Letters to the Editor

I’m very grateful for great aged care

ONE hears so many negative comments regarding aged care that Iwould like to record our experience. Imoved my mother into aged care in 2009 because she was not managing by herself at home in Queensland. After inspecting about a dozen facilities — and I admit some were decidedly unappealing — we chose Bupa Care Services at North Rocks.

The management and staff meet the Diamond 4 C requirements which, in this case, are Care, Courtesy, Consideration and Comfort. My mother’s care was first class and any concerns we may have had were attended to promptly.

There were many activities and outings offered each week, giving interest and variety to all residents, and the food was so good my mother was healthier than she had been for a couple of years.

My mother loved to visit the residents in high care — she liked to see the ‘‘old people’’ and only joined them last month in February, a month before she died, at 94.

The management, staff and her many friends were very sad to lose her but we know without the care she received at Bupa she would have passed well before then. Thank you, Bupa!

Sandra Frank, Baulkham Hills

Nature under threat

Not satisfied with ceasing to support our annual Orange Blossom garden competition, our ‘‘Garden Shire council’’ is now determined to prune any part of our gardens which slightly overhang the footpath or roadway.

This is to make it easier for bus commuters to park in our street and let pedestrians use our unpaved grassy (generally wet) footpaths. As it is, most people walk on the road. Our street has been attacked twice in the last 12 months, both times by council workers with no horticultural knowledge — just the ability to start a power pruner.

In this last carnage, lovely 40-year old maple trees have been butchered, leaving the elderly garden-owner most distressed. So much for ‘‘The Garden Shire’’!

Carol and Ron Perrau, Baulkham Hills

Expand the T-Way

While Sydney’s mono-rail will be replaced by light rail, it is time to review another mode of transport.

As a manager of a national road freight company, and a parent who car pools children to school, my thoughts on traffic collide at a dangerous intersection.

On one hand, I am acutely aware of the ‘dead lines’ that truck drivers are given by the powerful retailers in the supply chains to arrive at allocated timeslots and avoid prohibitive penalties. The invidious trucks are at the mercy of the traffic laws and the retail lords.

On the other hand, I visualise an aerial view of the gridlock traffic where each truck is a bull elephant in the room, hogging up too many car spaces.

Every morning, every vehicle from motor cycles to cars to trucks share the same carriage ways, with toxic smoke bellowing out of exhaust pipes and human nostrils.

Then it dawned on me, from above. I am not referring to some divine epiphany but the beautiful T-Way, arching over the highway like a rainbow, but void of the flashing colours.

While the main roads are over-crowded, are the T-ways under-utilised?

The 1998 NSW government report ‘Action for Transport 2010’ recommended seven T-Ways which are rapid transit networks. They were considered more flexible than rail because buses can join and leave the T-Way anywhere along its route. So far, there is a 31 km link from Parramatta to Liverpool, a 17 km link from Parramatta to Rouse Hill (along Windsor Road), and a 7 km link from Blacktown to Parklea (along Sunnyholt Road).

According to the RMS web-site, the T-way benefits include links with industrial and commercial areas, reducing travel time and reducing traffic congestion.

Ironically, this mirrors the routes of many large trucks, picking up from industrial areas, delivering to commercial areas, but inevitably increasing travel time and traffic congestion for other motorists along the way.

This begs pertinent questions: Would the travel time increase for the large buses if the T-way was shared by large trucks? And the corollary question: would travel time decrease on main roads in these areas if the large trucks used the T-way?

We could start by piloting B-double trailers on T-ways. If it proves not to slow down the buses, then semi-tailers could be considered as phase two

According to RMS, average vehicle lengths are B-doubles 25 meters, semi-trailers 19 meters, buses 12.5 meters and cars 4.1 meters. This means that every B-double removed from main roads equates to over 6 car spaces, which should equate to less congestion.

The NRMA’s own ‘Decongestion Strategy Report’ in May last year outlined a 10-point plan to tackle Sydney’s traffic, primarily by appointing more human resources to manage it. The majority of responses published on its own web-site have cynically dismissed the plan as a ‘waste of time’ as ‘none of the NRMA points go to the core of the problem’.

The NRMA proposal highlights the ‘forgotten transit lanes’ so that they permanently remain an exclusive bus zone, yet its own web-site readers complain that transit lanes are ‘underutilised and are empty most of the time’.

Instead, the NRMA could have recommended a review of the transit lane utilisation, and potential for further utilisation with a view to ‘decongestion’. A cost benefit analysis would reveal the threshold point at which trucks on T-ways would actually slow down the buses.

While it is recognised that buses should be prioritised because they could carry 80 customers, and public transport needs these incentives, trucks also carry the necessary daily supplies for hundreds of customers.

Traffic congestion has hit home to my family with the current M2 Upgrade in the Hills area. According to the RTA report in 2010, the Hills Shire Council was ‘concerned about potential

impacts …on local road congestion’. The RTA response was that ‘Traffic and transport related impacts during the construction phase of the M2 Upgrade project are not expected to cause significant congestion on the local road network’.

The reality for local residents is absolute gridlock, as any eye in the sky would see between 7 and 9 AM every weekday. My own family’s travel time to school has more than doubled from 15 minutes to about 40 minutes, which has had a domino effect on bed time, wake up time, and fatigue even before we reach our destination.

The research by RTA on this occasion was clearly erroneous.

Along our route, we encounter numerous 40 km school zones where most students appear to be driven to the school by parents or buses. These safety zones are also cash cows for hidden cameras for those exceeding the speed limit during the push and shove. Like the T-Ways, it begs the questions that point to further RTA research: are the school crossings under-utlilised? Is there a solution from above, such as overhead pedestrian bridges that would redress both child safety and traffic congestion?

My anecdotal experience suggests that more creative and robust research needs to be undertaken by RTA to redress traffic congestion. Sometimes we need to think outside the grid.

Joseph Wakim

Very thankful

I am writing on behalf of the committee of The Hills Barbarians Cricket Club. This year we fielded 17 cricket teams across seniors and juniors and we also ran an In2Cricket program for 80 children.

We wish to thank The Hills Council ground maintenance team for their excellent work in maintaining our cricket fields over this very wet summer. The careful management of the grounds and the drainage works undertaken over the last couple of years have made a great difference to our fields, in particular those at Eric Mobbs reserve.

When most other councils closed grounds, ours remained open. This happened many times and our club was one of the few able to play on days even after a downpour the night before, on fields that were in surprisingly good condition.

We saw council workers out in all weather mowing and maintaining the fields and their commitment was greatly appreciated.

Karen Tisdell, junior secretary,

The Hills Barbarians Cricket Club

Care for kids

I have concerns about the new pirate ship play area at Castle Mall. I think it is brilliant and my 18-month-old loves it but I am concerned about parents leaving their children unsupervised to go to the shops.

A father left his young son at the playground and I watched him walk off. His son then hit my son on the head. I feel I should not have to worry about other children’s behaviour when their parents should be around. His father was nowhere to be seen.

I hate to think what could have happened if this child had an accident or wandered off. This is a problem that needs to be highlighted to parents about looking after their children.

[name and address supplied]

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