Sunday, October 02, 2005

Kings Cross Arts festival 2005

Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4.30pm
Elizabeth Bay House, 7 Onslow Avenue
Changing Spaces

Elizabeth Bay House was built between 1835 and 1839. It was designed by John Verge for Alexander Macleay (Macleay Street) and was considered the finest house in colony.
It was subdivided into flats between 1941 and 1973 and because of this four of Australia’s leading architects and interior designers have been commissioned to transform the dining room and drawing into two modern self contained apartments to showcase the potential of new uses for historical buildings.
You are invited to inspect their work in progress and the history of the house is on display in conjunction with the installation. Admission $7 ($3 concession) Families $17.
The Exhibition continues until the 28th of October -- 10.30am to 3.30pm (closed Sunday)
Wednesdays and Saturdays

12 October--29 October
The Tap Art Gallery, 278 Palmer Street at 8pm
The October Sapphire -- a Musical Comedy

Written by local playwright, Nick Coyle, and set in a ruined mansion, this is a play about love, regret, and magic… it’s beautiful, decadent and nostalgic and something to behold.
Bookings MCA ticketing.

Wednesday 12--29 October
Kings Cross Art & Books, 33 Roslyn Street
Elastic: An Archive Project

Elastic is a group of nine artists who create projects that invite other artists to participate with a view to expanding the scope and interpretation of the project. The subsequent results are recorded and exhibited for people to touch and draw their own conclusions with regard to the authenticity of the artists’ interpretations.
The exhibition will be opened by Susan Charlton, the Creative Producer of the NSW State Archives on Saturday 15 October from 4--6pm and a Cross Conversation with the artists themselves on Saturday 22 October at 4pm.

Thursday 13--22 October
50 Macleay Street
Flanagan and Mason Artworks

This is an exhibition of the art of Julia Flanagan and Kiata Mason that involves painting, film, sculpture, drawing, collage and incorporates multi media installations to convey contemporary images that have grown out of the human form, everyday household objects, domestic surroundings and mythological stories.

Thursday 13 October at 9.30pm
The Aussie Rules Club, 28 Darlinghurst Road
The Best of Muff : Pearls Before Swine

(Sydney Premiere)
In the current climate of imploding screen culture in Sydney, the Kings Cross Arts Festival is proud to present a selection of edgy Australian feature films and shorts from the Melbourne Underground Film Festival -- the launching pad of numerous Oz filmmakers including the makers of the Hollywood smash ‘Saw’ and the just-released ‘The Magician’.
Pearls Before Swine is presented by director and MUFF creator, Richard Wolstencroft.
It is the story of a hitman given a contract on an author of subversive literature and pornography. Stars American cult figure Boyd Rice.

Friday 14 October at 9.30pm (Double Feature)
Razor Eaters
(Sydney Premiere)
This is Shannon Yuong’s killer detective chiller about a bunch of vigilante arnarchists who record their crime/murder spree on video -- described by legendary pop-culture bible Film Threat as “Fight Club meets The Blair Witch Project”.
Bullet in the Arse (Sydney Premiere)
Hong Kong Bullet Ballet meets Spaghetti Western in this slick, ten years in the making actioner about a cold-blooded trio whose world is ruled by lethal weaponry.

Saturday 15 October at 9.30pm (Double Feature)
(Sydney Premiere)
Mark (Sensitive New Age Killer) Savage’s latest opus about a woman who returns from the dead to avenge her politically motivated murder. This is uncompromising horror.

The Garth Method
Hilarious satire about an unsuccessful actor who deserves his own dangerous 'method' to get into character and achieve thespian glory.
Stanislavski he ain't as Garth finds hImself in an ever escalating series of real life situations that threaten life, limb, sanity and goof taste.

Thursday 20 October at 9.30pm
The Best of Mini Muff 2005
(Sydney Premieres)
A selection of wild, wicked and award winning shorts from this year’s competition.
Tropfest it ain’t as these speedy gems fearlessly tackle issues you know or issues don’t want to know…
Admission to all sessions: $10 (concessions $5). Persons under 18 years not admitted

Friday 21 October at 9.30pm
(World Premiere Charity Screening)
Admission by Donation -- all proceeds to Rough Edges and The Wayside Chapel
Local filmmaker Jon (Redball) Hewitt’s tale of two star cross’d lovers chasing a happy ending. A dialectical fairytale about storytelling wrapped in a crime thriller and set in the mythic neon realm of KX. Completely shot on the streets of Kings Cross and starring Aaron Pedersen (Water Rats) and Belinda McClory (Matrix) this edgy, strange and magical fable is a must see.

Thursday 13 October 6--9pm
The Tap Art Gallery, 278 Palmer Street
The 6th Annual Images of the Cross

Art Exhibition Gala Presentation Night
The Exhibition, featuring the artwork of over 80 local artists runs at the Tap Gallery from the 12th to the 23rd of October between 12 to 6pm.
The Presentation Night has live entertainment and prominent guest speakers and there is over $1000 in prizes to be won! Applications from

Thursday 13 October thru to Saturday 29 October (excluding Mondays)

The Internationalist
7pm (Tues--Sat); 5pm (Sunday)
‘The Internationalist’, a surreal, noir comedy thriller, turns on its head the classic journey to find oneself, thanks to playwright Anne Washburn’s original new voice.
Starring Jamie Mears, Torquil Neilson, Christopher Baker, Melissa Bruder & Christopher Burke. Directed by Laurisa Poulos and produced by Margot Bruder & Margot Woodward for The Practical Theatre Company.


Matt & Ben
9pm (Tues-Sat); 7pm (Sunday)
Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers’ award winning play ‘Matt & Ben’, spoofs the friendship between two of Hollywood’s most celebrated leading man, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Deliciously spiteful, the casting of women in the roles of Matt and Ben (NIDA graduates Trilby Glover and Jasmin DeMain) adds further spunk to this fiction.
Sold out at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2002, the play also took the prize for the Best Overall Production.
Directed by Alex Broun and produced by After Party Productions.
Tickets for both Shows: $27 ($21 Concession) Bookings: 8356 9987 or

Thursday 13 October, 8pm
Bar Me (the old El Rocco), Cnr William & Brougham Streets
The Susan Gay Dowling Trio

This is an act you won’t want to miss. This lady gets rave reviews wherever she goes.
As Jim McLeod said on ABC Radio: ‘A genuine musician’s singer; a special talent on the Australian jazz scene. There are few singers who are that special but Susan is one of them’. Come feel the noise!
Admission: $12 (show only) $25 (dinner and show)

Friday 14 to Thursday 27 October
Kings Cross Library, Level 1, 50--52 Darlinghurst Road
Cross Crazies

Opening 5.30pm on Friday the 14th and on show everyday during Library hours, this incredible exhibition features the costumes that made Monique Kelly a legendary star of Les Girls and Diva Divine; Damian Harris’ and Nick Collerson’s images of the Strip… and Toby Zoates’critiques of Kings Cross’ mean streets. Very entertaining, never bland -- you’ll wonder who’s crazy now!

Friday 14 October, 6pm
Gowrie Gate, 117 Macleay Street
Neon Walking Tour

Art Deco Society
The neon signs of Kings Cross have long been considered works of art.
Sadly many have disappeared and conservationists are fighting to save the survivors while encouraging a re-invigoration of the medium.
Jennifer Hill, the heritage architect, will take you on an informative tour of the signs of the times… Cost: $12 (Art Deco Society & Arts Guild members $8)

Friday 14 October to Sunday 16 October
Friday 21st October to Sunday 23rd October
Bar Me, Cnr William & Brougham Streets

A Cabaret written and performed by Nikki Aitken. A night of soul mate surfing that will have you in stitches! Bookings on 9368 0894

Saturday 15 October at 3pm
Gowrie Gate, 117 Macleay Street
Art Deco Walking Tour

Art Deco Society
Jennifer Hill leads this walk through the streets of Elizabeth Bay and Potts Point to explore some of finest inter-war era apartment blocks in Australia. A magnificence we can only look back on.
Cost: $12 (Art Deco Society & Arts Guild members $8

Saturday 15 October, 1--4pm
Art Gallery Walk

A chance to visit local art galleries and historical houses and hear all about the artwork by resident artists as well as learn about the history of the area. Starts at the Tap Gallery at 1pm, adjourns for high tea at the stately Mansions, takes in a floor talk at the East Sydney Academy by Tony Johansen and ends at Cross Art & Books and Cross Art Project Exhibition.

Saturday 15 October between 4 and 6pm
Piccolo Park, Roslyn Street
Poetry in the Park

This is an invitation to join featured poets and songwriters and perform in the park opposite the legendary Piccolo Bar. Compered by Kings Cross poet, Robert Balas.

Sunday 16 and Monday 17 October, 11am--6pm
Kings Street Gallery on Burton,
The Wayside Chapel Art Exhibition and Auction

The inaugural Art Exhibition and Auction was held last year both as a way of raising much needed funds for the Wayside Chapel’s well known care programmes and as way of strengthening the links they have had with the local artistic community.
It was an outstanding success and this year’s donating artists include Archibald Prize winner, Adam Cullen, Reg Mombassa of Mambo fame, Andrew Sibley, Gav Barbey, John Hawley, Kellyann Denton and many, many more.
Enjoy the exhibition over the two days and join us for the Auction on the Monday evening at 6.30pm for pre auction drinks. The Auction starts at 7pm.
Details on or call 9358 5582.

Sunday 16 October, 3--5pm
Kings Cross Library, Level 1, 50-52 Darlinghurst Road
‘Open 24 Hours’

Book launch
Proudly sponsored by the City of Sydney, ‘Open 24 Hours’ is a book of poems by Robert Balas, based on the colourful and eclectic character of this unique area, illustrated with over 40 paintings and drawings by local artists.

Sunday 16 October from 7--9pm
El Alamein Fountain, Fitzroy Gardens, Macleay Street
by Patio de Tango

Sydney’s Tango Argentino aficionados gather together to dance socially in front of Kings Cross’ most beautiful and well known landmarks. Come and find out why Argentino Tango is the most sensual, romantic and beautiful dance in the world.
Hosted by Sophia and Pedro Alvarez. A Free event.

Monday 17th October, 8 to 10pm
The Darlinghurst Theatre, 19 Greenknowe Avenue
New Sydney Comedy
The Cream of the Crop

This your chance to see and hear some of the best and brightest talent in town. Featuring special guest, Justin Hamilton (Triple J, ABC’s The Glass House) and compered by Dave Bloustien (Middle Class Hero) who is one of the best ad-libbers in the business, the show also stars Sam Bowring and Kent Valentine and many more. A night not to be missed; sides will be split… Tickets $12.50 (concession $10 -- stubs from other Arts Festival shows apply).

Monday 17 October
Bar Me, Cnr William & Brougham Streets
Open Mike Night

Tuesday 18—22 October at 6.30pm (for 7pm start)
Tusculum House, 3 Manning Street
Cross Projections 2005

This is a digital photographic-audio screening that has grown out of the wish of experienced documentary photographers to have control over and showcase their personal work to their peers and the wider community in a theatre environment.
Previous years’ shows have all sold out and this year includes dance, Sydney and country subcultures, intimate and public domains as well as indigenous themes.
Tickets: $15 ($11 concession) Bookings on 9357 2038 (10am--6pm/7days)

Tuesday 18 October
Café Pralinka, 7 Roslyn Street from 8-9pm
‘70s Folk Club

Featuring Brian Anderson and Ant Horn
Beards, Blues, Berets and Bad Poetry -- the folk clubs of Kings Cross in the 70s will be reborn for one night only at this funky café. Book for Dinner and the Show ($25) or Show only ($15) at Café Pralinka or the Community Centre.
Dress up as you did last time you went to a folk club and enjoy Margaret Fulton’s famous apricot chicken, an avocado shrimp cocktail, fruit trifle and coffee -- byo wine, beer or mead.

Tuesday 18 October and Tuesday 25 October
Bar Me, Cnr William & Brougham Streets
MakebeLive Productions

An evening of open mic musical antics. Entry is free and you are encouraged to bring your favourite party piece and come on down. The night kicks off with a variety of acts taking the stage and ends up in an all out jam! Great fun!

Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 October 8pm--late
Candy’s Apartment Nite Club, 22 Bayswater Road
Entertainment Plus

Tuesday features Ed Burton, Sons of Genghis and Hoo Ha’s. Admission $8
Wednesday features Loonshine, The Tongue, Rival (human beats), DJ Dias and is headlined by Botanics. There is also a freestyle battle with $150 prize money. Admission $10

Wednesday 19 October
33 Roslyn Street at 6pm
The Annual Literary Contest for Seniors Awards

This is the 9th Annual Short Story and Poetry Awards Ceremony as part of Seniors Week.
Hosted by the Kings Cross Community & Information Centre and featuring the brilliant guitar of Brian Anderson who will be playing traditional jazz and swing favourites for you as you arrive. Entry Free. A good night for Seniors, their families and friends.

Wednesday 19 October at 7pm
Bar Me, Cnr William & Brougham Streets
Seasons of Love Cabaret

A new entertainment dimension -- cabaret, acting, singing and live performance. Join our artists in a rollercoaster ride through their life stories -- passions, relationships, dilemmas and all our different seasons… the love, the sadness, the laughter and all that jazz!

Thursday 20 and Friday 21 October at 9pm
The World Bar, Bayswater Road
The ‘Sign of the Cross’ Show

In a one hour show by Vashti Hughes, Kath Ellis and Trash Vaudeville plus musicians, the audience will be treated to a rambunctious night of music and song, twirling hoops and spoken word. Trannies and spruikers, showgirls and the homeless -- local living identities are conjured up into a fabulous melting pot that captures the madness and the pulsing heart that is Kings Cross. Entry: $15

Thursday 20 October at 6pm
The Cell Block Theatre, East Sydney Technical College
Absolut Secret -- Drawcard 05

This is the small canvas art show at the National Art School where collectors are invited to choose from over 200 artworks from both established and emerging artists including Robert Jacks, Noel McKenna, Martin Sharp, Euan McLeod, Wendy Sharpe and Colin Lanceley AO. All artworks are $200 and are signed by the artist on the reverse side.
The artists remain anonymous until after the sale.
All proceeds go to the National Art School Exhibition programme.
No cash sales -- credit card (Visa/Mastercard/Bankcard) and cheque only.

Friday 21 October at 7pm
St. John’s Anglican Church, Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Cross Collections

Cross Collections presents a variety of performances for one night only in the beautiful St Johns Anglican Church, Darlinghurst.
David Davies performing ‘FINCHIE’ is a tribute to the legendary actor Peter Finch in his Sydney years, and his dreams of turning the Mercury Theatre into the National Theatre Company of Australia. We follow him on his journey from overseas to Kings Cross to the formation of the Mercury Theatre Company. David Davies is a NIDA graduate who has been a member of the Bell Shakespeare Company for the last 5 years. He was last seen as King Edward the 4th in Bells The War of the Roses and in his one man show HYDE/FINCHIE at the TAP gallery.
‘FLOTSAM’ -- Ken Foux, Gary Ross and Peter Urquhart play a series of folk and acoustic song arrangements and improvisations. The vibrant sounds of 6 string and 12 string guitar, violin and voices complement arrangements of ‘Under the Milky way’, ‘Khe Sanh’, ‘Caroline’, and ‘Angie’.
‘The Canyon of the hidden jewels’, composed by Peter Urquhart, is a trio for alto voice (performed by the amazing Jeannie Lewis), baritone and piano and contains movements of the latin Mass -- ‘Sanctus’, ‘Benedictus’, ‘Agnus Dei’ and ‘Pie Jesu’. The piece fuses tones and modes of of different musical periods to create an inspiring and timeless experience.. Admission: $10 ($5 Concession).

Friday 21 October between 6 and 9pm
The Tap Gallery, 278 Palmer Street
‘Open 24 Hours’

Multi Media Event
Poetry recitation by Robert Balas from his new book, ‘Open 24 Hours’, acoustic music by Mary Jane on classical guitar, Adam Hill on didgeridoo with featured Sydney poets --
all with Catalin Anastase’s photographic projection of 40 artworks featured in ‘Open 24 Hours’

Saturday 22 October at 2pm
El Alamein Fountain
Sketch Club in the Park

A chance to see how good an artist you are. A real life model will pose for your drawing and a professional artist will give you help as you go. Easels and paper are provided. Entry $5

Saturday 22 October at 5pm
The Tap Gallery, 278 Palmer Street
Chix with Stix

All female drumming concert featuring many traditional drums from around the world.

Saturday 22 October
Fitzroy Gardens at the top of MacLeay Street from 8pm
Films Under the Stars

Come and enjoy a wonderful selection of short films from Australia’s leading filmmakers under the stars in the shadow of the El Alamein Fountain. Be entertained and bring a blanket or cushion as there is only ground seating. Free Admission.

Sunday 23 October. Noon at Balmain Wharf (Birchgrove Oval)
Sketch Club Ferry Cruise

If you feel like a wind-down and chill-out recovery day after the Arts Festival, come and join us on the vintage ferry ‘Reliance’ for a champagne lunch and sketching trip up the Lane Cove River. Only 30 seats available, Cost: $45/$38 (all inclusive plus a life model)
Bookings: 9361 0440

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Council reverses staff spin on signage

Three small businesses in Kings Cross will soon be able to advertise their presence on the street with a revolving sign. Council staff have repeatedly opposed the idea but last Monday Clover Moore's team amended the local Development plan, removing any policy impediment and any rationale for the staff's opposition.

This opposition was already based on pretty thin reasoning and defied councillors who supported the sign. After repeated petitions from Avry Ben-Zeev, who owns World Internet in Darlinghurst Road, staff executive Jason Perica could only base his refusal on the grounds that the sign would 'increase clutter and reduce public amenity'.

Ben-Zeev rejects this as the single sign, shaped like a Toblerone packet with three sides, would replace two existing static signs. He also pointed out that all the JC Decaux signs move, so council was applying a double standard. Councillors agreed that this was a material argument.

Perica repeatedly stood up and argued against the proposed amendment during the council meeting until he was asked to desist by Mayor Clover Moore. The amendment is specific to Kings Cross.

The World internet site held three businesses -- a money exchange, internet room, and a travel agency which had cancelled its lease because it had been unable to advertise its presence.

The development control plan for signage in Kings Cross now encourages creative and animated neons and allows moving signage.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Council workshop on East Sydney street closures

-- from a DRAG press release --

DRAG, 2011 and local business associations are campaigning for a City East Traffic Plan.

Council has agreed to convene an open workshop also open to residents and businesses in the surrounding areas to develop a Traffic Study and Plan for City East. Thanks to Greens Cr Chris Harris for his work on this key planning issue.

Chris Harris put a motion to council on 21 February. It was heavily amended by Clover Moore to read:

That Council
1) recognises the need to regulate the passage of motor vehicles through some streets to provide pedestrian, cycling, amenity, public domain and traffic improvements;
2) supports community consultation, and traffic and other appropriate studies of the affected areas (East Sydney, Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst, KIngs Cross, Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay and Elizabeth Bay) prior to road changes;
3) notes the variety of opinions in East Sydney, Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross over the possible beneficial and negative
impacts of road changes in their area, including:
a) completion of the Cross City Tunnel;
b) William Street upgrade, including possible closure of Bourke Street;
c) Oxford Street upgrade, including possible partial closure of Palmer Street; and
d) trial closure of Liverpool Street at Whitlam Square; and
4) requests the Lord Mayor convene a workshop with representatives of relevant community and business groups in the surrounding areas, Council officers and interested Councillors, with a view to developing an agreed a way forward.
5) The proposed public consultation for the proposed trial closure of Liverpool Street at Whitlam Square, as required under Section 116 of the Roads Act 1993, be deferred until the outcome of the workshop has been reported back to Council for consideration.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Bogota puts Sydney to shame

Carr-addicted Sydney was put to shame last night by the achievements of Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogota Colombia, who spoke at a free talk put on by the Council at Angel Place Auditorium.

Penalosa had confronted powerful interest groups and took electoral risks by rejecting the typical RTA solution of building more roads to solve traffic jams. This was like putting out a fire with gasoline, he said.

A major study by Japanese engineers had recommended a Darling Harbour-style aerial freeway cutting across Bogotar. Penalosa instead built a 35km Greenway through the city, built first for buses, bikes and pedestrians and filled with trees and greenery. Cars came a poor last -- and the people loved it.

He also went on a campaign to remove cars from sidewalks -- he showed slides of previous car anarchy with the demand for parking in the cash-strapped city dominating most public space, to the detriment of social amenity. By contrast, later slides showed people walking, cycling and congregating in the freed space.

He overcame stiff resistance from pro-car interest groups and from a golf course which lost some land to the Greenway.

"It is much easier to tell the story than to do this," he said, raising a laugh from the audience.

He redirected scarce city resources towards an integrated bus system with car-free express routes interchanging with local routes at stations. One ticket gives all-day travel and there is a flat price for all, regardless of the distance travelled. This helped the poorer people who tended to live further out of town -- their fares were subsidised by the richer people in the centre doing shorter trips.

Instead of paving roads and carparks, limited money was spent creating and paving children's amenities, along with a network of free public libraries with computer acess. Slides showed well constructed civic areas surrounded by carparks which resembled bogs.

Traffic jams are a good thing, said Penalosa, because they were a cost-free way of limiting traffic. His message was that car use had to be restricted in conjunction with the improved public transport and cycle facilities. Rather than a congestion charge which dominates the Sydney debate, the rapt audience heard about a tag scheme which kept 40% of cars off the road two days a week. The City's main drag was closed to traffic on Sundays, a move which is so popular that if the police forget to erect the roadblocks on time, the locals do it with rocks and junk.

When asked how he bulldozed his vision through, he recommended a 'dictatorial' approach, taking the political gamble that the moves would prove popular afterwards. We in NSW are used to that -- only our dictators are Philistine carr-loving headkickers living in a 1950s dreamland.

Penalosa is running for the presidency of Columbia this year and has published a number of books including "Democracy and Capitalism: Challenges of the Coming Century." He said Sydney was the most beautiful city he had seen and wished he had all our problems, in an ironic reference to the relative wealth we have.

Clover Moore opened the talk and remained in the audience with her new General Manager, Peter Seamer.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Traffic snarls will boost tunnel profits

The RTA has a grand plan for traffic in our area. Local groups claim it's really about channelling traffic into the Cross-City Tunnel. The following research has been compiled by DRAG and 2011 residents' Association for your information. The plan looks pretty crook for locals, we think.


The following closures to local streets and regional roads (by City of Sydney) and to the arterial road network (by the RTA) are proposed or have been approved:

1.1. Sydney City Council proposes closing:

# Liverpool Street to all traffic at Whitlam Square (except emergency vehicles);
# Francis Street to all traffic at College Street;
# All traffic coming down Stanley from College can only turn left into Yurong and then proceed to William Street;
# Palmer Street exit to Oxford Street (as part of Oxford Street Upgrade).

1.2. The RTA has recently implemented or proposes closing:

# Bourke Street closed South of William Street or permanently half closed north of William Street;
# Prohibit right turns from William St into Bourke St northbound;
# Bourke St (north of William) is now one-way running south. Driving south from Bourke St you can only turn west to the CBD ;
# Cathedral St is now one-way between Palmer and Bourke Street eastbound. The rest of Cathedral remains 2-way.

1.3. The CCT/RTA has approval from Dept of Planning (now DIPNR) to implement these changes:

# Stop traffic from Sir John Young Crescent from entering the Harbour Tunnel. Instead, traffic will U-turn at a single lane roundabout constructed at the intersection of Crown and Sir John Young Cresc to Macquarie Street and over the Cahill Expressway or proceed via Cathedral Street/Bourke St to Cowper Wharf Road;
# Restrict access from Cowper Wharf Road to northeast CBD. Through traffic originating east of Kings Cross would be required to use either the CCT or William St;
# Access to the Harbour Tunnel only from Cowper Wharf Roadway westbound;
# Kings Cross traffic will now enter the CCT portal via a new ramp from Ward Ave (located 30 metres east of the existing Kings Cross Tunnel).


The effect of these changes would be to:

# Force locals to use a more circuitous route to the CBD or Harbour Tunnel;
# Force surface traffic trying to access the Harbour Tunnel into the CCT;
# Increase traffic into the CCT by ensuring increased “choice” of the CCT by locals.” The RTA aims to encourage car use as a Public-Private Investment (PPI) incentive;
# Cause delays for locals exiting Woolloomooloo east of Bourke St;
# Increase traffic on Ward Ave, Kings Cross Road and Victoria Sts as well as Neild Ave, McLachlan Av and Liverpool St (Darlo) and MacDonald St;
# Concentrate traffic onto New South Head Rd (already congested by 72,900 vpd beyond its capacity of 60,000 vpd);
# Create a bigger bottleneck on Macquarie Street (from 19,800 to 26,800 vpd) ;
# Increase traffic northbound on the Bridge (+7000 from Cahill Expressway and +7840 vpd from Bradfield Highway).


3.1. In East Sydney & Woolloomooloo

Traffic in East Sydney is now light, except for the four streets—Oxford, William, Crown, Stanley—all densely packed with residents, businesses and restaurants. These streets are heavily congested, with heavy noise and air pollution. The proposed closures are of streets with light traffic which will decrease further when the CCT opens.

Congestion on these heavily used four routes will be aggravated because:

# Traffic from the City will have to use Crown Street to access any streets between Hyde Park and Crown. There will be a single lane turn for east traffic into Crown from William;
# If Bourke Street is closed south of William, traffic cannot turn into William Street from Bourke Street. All Bourke Street traffic will travel along Crown Street or Stanley/Yurong to leave the area;
# Traffic currently using Liverpool Street to enter East Sydney will travel via Oxford Street and Crown Street;
# Traffic currently exiting from East Sydney to Oxford Street via Palmer will travel via Crown Street or Victoria Street Darlinghurst;
# Crown Street between Oxford and William Streets will be jammed during peak hours. Cars from side streets already have great difficulty turning into Crown Street;
# The only east-west streets open in East Sydney also carry the 389 bus route;
# The 311 and 312 bus routes would be re-directed in Woolloomooloo. The 311 will be gridlocked between Cathedral and William;
# Harbour Tunnel access is by weaving via Crown or Palmer to Cathedral, then via Bourke to Cowper Wharf Road;
# Harbour Bridge access is via Macquarie Street or through the City or via the CCT;
# The increased traffic threatens the success of the Oxford and William Street upgrades.

3.2. In Kings Cross, Potts Point and Darlinghurst

# Traffic on Victoria Street will increase;
# Ward Ave and Craigend St will be clogged with traffic accessing the CCT;
# Traffic will increase on Darlinghurst Road, Macleay Street and Wylde Street in Kings Cross, since this will be one of the major routes for Darlinghurst and Kings Cross residents to access the Harbour tunnel;
# East Sydney traffic will use Darlinghurst Rd/Victoria Street or Darlinghurst Rd/Macleay St as an alternative to Crown Street.

Monday, February 07, 2005

One small step for Ombudsman

A giant leap for Sydneysiders appears to be on its way in the long overdue reform of the secretive despotism of council staff.

Another Press release from Clover Moore follows, referring to the Ombudsman's scathing report on CoS staff. This was triggered by complaints by the SMH that council refused to supply documents concerning their ten-year refusal to implement a bike plan for Sydney. One hopes that the senior staffer who recently boasted that he likes running down cyclists will get a kick in the pants.



The NSW Ombudsman office has recommended changes to the City of Sydney's Freedom of Information (FOI) procedures. I support full
implementation of the recommendations, which include redetermination of a two and a half year old FOI request and an independent review of similar FOI requests during the preceding 18 months.

I also want the City go beyond the Ombudsman's recommendations and undertake a review of the City's existing FOI processes and related procedures for providing public access to information.

The review should consider best practice approaches and develop options for Council's consideration on how to enhance ease of access to document the public has a right to view, minimise the number and length of time documents are withheld, and ensure reasons for withholding documents are clearly articulated.

I am strongly committed to FOI reform and, during the 52nd Parliament, co-authored the Independents' Charter of Reform that
opened up political decision-making processes, increased scrutiny of public administration, and made freedom of information processes more accessible.

Most recently, I sponsored in Parliament legislative reform (the Government (Open Market Competition) Bill) to increase public scrutiny
for government contracts and grant arrangements. In November, Council supported my proposal to review Council's handling of tendering and contracts with a view to strengthening these principles in Council's operations.

I will pursue the positive principles of the Charter of Reform within the City of Sydney. Council recently appointed a new Chief Executive
Officer who will have my full support to continue a process of positive reform.

Council provides 'thought leadership'

A press release from Clover Moore follows. One can only hope that the disparity between this thinking and what's happening in William Street will close with time. I suspect it will need more than a 'workshop' with council staff.


I hosted the first in a new series of "Thought Leadership" seminars at Town Hall this week. These seminars are a way to get distinguished experts on urban living to talk about their ideas and projects -- and to stimulate discussion towards more enlightened city governance.

The speaker at our inaugural "Thought Leadership" seminar (attended by over 200 residents, business leaders and planners) was Professor Jan Gehl, whose particular and important contribution has been to bring a human dimension into urban planning.

Half the world's population lives in urban areas, but many cities are dysfunctional, with common social problems. To often, the emphasis is on development, not planning, and there is rarely the will to fund the changes needed to plan for quality and sustainability in urban life.

Throughout the 20th century, the motor vehicle became the dominant feature in urban planning. Here in Sydney, our comprehensive tram
system was dismantled in the 1950s, and successive governments have promoted city expressways over public transport. We now have to
address the impacts of alienation, transport gridlock and pollution.

Remaking city areas and returning them to people have been Professor Gehl's major contributions. Lively or lifeless public spaces depend on quality and the invitation extended to users to walk, stay, sit or otherwise enjoy the area. Professor Gehl's insights provide inspiration and a system to provide a careful treatment that creates inviting and human public spaces.

His work in Copenhagen, over a thirty year period, has led to its renaissance as a "walking city", with substantial benefits to that city's residents and tourists. He has been involved in other cities around the world, including London, Wellington, Zurich, Adelaide,
Melbourne and Perth.

Our City is committed to the creation of new public parks, places, walkways and cycleways, and has embarked on a comprehensive program of renewing existing public spaces, from parks and foreshores, to streets and laneways.

Professor Gehl also ran a workshop with city staff. We hope to learn from the clarity of his vision for bringing life to our streets.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Oh, the William St spin

'Ooh la landmark' was the headline over a plug for William St developers in the Herald's Domain on Thursday. A developer trying to sell apartments on the Avenue still reckons it will be Sydney's Champs Elysees once the cars have gone underground and it's all grey granite and plane trees.

Council's landscape architect (the one who believes 'consistent' equals 'attractive') says he expects life to be more civilised once traffic 'disappears'.

That's a no-brainer. No mention, though, of how council staff fought tooth and nail to eliminate or minimise the cycle lanes -- they must not be 'civilised' in his eyes. If the comparison with European cities was continued, council's attitude would show up as more on the barbaric end of the continuum.

And no mention of any idea that 'grand plans' imposed from above are always anti-resident. The avenue is already alienating because of its sheer scale (humans don't feel comfortable if there are no boundaries to the space they are in). This is only made worse by the uniformity of paving, tree species and official banners that will run from Town Hall to the Cross.

This 'consistency' is in fact psychologically disturbing to locals because it makes it virtually impossible for any sense of place to differentiate the micro-precincts we live in. The lack of landmarks is disorienting, and that is one of the most urgent discomforts we can feel -- it's only a few degrees from the panic of being lost. You can never tell someone to 'meet me at the cafe on the corner with the jacarandas,' for instance, because jacarandas are verboten. It all has to work by street number and even they are hard to fnd on the skyscrapers.

No, it's all about paving the way for developers, as the Herald article demonstrates. Yet there is no mention of preserving the many charming, old buildings which might save the avenue from the super-alienating domination of high-rise with its consequent wind-tunnel effect, already acute. Horrible in winter.

The article goes on about 'concerns' about 'the world's oldest profession'. An expert says it won't go away. "It may well be that the gentrification of William Street displaces some of that activity into the back streets, but it's not going to get rid of it. It's got to be somewhere in the Cross." The developer has another 64 apartments to sell out of 91, priced from $400,000 to $2.5m.

Maybe Richard Clapton will feel inspired to write a reprise to 'Girls on the Avenue'. What about 'Coffee on the granite'? Doesn't really have a ring to it, does it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

KX always the poor relation

A reader posted this comment below another story:

What on earth is NOT going on at the Rex Building?

BEFORE the conversion to residential, the tenants in the council-owned community units were:
KX Community and Information Centre,(KXCIC)
The Early Childhood Centre,
The KX Library,
An airless meeting room.

SINCE the conversion, the library after many moves is now operating in Darlinghurst Rd., the Earlly Childhood Centre has space in the Reg Murphy Activity Centre and the KXCIC after intense lobbying has returned to the Rex. However, the space is at rhe rear of the building
The council owned units are nnow of commercial lease and what of the area that that library occupied? It will, supposedly, be a community space. Has anyone seen the area? It is behind a latched door!

Latest news is that it will be ready for use in April, 2005.
In the meantime, community groups are denied space for various projects and have to scrounge around for commercial space or have their projects postposed if not abandoned. Why is KX always the poor relation when it comes to community facilllities?

Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?

A member of the community went to see the Place Manager at the KX Neighbourhood Service Centre(NSC) requesting a grant for a community project and was told the cupboard was bare. Today, I read in the Sydney City Mag of council grants available. The place to collect the necessary info kit is from your NSC from Feb 7.