Norwest Business Park workers are more than a little cross

About 50 people a day are signing up to new Facebook page Nightmare on Lexington to vent about one of The Hills’ worst bottlenecks — Lexington Drive. ISABELL PETRINIC reports.

Founder Louise McDonald of Rouse Hill said she felt she had no choice but to create the page.

"It can take up to 45 minutes just to get out of our [office] driveway, left or right," said Ms McDonald, who works on Lexington Drive, Bella Vista, inside Norwest Business Park.

"We've got staff members here who park at Hungry Jack's [on Old Windsor Road] because it's quicker to walk the two kilometres to the office, and others are moving their car further down the street at lunch time.

"You can see the road rage."

Her office block is about 500 metres from the Celebration/Lexington Drive intersection.

Off peak it takes her seven minutes to drive home to Rouse Hill.

In peak times it can take an hour.

Facebook page follower Kirsty Adam posted on February 18: "Now with The Ponds, Riverstone, Schofields, etc being developed and more people working here [in the business park], don't you think town planning should be catering for all these extra people and cars?"

Ms McDonald has sent The Hills Council suggestions made on her page to improve the traffic. She will also send them to Roads and Maritime Services.

The recommendations include widening Lexington Drive to two lanes, car pooling, creating another exit onto Old Windsor Road, changing the light sequencing on Celebration Drive to allow more right-turning cars to exit, and replacing the roundabout near the Woolworths at Woolworths Way with traffic lights.

There have also been calls to build car parks in both Lexington Drive and Norwest Boulevard — another identified traffic hot spot — to meet the future parking demand they see being created by Bella Vista and Norwest stations, to be built by 2019.

The North West Rail Link team say trains will arrive every five minutes in peak periods and every 10 during the day and on weekends.

Bella Vista will have an 800-space commuter car park, and six bus, 16 kiss-and-ride and four taxi spaces on the new extended Lexington Drive.

Norwest station, on Norwest Boulevarde, won’t have a car park.

‘‘Hopefully we’ll win the Lotto before then and not have to sit in the traffic the stations create,’’ Ms McDonald said.

In the three years to June 30, 2013, there were nine reported crashes at the intersection of Old Windsor Road and Celebration Drive, none of these in the southbound breakdown lane commonly used by commuters in peak times as a third lane to turn left onto Celebration Drive.

Norwest Business Park is home to 15,000 workers, a figure expected to double by 2031, and the headquarters of major national and international companies.

ROADS AND MARITIME SERVICES SAID:

Roads and Maritime Services is continuing with investigations to determine future possible upgrades of Norwest Boulevard to reduce congestion and increase capacity, is working with stakeholders including Transport for NSW, the Transport Management Centre, council and building contractors to progress upgrade plans and will continue to keep the community informed.

RMS regularly assesses feedback from stakeholders, including the Norwest Association, and the suggestions will help to inform investigations.

Traffic management plans are in place to reduce the impact of building the North West Rail Link and will be updated as the $8.3 billion public transport project progresses.

Traffic assessments are also being carried out to inform potential improvements to the roundabout intersection at Norwest Boulevard/Lexington and Elizabeth Macarthur Drive.

Lexington Drive and Celebration Drive are local roads under the care and control of The Hills Council.

RMS completed a $2 million upgrade of intersection of Windsor Road in March 2012 to improve traffic flow.

■ Norwest Boulevard was re-classified from a local road to a state road in 2010 after it was recognised the road would connect two state roads as developments and traffic in the area increase.

NORWEST ASSOCIATION SAID:

Norwest Association (the body corporate established to maintain development standards within Norwest Business Park) shares the concerns and frustrations of those caught in traffic along Lexington Drive and has been pro-active in endeavouring to seek a prompt resolution to this issue.

The association did not require referral by its members, as the issue was self evident.

As a result, the board resolved to engage an independent traffic engineer to review the current situation and provide recommendations as to how traffic could be improved.

The final report was received late in 2013 and presented to The Hills Council at a meeting held on January 8, 2014.

The recommendations were as follows:

1. Partial signalisation of the roundabout at the intersection of Norwest Boulevarde with Lexington Drive;

2. Installation of pedestrian fences on the kerbs of both sides of Lexington Drive at the roundabout south of Celebration Drive;

3. Convert all unrestricted parking spaces in Lexington Drive between Celebration Drive and Woolworth Way to 2-hours limits from 8.30am to 4pm;

4. Prohibit on-street parking on both sides of Lexington Drive between Woolworth Way and Meridian Place, from 4pm to 6pm to allow two traffic lanes in each direction;

5. Place “No Stopping” signs either side of driveways for a distance of six metres;

6. Line mark the northern approach of Lexington Drive at the roundabout with Woolworth Way to permit two entering lanes; line mark the roundabout to provide two circulating lanes;

7. Line mark the southern approach of Lexington Drive at the roundabout with Meridian Place to permit two entering lanes; line mark the roundabout to provide two circulating lanes;

8. Increase the green time for vehicles exiting Celebration Drive onto Old Windsor Road during the afternoon peak period; and

9. Investigate opportunities for reducing the traffic travelling through the Bella Vista residential area.

Items 3, 4, 5 and 8 could be readily implemented at no cost to The Hills Council.

A response from council is still awaited.

THE HILLS COUNCIL SAID:

The Hills Council is aware of concerns raised about traffic in Norwest Business Park on social media and understands the frustrations of motorists.

We are listening to their concerns and working to find a solution to the issue.

Much of the traffic around Lexington Drive is restricted to the morning and afternoon peak, with the traffic particularly intense around the roundabout of Norwest Boulevarde and Lexington Drive.

Council’s preference is for the roundabout to be replaced by traffic lights, however that would be an expensive proposal and would require funds from the NSW government.

Council will continue to discuss how to alleviate traffic with the NSW government and RMS.

Council is aware of the recommendations from Norwest Association and will take them into consideration.

■ Lexington and Celebration Drive are local roads.

■ As of yesterday (Monday) 3pm, ‘‘Nightmare on Lexington’’ had 1270 followers. Tell us what you think in the Comment section below. 

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