Item 6.2 - Attachment 1

Previous Council Report



ITEM NUMBER         9.1

SUBJECT                   Trial Closure of Church Street for 3 Saturday nights in December 2010 between Phillip Street and Market Street

REFERENCE            F2008/05099 - D01748269

REPORT OF              Service Manager Traffic and Transport        




This matter was considered at the Council Meeting held on 22 November 2010 where it was resolved: -

“That consideration of this matter be deferred to the Council Meeting to be held on 13 December 2010 pending a meeting with the Local Area Commander and officials from the Roads and Traffic Authority with arrangements for the meeting to be left in the hands of the Lord Mayor.”

Further advice will follow via memorandum in relation to the proposed meeting.


To respond to Council’s Resolution of 26 July 2010 regarding a proposed closure of Church Street on Friday and Saturday nights between Phillip Street and Market Street, Parramatta




(a)     That Council note that it can not proceed with the trial part-time closure unless it also has the approval of the RTA.

(b)     That due to the RTA’s and Police opposition Council not proceed with the trial part-time closure of Church Street at this point in time.

(c)     That Council work with Parramatta Police to facilitate measure to reduce anti-social driving behaviour in the CBD such as Vehicle Defect Operations.

(d)     Further, that Council implement a traffic survey to obtain information on the number of motorists undertaking anti-social behaviour in Church Street and report back on the results of these surveys.




Council at its meeting held on 26 July 2010 resolved:


(a)   That a report be brought forward on closing Church Street between Market and Phillip Streets on Friday and Saturday nights with the aim of having this implemented on a trial basis by December 2010 under an interim arrangement.  The report is to include details of consultation undertaken, regulatory approvals that will have been obtained and the cost of closures.


(b)   Further, that following implementation of the interim closure a further report should be provided that includes proposals to lease parts of the road closure area to restaurants as a means of funding the closures. 


The background information that accompanied the Notice of Motion stated that the popularity of the Church street ‘dining precinct’ had attracted some anti-social driving behaviour along Church Street and that a night time closure of the road would improve the amenity for visitors and potentially increase seating capacity for restaurants.




Following the Council resolution of 26 July 2010 Council advertised the trial closure for a period of 28 days (from 11 August 2010 to 8 September 2010) in the Parramatta advertiser and Councils website.


Letters were also sent to emergency service providers (NSW Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service), transport service providers (Sydney Buses, Wesbus and the Taxi Council), Parramatta Chamber of Commerce and businesses and residents within 200m of the affected of the affected area.


Transport NSW, on behalf of Hillsbus, Veolia and Sydney Buses raised objections to the proposal.  They indicated that the proposed road closure would re-route bus services and inconvenience bus patrons as they would be required to walk to bus stops located in Wilde Avenue or Church Street north of Victoria Road.  Transport NSW also indicated that any financial impact resulting from the re-routing of current bus services is to be funded by Council. 


The NSW Fire Brigade advised that that a corridor is to be maintained for emergency vehicle access.  According to NSW Fire Brigade guide sheet, an unobstructed corridor 4m wide (preferably 5m) is required for operating fire brigade appliances. 


NSW Police Force initially objected to the proposal pending submission of a comprehensive report addressing issues like management of traffic disruptions, access to public transport, emergency access, pedestrian flow/anti congregation plan, responsible service of alcohol, outdoor seating arrangements and road closure.  The NSW Police have more recently met with officers of Council and the RTA and have provided further comments discussed later in this report.




On 18 October 2010 Council considered a report from the Parramatta Traffic Committee regarding a proposed trial part-time closure of Church Street, between Philip Street and Market Street, for 3 Saturday nights in December 2010.  This report mainly dealt with the traffic aspects of the closure including the consultation that had been undertaken.  It also included issues regarding cost, outdoor dining, safety and security.  The proposal included security staff to help address concerns regarding crime.  The report recommended that the trial could proceed on traffic grounds and that it would not be feasible to include outdoor dining in the trial.  A memo was also provided to Councillors on the night at the Council meeting advising of the latest information from Police in regards to provision of Vehicle Defect Operations in the Parramatta CBD and crime and security aspects of the proposed closure.  The memo indicated that a further report would be provided to Council regarding the trial closure.


The cost of the road closure is approximately $3,000 per night.  This includes: delivery, pick up and hire of barricades and signs ($600), 3 traffic control staff for an 8 hour shift ($1,400); 2 security staff for a 6 hour shift ($600); cleaning, including sweeper machine ($400).


The constraints in regards to extended outdoor dining include: an area 4m wide is required for fire and emergency vehicles, existing fences and hedges form a barrier; cars may be parked in the area unless a Special Event Clearway is created at much greater expense; the kerb may be a trip hazard for waiters; the distance from the kitchen to the dining area may become excessive for waiters.





Due to the concerns with the proposal by the NSW Police and the RTA, Council staff met with senior Parramatta Police, including the Commander of the Parramatta Local Area Command, Robert Redfern, and a representative of the Roads and Traffic Authority on 27 October 2010 regarding the proposed closure of Church Street.  The Police raise in written correspondence the following concerns regarding the proposal:


(a)     International research suggests that the closure of malls and the loss of passive surveillance and monitoring via motor vehicle traffic tend to increase the incidence of crime such as assault, robbery and anti-social behaviour.  Crime Prevention by Environmental Design Principles suggests that a shared zone with motor vehicles and pedestrians is less likely to encourage offences of this kind. That was the very basis some years ago for the reopening of the Church Street Mall between George and Phillip Streets.  This may be overcome by other environmental design solutions and with high pedestrian traffic flows, however, these are not addressed or contemplated in the current proposal.


(b)     If the issue which is trying to be addressed is anti-social behaviour by individuals utilising motor vehicles there is a capacity to address this problem through joint operations including operations with the RTA in the CBD area.


(c)     There appears to have been inadequate methodology applied to first identifying the actual problem which exists, (for example anti-social driving), if any, the scope of that problem and the identification of the best possible solution.


(d)     While in principal not opposed to any trial, if the trial is to run it should be evidence based.  That would require, at a minimum, an appropriate survey completion process to assess any actual problem and the size and scope of the problem; the identification of appropriate comparison data to assess the impact, if any, of the intervention, and a suitable sample size to ensure that the data is reliable.  It is accepted that all of this would come at considerable cost. However, if any trial is to be of value these are minimum requirements.


The RTA has also advised that it supports the position of the NSW Police on this matter.  It should be noted that Council can not close the road without the concurrence of the RTA.


If Council remains concerned about anti-social driving behaviour in the CBD and more specifically the Church Street dining precent it is recommended that Council can arrange for a traffic survey to obtain information regarding the number of motorists undertaking anti-social behaviour in the restaurant precinct of Church Street as detailed in the Police submission.


Council’s Community Crime Prevention Officer (CCPO) has advised that closing Church Street would not affect other activities associated with the motorists that undertake anti-social driving behaviour in Church Street.  These other behaviours include assaults and dangerous driving in other locations.  Accordingly, targeting the offenders over a larger area throughout the CBD using programs like Vehicle Defect Operations is supported.  The CCPO has also advised that closing Church Street would create a quiet area north of Riverbank Shopping Centre that may become a crime hotspot.  It is recommended that Council continue to work with the Police and RTA on carrying out vehicle defect operations in the city centre.


If the level of activity near Lennox Bridge was increased it would improve the level of surveillance in the street and may increase the probability that Police approve the closure in future.  In the short term Council could investigate low key entertainment options on the east side of Church Street near Brandsmart (330 Church Street).  The entertainment could be in the form of buskers or entertainment paid by Council or the Restaurateurs.  Subject to the outcome of the investigation the entertainment could be provided in December 2010.


A part 3a Development Application has also been lodged for a mixed use development at 330 Church street.  The development provides an opportunity to provide improved links between the River and Church Street.  It also gives an opportunity to provide space that could be used to increase activity in the area and space for entertainment.


Richard Searle

Service Manager Traffic and Transport




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