We fix a city via the right structure, bandaids are useless.

The main impediments are the paraphernalia of Bairdijiklian Malenomics - Ministers, lobbies, GSC, iA


"Busting congestion" is a BIG LIE when governments create urban and regional frameworks which increase congestion.

On 12 March 2016 new Assistant Cities Minister Angus Taylor asked RG to travel across Sydney to Camden, at his own expense, about his “congestion plan”. Taylor took one look and blanched; and from then returned no calls or emails. He continued to act contrary to sound principles as expressed in that document from which this graphic was drawn (NB it is based on stopping actions that increase congestion as much as doing traffic facilitation actions)


Berejiklian please listen: the "extra 20,000" is critical

cf Goanna Transit Bridge


Traffic does NOT always increase, it is ADAPTIVE, these calc

PR bullshit about congestiON-busting

Do the PMs think that absolute rubbish will smell like roses?

In a nutshell, Sydney’s population approach abandoned commonsense and “congestion busting” with the dismissal of Christie’s and Greiner’s work: the strengthening and amplification of the Bradfield system would have provided a broad platform for an increasing number of local networks, thus increasing density over a broad base. GSC went off on the Government's contrary axial logic which suited its Hong Kong model.

Christie’s 2009-‘10 effort was sponsored by the Sydney Morning Herald, It emphasised the need to increase rail usage by 50% by 2021 to just maintain air quality standards. The Herald’s transport reporter published these words in February ’10:

  • Every premier since Morris Iemma has ducked and weaved around Christie’s most powerful and simple argument: stop trying to reinvent the wheel with heinously expensive, pie-in-the-sky, back-of-the-envelope plans for underground metros and build on what we have.... (Premier Keneally) needs to abandon completely the transport blueprint’s bizarre premise that Sydney needs to create an entirely new public transport system.

The Daily Telegraph editorialised that if there were 100 projects, Labor's metro would rank 98.

Greiner’s appointment to the new iNSW was hailed by the NSW Business Chamber as the solution to past incompetence. iNSW commissioned expert reports and came up with Christie logic – put rapid transit on existing lines, defer metros and defer the 2nd Harbour Crossing. 

The names at risk of being eternally shamed as "wreckers of Sydney"  start with Berejiklian and include O'Farrell, Hazzard, Turnbull, Taylor, Morrison, Baird, Iemma, Rees, Stokes, Constance, Fletcher, Gaetjens, Kennedy and three men who have confirmed the final, fatal, push, Alan Tudge, who with Josh the Treasurer and Michael McCormack come into focus here.  

The mad rush to camouflage the disastrous madcap metros, the tramways from hell, and the traffic-constrained WestConnex horror movie, and the de-skilling of executive ranks, led to overlooking three "traffic principles" which if ignored lead to failures, and if used cleverly produce better answers than Berejiklian's circus ever could:

  • traffic is adaptive, drivers change routes and behaviours in response to signals, leading to induced demand and adapting congestion, fix one problem which moves, not disappears
  • transit investment tends to move travellers from one transit option to others, not generate new transit usage.  Greiner espoused that principle in 2011-12 but for the wrong reason.  It need not be so if the planner is clever (e.g. Goanna Transit Bridge)
  • the secret to reducing congestion is to reduce stopping.  Road capacity is maximised at around 28 kph, so slowing traffic works if Olivero principles are followed (Rockdale's re-working of the F6, see next paragraph

We can add that the Berejiklian Government has broken every promise in the PM's own electorate, and ignored Rockdale City's innovative reworking of the F6 and Grand Parade to dramatically reduce congestion, with serious consequences, and he has not countered.

It started with Labor's  "ideology & stupidity" push after the Tourism and Transport Forum's lunatic Transport Compact, which had no analysis but proposed replacing Bradfield's radial lines with radial metros.  The 10,000 Friends of Greater Sydney has similar untested and unjustified notions.  Labor didn't have any idea and so lost office.

Both Christie and Greiner found that the Bankstown Line is the least stressed of all rail lines in Sydney; but the parallel East Hills line (which connects the SW with KSA and the CBD) is the highest ranked for improvement funds.  

There is no known record of a rational decision to go down the Bankstown route. Berejiklian’s continuance of the Labor mirage is at odds with logic, without a business case (see elsewhere here). There is a toon from 2009 which implies the decision came from a boozy discussion about “we can’t do that so how about helping Joe” between Labor “powerbrokers”.

The same people are pushing the continuance of the metro cancer long after the Baird Model was discredited.  Berejiklian promised not to but did connive to ratchet up a tunnel into the decay of Sydney's planning credibility.  

There is no justification in politics or journalism to just "assume" the West and other Metros should proceed as there is no logic in so doing - not without re-design of the proposed network in a full due diligence protocol.  Labor is still drowning in the old cant.

The metromaniacs are trying to camouflage corrupted planning behind a "bust congestion" shield.  It won't work.  The right way is the old way - there is an impending crisis with the failure of the CBD & ES tram and the NW Metro and my "Save Sydney" is not going away.

The recent collapses of the signature Google project in White Bay and the Walker Corp’s in Parramatta Square are the public signs of a deep malaise – the crippling self-delusional effect of sitting in the CBD Privatised Metro Control Centre (PMCC) and thinking “you” (salubrious Canberran, Eastern or North Shore dwellers, fully subsidised) care about Western Sydney’s needs past and overdue, now and in the near future. “You” exclude options, outsiders and probity as they are inconsistent with your Lobbyist religion.

Results = wrong technologies, highest possible costs, longest possible timeline, least effective service levels, community cynicism, business frustration and professional disaffection. Solutions have to be holistic.

An enveloping crypto-political truth came from Professor George Williams, Professor of Law at the University of NSW:

  • A lack of enforceable rules and an absence of other accountability measures means that political parties are prone to develop into individual fiefdoms. Key figures have been able to distribute power through patronage networks in return for favours.

With Sydney’s dominant projects, the “how did this happen?” comes back to a breakdown in the quality of executive government and the increasing influence of corporate lobbies. There has been political and Party discussion of elements of lobbyists but we can see the economic consequences in just transport amounting to many $ billions of taxpayers’ money.

The Berejiklian happenstance of metros and trams replacing existing transit networks has shrunk that base to an insignificant 5% of the extra 800,000 dwellings over just 15 years, with no further capacity after. As a sign of the confusion, the metro rail system will be capacity-constrained as its vehicle capacity was badly over-stated and its network is being funnelled through a tight central tangle just like the 1920s Bradfield system. Sydney will strangle itself unnecessarily.

Congestion through the suburbs will worsen but especially along the axial lines. That includes 

  • the Bankstown Maginot Line with its 67 high rises in Campsie alone, without rail and road amplification, with over-densification also in the Lower North Shore and SW Growth zones
  • the unhappy WestConnex which will be “full” by 2031 according to its Business Case. It already does not connect with Port Botany and the Airport, meaning related truck and car congestion is increasing, not reducing
  • the contraction of the F6 to an archaic alignment is increasing trucking congestion from the south as well as north
  • there will be no “Three Cities” as all money is going into extending corridors, not polycentric networks.

My work, especially as expressed in Case to Pause, and in Eddington Bedrock: from Christie to Greiner to Gibbons;  and Malenomic Crisis in NSW Freight & Ports Planning and in Eastern Seabord Rail Freight Development Plan, is based on commonsense remedies and principles but with a significant range of urban innovations including the Goanna Transit Bridge, the Bondi Beach Expressnet, and means of the re-balancing of employment from the east to the west.

Tudge After-Taste

On 9 October 2018 Alan Tudge MP gave a speech which was the epitome of bureaucratic string-pulling. It was in the Menzies Research Centre which refuses to pursue Menzies principles in practice. 

Then his superior, the Deputy PM, said in his Budget PR, “The Government’s $100.0 billion infrastructure investment for critical road and rail projects (NB NSW just $7.3 b in “new”) is aimed at busting congestion, better connecting our regions and improving safety on our roads”. 

Here’s how Tudge’s speech went:

  • A little over a month ago, Prime Minister Morrison created a new portfolio which merged population policy with urban infrastructure and cities policy…. As the “Minister for Congestion Busting”, to use the Prime Minister's descriptor … I will describe the nature of the challenge, its underlying causes and some of the ways we are thinking about addressing it. This is an infrastructure challenge, but also an employment and population challenge.

He went on to say, with many graphs, that population has increased as the driving influence. He asserted that and ignored more obvious causes like the miserable failure of the main cities’ fluctuating and insolvent infrastructure planning. The Government’s response was four-pronged:

  • The Government lifted expenditure as soon as we came to office and in the last budget, allocated a record $75 billion with forward 10-year plans. A significant proportion of this investment is allocated to building the intra-city transport spines, such as the Monash Freeway, Tullamarine rail, WestConnex or Ipswich Motorway.

He did not say that the Metros and WestConnex are capacity constrained and over-funnelled, the latter out of capacity by no later than 2031, with linked infrastructure running so late because of never-never promises (ESPECIALLY IN THE PM’S ELECTORATE)

  • Second, addressing rapidly the very local congestion pinch-points…. sometimes it is local pinch-points that causes the greatest delays for commuters.

True but the pattern of major infrastructure and housing sectors will increase congestion, making local hotspots marginally relevant, given “construction shock” will worsen local congestion and compete for resources (it will increase pressures for migration). A major example is the Rozelle $4 billion stub road which will lock up key roads at the time WestConnex dumps 20% (20,000 vehicles per day) on it – this is real Berejiklian nous on display, high costs and low benefits, hurting Sydney

  • Third, we aim to ease the population pressure off the three big cities and more rapidly grow the smaller states and regions.

Fatuous – Turnbull stalled Vic regional rail, Berejiklian has refused to extend the spread of regional rail services, there are no iNSW or TfNSW regional plans (much window-dressing), and all informed opinion is that the Robina model is workable but definitely not rapid. Fast rail ideas have no population decentralisation potential, in context, and are even malicious in terms of community manipulation – CLARA is straight con

  • have a better population planning framework… We need a better planning framework that can better join the (Feds and States) together

Berejiklian has repeatedly said she wants to split off from the COAG/iA framework. NSW rejected the city planning framework and none of its projects have been through due diligence – so outcomes are not defined, performance measures set, fast and effective options considered (“rapid”), or budgets set within sustainable financing frameworks. 

Value Capture has failed and Berejiklian deliberately wastes $billions to frustrate the Goanna Transit Bridge, Reducing immigration targets by 30,000 a year will mean very little when spread and migrant living habits are considered.

He aggregated infrastructure without stating effectiveness and efficiency factors, which are failure factors in major cities, and he did not say there is a surplus of housing stock in the cities. He emphasised City Deals which are the anthesis of sound planning principles. He has been screamed at by academics and the Grattan Institute making much the same points, and he paid as much attention as did PM Turnbull and Minister Taylor, that is, none.

Here are one email to Tudge and McCormack et al before that speech and Budget, and one to the PM and broadcast to Coalition Parliamentarians:

13 October 2018 by email and on Facebook:


The Corrosive Re-focussing of Sydney's Planning on Corporate Self-Interest and Political Malice is an actual book which has a preface from one of the world’s most prominent political scientists, ensuring wide circulation whether it is re-named and re-focussed which are in the lap of the PM.

Right now, there are six situations which cannot be allowed to continue if the run-up to the elections is to have a credible foundation.  The total waste from just these six items is in the mega-billions.

First, Berejiklian and Turnbull have joined Labor’s sad scheme to promote a Western Metro and defeat Greiner’s and Christie’s mainline upgrading option which would be faster, cheaper and more effective. 

  • My proposal to put a loop in at Badgerys would give it the best transit support in the world.  I have forced some window-dressing on Faster Rail and limited strengthening but they are farcical.  This is about to explode as a CRITICAL FAILURE POINT in Sydney’s history.

Second, the WS City Deal was poorly designed, manipulated mercilessly, led to $100 million to a mate to do a false business case, and cut-off the South West, Illawarra and Port Kembla. 

  • THIS IS ANOTHER CRITICAL FAILURE POINT.  The Badgerys Airport is to have a metro shuttle with forced changeovers at St Marys, a repetition of Berejiklian’s $30 billion error on the NW Rail.  In both cases, the blunder became an imperative to ratchet-up the base into a Chinese monolith based on NSW taxpayers’ subsidies.  This is a BIG LIE twinset.

Third, WestConnex is about to dump 20,000 more vehicles per day on the Anzac Bridge and Berejiklian is refusing all local transit schemes lest her Metro obsession be threatened. 

  • She and BullMo do  not understand the differences between congestion reduction through local transit, and long-distance fast transit remote from localities.  This includes the Goanna Transit Bridge which Urban Growth tried to steal in 2015 – extensive peer reviewing produced the observation, that “it should have been done long ago”.  This is the opposite of Turnbull’s promise:  “Infrastructure should be assessed objectively and rationally on its merits. There is no place for ideology here at all.”  Yet he has funded the still-mythical West Metro.  That Labor supports it is a really bright justification.

Fourth, following on, Berejiklian is chasing flying pigs where the Beaches Peninsula needs a practical, affordable and appropriate scheme. 

  • Baird’s actions in 2008 over the BRT strategy he had asked me to prepare was the first major IP theft and disaster as a workable scheme would be in place now but for his actions.  There has been no resolution despite years of my reasonable attempts to settle. 

The rockabilly circus went like this:  

  1. The actions from 2012 over a tunnel from Warringah Road and the Link with WestConnex were without proper due diligence.  
  2. The announcement on 16 March ’17 was CBD-centric, not Rozelle.  
  3. Berejiklian’s announcement of $77 million to geotech and $17.6 million for route planning at The Spit three weeks before the 2017 North Shore and Manly by-elections was known by me (and as advised previously) to be wasteful and typical of “Labor’s planning stench”.  
  4. I had since had my beliefs confirmed by a leak from the Geotech team.  Now we have a surreptitious abandonment of a tunnel and re-imposition of the sunken caisson (or “tube”) approach I had warned would be necessary.  That belief was justified through my involvement in the Harbour Tunnel in the 1970s and Anzac Metro in the 2000s.  

It remains the case that the Government’s approach is long-term and high-risk, and will damage the Peninsula’s lifestyle quality through over-densification and crippling induced demand on road space.  My scheme remains as a faster, cheaper and more effective solution.

Fifth, Berejiklian has re-created WAinc within her own Department and this is preventing the development of a proper City Plan. 

  • It is also politically dangerous and commercially unwise as Berejiklian showed she was willing to give up Google for idiosyncratic motives and now she controls dozens of development sites under a “development compact” model from GSC which breaks accepted planning practices (below)..  This is a “climate conducive to corruption”.  A report in the SMH on 2 August regarding an ICAC inquiry included “One project about which Mr Maguire made numerous representations was a planning proposal at 124-142 Beamish Street, Campsie. The land owner, Joe Alha, started purchasing the site in early 2014. Mr Alha’s expectation was that the site would soon be rezoned as plans for the development of the Bankstown rail line were put in effect.” 

Berejiklian’s Metros are largely inspired by Hong Kong’s MTR and their model was described in an SMH story in Dec ’15:  

  • The company turns billions of dollars in profit and funds the construction and maintenance of rail lines by building and managing thousands of high rise apartments and shopping malls near or above train stations.  MTR's interest is not unrequited.  Premier Mike Baird and Transport Minister Andrew Constance have, according to their diaries, met with MTR representatives in Australia and federal Cities Minister Jamie Briggs visited the company's Hong Kong headquarters in recent weeks…. 
  • MTR's approach in Hong Kong has been criticised by some, including AECOM's Asia Pacific executive director of buildings and places, Guy Perry, who labelled their residential developments "fortresses" that were geared towards profit.”

Sydney’s great reform phase was based on transit supporting a housing program which is what is needed now.  GSC has been doing the opposite, producing mayhem such as 67 high-rises in Campsie alone, which in turn led to widespread freezes (after earlier failures along Anzac Pde and Parramatta Rd). 

Sixth, all three major ports in NSW are in crisis (see www.thinkinglogicallogistics.info):

  1. Newcastle has a Baird secret levy which benefits the Botany/Moorebank monopoly, and no infrastructure strategy
  2. Turnbull has a Calfas Panel strategy to reinforce Botany’s monopoly at the expense of mercantile and freight sustainability, and overrule communities contrary to the proposed social licence approach
  3. Botany is nearing saturation and not one industry agency or association has done proper calculations, the timing to spill tonnage is within the lead time for replacement operations.  Turnbull’s $400 million will put not one more train on the tracks – that’s the reality of engineering & economics
  4. Kembla has been cut-off by the WS City Deal blunder and hits a commuter rail crunch in 2020 and coal crunch by 2031, with no corrective programs within those tight lead times
  5. Inland Rail is incomplete and now has lost a NSW seabord trade foundation
  6. Minister Pavey (was) unresponsive and seemingly irresponsible.  Industry bodies are leaderless and rudderless.

This could hardly be a worse situation and its shows the paucity of quality thinking in the industry since Jack Wallace’s time in association with Peter Cox.  (Berejiklian has made it worse by subsuming portfolios into super-portfolios meaning endless on-referrals, with the actual work remaining in silos.)

Bruce Loder, legendary NSW Commissioner for Main Roads, wrote in 2008 on the breakdown of the professional Public Service (Terry Moran and Peter Shergold and others agree), then add Grattan’s warnings in Roads to Riches and Berejiklian’s subsequent dumping of Christie and Greiner, and you have the answer to Sydney’s perpetual problems:

  • The deterioration in management and skills in the public service exemplified in the Roads and Traffic Authority extends throughout the service and explains in part the problems of delivery being experienced in health, transport and public works. It will not be easy to restore the public service to an effective provider of works and services and guardian of the public interest, but until then and until the roles of government and public service are once more clearly defined, we can expect the standard of government in NSW to continue to decline and the quality of services in NSW to continue to fall relative to other states.

There have been explicit acts of hubristic cruelty in Baird’s and subsequently Berejiklian’s and Turnbull’s treatment of me including deprivation of Save the Children from a legitimate donation expectation and reduction of bushfire risk exposures, both known to Baird et al.  It is regrettable that the 20-odd thefts of my IP, including the two big ones in GSC and the three big ones on the Bankstown Metro, will produce a call for the resignations of those responsible - failing a more sensible solution, soon.  They have left me with no choice, c’est la vie.

27 August, 2018 

Congestion busting:  EDDINGTON BEDROCK - from Christie to Greiner to Gibbons

Dear PM

You will recall my emails on this topic and my remedies - the best of the best - to mounting congestion and housing costs under current failing programs.

95% of new dwellings will not get transit services, while both the Metros and WestConnex will be out of space, the latter dumping 20,000 (20%) more vehicles on Rozelle per day.
I’m the one with the strategies, and I’ve offered them to PM Turnbull since Dec ‘15.
Take Sutherland, I’ve been trying since 2003 to persuade people how to get 110,000+ car carriers pa off Ousley and out of Miranda.

Are you reinforcing, not correcting that?

I regret to say that you’ll  have reason to regret the Turnbull legacy if you continue it

The Berejiklian slew of projects has shrouded mistakes – it is difficult to remember all of the blunders.  Premier Baird and Berejiklian invented "congesting-busting" as a strong-sounding, meaningless and unmeasurable PR outcome of the cascade of chaotic back-of-envelope "decisions" on the NW to Ryde - then to Chatswood via shuttle - then to CBD vis 2nd Crossing - then to Bankstown because you couldn't stop the shiny toys in the CBD.  

Labor's pet loonies led this "planning stench".  The Daily Tele cheered each blunder.  

Christie, Greiner and every sane analyst was dumbstruck at the stupidity and waste.

This was the opposite of the Coalition's promises before the 2011 election - which also featured a Greiner-led iNSW which Berejiklian also monstered.  Try this:


People told us they were sick of having to fork out millions of dollars for failed government promises like Labor’s disastrous city Metro, pushing essential local projects like cross regional road connections, and long promised heavy rail links, further back into Labor’s never-never. They wanted professionals, not back room political tacticians, to make important infrastructure decisions. They wanted government to get its act together with an integrated transport strategy.... to meet the needs of customers, not bureaucrats. And they wanted local people to have a say in local planning decisions, and not to have their own neighbourhoods decided by the political whims of a backroom power broker ... (BOF – the total opposite of what is happening)


  • When Baird was under duress over his greyhound clanger, and GSC over their unprofessional standing, he and the Turnbulls pulled a rabbit out of the Top Hat.  The "Western Sydney City Deal" would transform Federal relations with State infrastructure.  Except that it was based on a different (and far superior) UK model, distorted local government involvement, and Federal gifting to mates - all in a framework which Professor Tomlinson described as "unConstitutional".  I called this "camouflage" and "cloak of invisibility".

Turnbull was followed by Paul Fletcher MP, new PM Morrison and his Tudge MP (self-described "Minister for Busting Congestion"), and the NSW Treasurer and Ministers - none recognising the dishonest basis and empirical and normative failures of the origins.

  • It took 72 weeks from announcement of the process (at a time Baird was being pounded) to Sunday, 71 of which had led communities and local government believing that the South West link would be the Airport’s connection.
  • In the last week, #72, that was switched to the North West – without costings, planning and construction timetables, evidence of blunder-testing against Eddington and Greiner-like protocols, or operational and community impacts.  The selected local councils (which excluded 3 of the most relevant - typical GCS/PMO distortion), had been paid-off and acquiesced.  "Unintended consequences" proliferated:

  • The main one being Nick Greiner’s recommended upgrading of the Main West Line to 40,000 pph and mine that it be extended to give Badgerys the best transit connections of any airport in the world. iA’s protocol needs analysis, then feasibility of relevant options (preferred, other, small scale, pricing alternatives etc), failed disgracefully. Business cases (plural) are to be done on the main alternatives. 

Meanwhile, the Premier and PM are refusing to consider options elsewhere that have potential 

of $800 million-plus  in Joint Venture yields, the easing of the impact of WestConnex’s extra 20,000 (20%) vehicles per day near Anzac Bridge which is already stressed, and $billions in savings through more clever matching of infrastructure and land use.

Sydney’s liveability, costs of housing and congestions, and infrastructure metrics are all worsening quite rapidly. As  PM Turnbull said (unreported) when announcing the Smart Cities Plan, 

  • throwing more money at the problem won’t solve it. Change can only be delivered by addressing the policy and regulatory settings …

The City Deal as delivered, with iA’s “Future Cities – Planning for Population Growth” repeats 

  1. Ministerial capriciousness (as fiercely opposed by the Grattan Institute), 
  2. failures to observe needs analysis and feasibility guidelines, 
  3. dysfunctional project approaches and financial effectiveness, and 
  4. denial of the Prime Minister’s congestion and housing affordability promises. 

The implications extend past the WS region to all of Greater Sydney’s networked transport and logistics systems. It was suggested it be withdrawn and re-done properly, without political interference, but the lunacy continues through its sponsor, the GSC (which is an aberration of fascistic community intervention).

The City Deals lack Constitutional legitimacy in the view of Professor Richard Tomlinson. His views reflected this analyst’s contemporary interventions which forced the Governments into several  manoeuvres.