris has many questions for the M4 East Traffic Modellers. The People’s EIS are keen to hear the answers. We note that Chris Standen’s submission to EIS may have been slightly updated before it was finally submitted and we will publish the final version later)
1) I strongly object to the M4 East project, and to the broader WestConnex scheme.
2) The EIS has failed to model the impacts of implementing the proposed project (M4 East) relative to not implementing the proposed project (the ‘future do minimum’ scenario). The ‘future do something’ scenarios, on which the traffic, air quality, health and greenhouse modelling is based, include the M4 East project plus another uncommitted project to convert kerbside general traffic lanes on Parramatta Road to bus priority. With these additional bus lanes, the capacity of Parramatta Road would be significantly reduced and traffic volumes would fall accordingly, with drivers opting to use the M4 East tunnel instead. As such, the traffic volumes for the M4 East tunnel have been dramatically overestimated, and the traffic volumes for Parramatta Road have been dramatically underestimated in the ‘future do something’ scenarios.
The impacts of the project as proposed by the proponent (and as defined in Section 5 of the EIS), that is, the M4 East Tunnel with no new priority bus lanes on Parramatta Road, has not been presented in the EIS, as required by the SEARs.