Better Solution for Public Transport North of Mona Vale

With a NSW election coming up early this year it is worth looking at what commuters north of Mona Vale wanted from Transport NSW – a public transport system which was simple and cost effective.

From CABPRA Website: Community groups north of Mona Vale last week (way back in October 2016) presented Transport NSW with what they believe is a far quicker, less destructive, simpler, more flexible and less expensive transport solution for the Pittwater area than the one put forward by Transport NSW (TfNSW) two weeks ago. Click here for more information.

“The solution is simple. Have three routes which extend to where people live, i.e. the suburbs. It should go basically express from Mona Vale with two set-down stops going into the city, two pick-up stop going out of the city at Warringah Mall and Neutral Bay Junction,” explained David Owen, CABPRA (Clareville and Bilgola Plateau Residents Association) President.

Community groups north of Mona Vale solution:

  • Have an “E90”, a bendy bus or a double-decker B-Line bus, which goes around Palm Beach area via Avalon ever half-hour all stops into MV then stopping only at Warringah Mall Junction, Neutral Bay Junction and the City.
    • Set-down only Warringah Mall and Neutral Bay Junction after Mona Vale going into the city
    • Pick-up only at Warringah Mall and Neutral Bay Junction before Mona Vale going towards Avalon.
  • Have an “E88”, a normal size bus, which goes around Careel Bay area via Avalon ever half-hour all stops into MV then stopping only at Warringah Mall Junction, Neutral Bay Junction and the City. This route should not go down Central Road but Avalon Pde instead.
    • Set-down only Warringah Mall and Neutral Bay Junction after Mona Vale going into the city
    • Pick-up only at Warringah Mall and Neutral Bay Junction before Mona Vale going towards Avalon.
  • Have an “E89”, a normal size bus, which goes around Clareville/Bilgola area via Avalon ever half-hour all stops into MV then stopping only at Warringah Mall Junction, Neutral Bay Junction and the City.
    • Set-down only Warringah Mall and Neutral Bay Junction after Mona Vale going into the city
    • Pick-up only at Warringah Mall and Neutral Bay Junction before Mona Vale going towards Avalon.

CABPRA worked with the Avalon Preservation Association, Newport Residents Association and Palm Beach & Whale Beach Association to come up with this solution. Together they have talked with more than 400 residents.

“You told us you want express buses into the city. You said you don’t want to have to change buses when going such a long distance. You clearly said that lots of buses terminating and turning in our villages will ruin them and create car-parks of our villages. We have listened and believe this solution does cater for what we want,” Mr Owen explained.

With these services there should be no need to have the B-Line coming up to Newport, saving taxpayers quite a lot of money but still giving Newport residents a much better service than they have now and a faster service than offered by the B-Line. Plus no need for a turning circle, no need for toilets for bus drivers, no need for multi-storey carparks in Newport.

Build the B-Line terminus at Mona Vale bus depot, as suggested by members of the Mona Vale Residents Association. Transport NSW can build a carpark there, maybe a coffee shop. There will be toilets. It can ensure the carpark is for users of the B-Line only, if it wants. It will be a secure and safe stop for passengers getting on and off at night. Plus it is right opposite one of the major shopping centres in Mona Vale.

“We believe this solution will also take pressure off the B-Line from Mona Vale. It will make it quicker, less congested. It could also mean less buses on our roads. It will definitely mean less buses terminating and turning in our villages and less need for expensive, ugly car-parks,” said Mr Owen.

“A 199 from Manly to Palm Beach is an interesting route obviously aimed mainly at the tourists. However this route should go three times an hour and go all the way to Palm Beach. Having a route not always going to its destination – that is every second one stopping in Avalon – creates confusion and frustration for travellers,” he added.

We want to present Transport NSW with as much detail as possible. Therefore if you have some suggestions please send your ideas here.

This is unashamedly set up for passengers north of Mona Vale. It is not a replacement for a B-Line service which should terminate at the major transport junction of Mona Va


Sexism and the city: how urban planning has failed women

Elizabeth Farrelly says “follow the artists”

In today’s SMH Elizabeth Farrelly says, “follow the artist”. My thoughts are: should we take it a step further and get the artistic, the creative, the visionaries to design and plan our cities, our suburbs, our regional centres? Or at the very least to lend a major creative hand? We need to do something to stop the engineering, tick the box blandness.

Here is what Elizabeth Farrelly has to say:

… From a kilometre up, Sydney looks sweet. Flagged by a tiny shaving nick in the vast flank of Australia, the city snugs into the green saucer of the Cumberland Basin, bounded by one coast, three rivers and a corset of ragged mountains. The Great Western Road poked a pin-hole in that corset, through which a million sheep could first trickle, then flood. My eagle’s eye sees them fan out across the vast savannah, scenting new grass. What’s surprising is how few humans have been similarly lured.

It’s beautiful out there. The mountain crossing, defying the Roads and Maritime Services’ best 10-lane efforts at blandification, is exhilarating – and from there it’s a different world. Air, sky, palette, people; all change. It’s big sky country. I, for one, love it.

Because I love it, I’m stunned that so many Sydneysiders still regard “out there” as some kind of punishment. And because I love it empty, I’m mildly reluctant to share this core real-estate truth. But here it is: follow the artists. If you’re wondering where will be edgy now, fun in a decade and overpriced in two, do it. Follow the artists.

But first, back story. Australia is a vast canvas dominated by two large cities, both gripped by frantic inequality crises, surrounded by a diaspora of dying towns and much red dust. This is the general perception. But really? Is that it?

The population debate, as currently framed, pivots around density, development, unaffordability, congestion, transport. It focuses almost exclusively on the cities, and then only Sydney-Melbourne, as if we’re some double-yoked Singapore-style city-state.

When we do bother to discuss “regional centres” (and honestly, could there be a more uninspired term?) it’s like, maybe we could send refugees out there, as a five-year quid pro quo? After all, they should be grateful, right? And, like, it’s not a war zone.

The rest is thoughtless, careless. We nuke our agriculture lands with petro-chemicals, trash our fields and forests with mines, abandon our sweet little country towns, let the few big ones sprawl uncontrolled and compete like fiends over every square centimetre of Sydney-Melbourne. Is this inevitable? Somehow built into the continent? Or is it just the long shadow of the penal paradigm, whispering that Australia’s only truly habitable parts are those that could conceivably, at a squint, be Europe?

The recent Q&A on population growth was grim. Carr banged on about halving immigration, Tim Flannery insisted we don’t have enough water for anyone else and the Grattan Institute’s John Daley said all efforts to create country employment have failed. The End.

Only Dr Jay Song, a Melbourne policy academic and recent immigrant, was energised to paint an imaginative, intelligent and vivid Australian future. In so doing, she showed precisely why immigration is such a plus.

Diehard anti-populationists typically argue limits to space, food, jobs, transport, water. The argument goes essentially like this. They come here, they take our jobs, crowd our cities, inflate our house prices, clog our roads and take out train seats. They drink our water and eat our food.

But this is slavish. A job needn’t be something someone gives you, clock-on clock-off. Limits are not self-evident, or fixed. Jobs can be created. Food can be grown, transport can be built. Water can be re-used, desalinated, cleansed, sequestered. Rain can be encouraged. We can get clever. Cities and towns are inventions; the best ones put the art back into artificial.

The core of creativity is energy, and most of that originates with the sun, of which Australia has lashings. We waste far more than we could ever use. So consider this.

Australia’s small towns are famously “dying”, but only because we accept that the entire hinterland is good only for primary industry, which is increasingly depopulated: fly-in-fly-out mining, and industrialised agriculture. But both models are petrochemical-dependent, unsustainable and oafish.

Sustainable farming is inevitably more human-intensive, substituting ideas and elbow-grease for chemicals. This is good, because this is jobs. It is towns, cities, life.

America has hundreds of cities. We have a handful. Sure, they need water. But it’s funny how much more hydro-creative people are in thinking about colonising Mars than inhabiting inland Australia.

As Song notes, our immigration intake is now 60 per cent skilled and educated; people likely to start businesses, create jobs, invent enterprises. This new human energy could plant massive rain-generating forests, create huge solar arrays, work sustainable agriculture and exploit the new, $10 billion inland rail from Melbourne to Brisbane via Parkes, Dubbo and Moree. The opportunities are endless.

You might think this fanciful. But it’s already under way. Don’t believe me? Watch the artists. Artists are thought-leaders, but because they go where it’s cheap, they’re also 15 years ahead in where and how they live.

In the early sixties, artists colonised slum-Paddo. Then came architects. They didn’t just make art. They made pockets of a new and intense culture. Fifteen years later, the rest followed.

Now it’s the same but opposite. Artists are pouring out through that mountain pinhole to Cowra, Moree, Narromine, Wagga Wagga, Cooma and Orange; Dookie, Brim and Benalla. Phoebe Cowdery’s Corridor Project in a Cowra sheep-shed and her husband, architect Dylan Gower’s CLEAN Cowra project, generating community energy from bio-waste, are two examples of dozens.

They may be refugees from Erko and Bondi, not Iraq or Aleppo, but just the same, they flee places that offer their kids no future, and bring an energised desire for new beginnings. They don’t just go there to paint. Artists make place, reshaping tired old towns into buzzing villages. The countryside is being rethought, and artists are in the lead. Follow them.

From SMH, March 24, 2018

Elizabeth Farrelly

Elizabeth Farrelly is a Sydney-based columnist and author who holds a PhD in architecture and several international writing awards. A former editor and Sydney City Councilor, she is also Associate Professor (Practice) at the Australian Graduate School of Urbanism at UNSW. Her books include ‘Glenn Murcutt: Three Houses’, ‘Blubberland; the dangers of happiness’ and ‘Caro Was Here’, crime fiction for children (2014).

Please don’t feed the wildlife – plant natives instead

Keep wildlife wild: please don’t feed the animals

Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) and other conservation bodies generally advise against feeding native animals, for a good reason.

Why can’t I feed native animals?

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 11.27.27 AMWhen you feed native animals you’re giving them the wildlife equivalent of junk food. Instead of eating a wide range of natural foods, they depend on processed seeds, bread and other foods that are not part of their natural diet. This can make them very sick.

Animals that expect to be fed by people can become aggressive, harassing people for food when they are hungry.

Once the animals you’re feeding know that you are a reliable source of food, they may converge on your home or campsite, potentially disrupting their migratory patterns and displacing other species. If wildlife flock to be near you, their newfound population density may encourage the spread of communicable diseases between them.

They may also lose their ability to forage for natural foods.

Think twice before you feed wild animals – a moment’s pleasure for you may lead to the animal you feed becoming addicted to junk food.

What about kangaroos, possums and goannas?

Kangaroos and wallabies eat a range of native grasses and herbs and are adapted to chewing and digesting these grasses. Other foods just aren’t the same! Roo pellets can also be harmful.

When kangaroos and wallabies become used to being hand-fed, they sometimes attack people in their quest for food. Remember, they have sharp claws and a strong kick.

At night, possums and gliders come out to forage among the treetops for leaves, fruits and flowers. If they get used to being fed by humans, they spend less time foraging and more time raiding your tent or kitchen.

Goannas find it difficult to distinguish between your hand and the food in it. A goanna bite or scratch is very painful and prone to infection as these animals are scavengers. Never feed a goanna – they are dangerous animals.

Remember that kangaroos, wallabies, possums and goannas are wild animals.

Not even birds?

  • Hand-fed birds become a nuisance – you may start feeding one or two birds but, within a short space of time, great flocks can descend. This can be a frightening experience, especially for small children. Hand-fed sulphur crested cockatoos like to chew cedar houses when the occupants are not around to feed them.
  • Hand-fed birds are susceptible to illnesses that can be transferred to other birds. Young birds lose the ability to forage for food and when not fed by humans may starve. Hand feeding can also affect bird breeding cycles.
  • Hand-fed birds take over – populations of some birds such as crimson rosellas increase, displacing other birds and mammals that shelter in tree hollows. When currawongs and ravens are hand-fed they breed up and prey on smaller birds, causing an imbalance in bird populations.
  • Find out more information about the dangers of feeding lorikeets.

So, how can I attract wildlife to my garden?

The good news is that there are responsible ways to attract wildlife to your backyard without endangering yourself or the natural order. Plant trees such as hakeasexternal link, acaciasexternal link, casuarinasexternal link and eucalyptsexternal link to provide natural foods for visiting birds. Create flowering habitats for honeyeaters with banksiasexternal link, bottlebrushesexternal link and grevilleasexternal link. Include some prickly shrubs for smaller birds to hide in.

If you’d like to observe birds up close, install a bird bath or water feature. A water feature may also attract frogs. Nesting boxes can help to attract possums and birds.

To avoid scaring the wildlife away, be sure to keep any cats and dogs inside the house at night.

More information

Village Homes, Davis California – developments can be beautiful

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 1.29.31 PMVillage Homes is a planned community in Davis, Yolo County, California. It is designed to be ecologically sustainable by harnessing the energies and natural resources that exists in the landscape, especially stormwater and solar energy.

The principal designer of Village Homes was architect Mike Corbett who began planning in the 1960s, with construction continuing from south to north from the 1970s through the 1980s. Village Homes was completed in 1982, and has attracted international attention from its inception as an early model of an environmentally friendly housing development.


The 225 homes and 20 apartment units that now are the Village Homes community use solar panels for heating, and they are oriented around common areas at the rear of the buildings, rather than around the street at the front.

All streets are oriented east-west, with all lots positioned north-south. This feature has become standard practice in Davis and elsewhere since it enables homes with passive solar designs to make full use of the sun’s energy throughout the year. The development also uses natural drainage, called bioswales, to collect water to irrigate the common areas and support the cultivation of edible foods, such as nut and fruit trees and vegetables for consumption by residents, without incurring the cost of using treated municipal water.[2]

Grass lined swale collects rainwater, which then slowly percolates into the soil, where it is protected from runoff and evaporation.

Village Homes

Village Homes is a seventy-acre subdivision located in the west part of Davis, California. 

It was designed to encourage both the development of a sense of community and the conservation of energy and natural resources. The principal designer was Mike Corbett.

Construction on the neighborhood began in the fall of 1975, and construction continued from south to north through the 1980s, involving many different architects and contractors.

The completed development includes 225 homes and 20 apartment units.

A number of design features help Village Homes residents live in an energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing manner:

Orientation — All streets trend east-west and all lots are oriented north-south. This orientation (which has become standard practice in Davis and elsewhere) helps the houses with passive solar designs make full use of the sun’s energy.

Street Width — Our roads are all narrow, curving cul-de-sacs; they are less than twenty-five feet wide and generally aren’t bordered by sidewalks. Their narrow widths minimize the amount of pavement exposed to sun in the long, hot summers. The curving lines of the roads give them the look of village lanes, and the few cars that venture into the cul-de-sacs usually travel slowly.

Pedestrian/Bike Paths and Common Areas — Alternating with the streets is an extensive system of pedestrian/bike paths, running through common areas that exhibit a variety of landscaping, garden areas, play structures, statuary, and so on. Most houses face these common areas rather than the streets, so that emphasis in the village is on pedestrian and bike travel rather than cars.

Natural Drainage — The common areas also contain Village Homes’ innovative natural drainage system, a network of creek beds, swales, and pond areas that allow rainwater to be absorbed into the ground rather than carried away through storm drains. Besides helping to store moisture in the soil, this system provides a visually interesting backdrop for landscape design.

Edible Landscaping — Fruit and nut trees and vineyards form a large element of the landscaping in Village Homes and contribute significantly to the provender of residents. More than thirty varieties of fruit trees were originally planted, and as a result some fruit is ripe and ready to eat nearly every month of the year.

Open Land — In addition to the common areas between homes, Village Homes also includes two big parks, extensive greenbelts with pedestrian/bike paths, two vineyards, several orchards, and two large common gardening areas. The commonly owned open land comes to 40 percent of the total acreage (25 percent in greenbelts and 15 percent in common areas), a much greater proportion than in most suburban developments. Thirteen percent of the developed land area is devoted to streets and parking bays, and the remaining 47 percent to private lots, which generally include an enclosed private yard or courtyard on the street side of the house.




External links

Documentary videos about Village Homes

We need to Love the place we live

Opinion piece by Elizabeth Farrell, SMH

Sometimes I think you Sydney natives don’t deserve this gorgeous town. You don’t appreciate her properly. Certainly you don’t treat her nice. Sometimes I think we newbies are your Gaugins, here to point out just how drop-dead sexy the joint is. And how desperately she needs your protection.

Strangely it took a surprise ticket to Monday’s Paul McCartney concert to remind me of this. All you need is love, belted the maestro from somewhere deep inside the Homebush wastelands – as if to note that our callow instrumentalism, destroying everything for speed and money, isn’t the only approach to city-making. Love? How completely (I thought) we’ve expunged such romantic idealism from our city, our lives. And what a profound loss it is.

“Sydney’s a wonderful city!” McCartney yelled to a packed house. “Glorious, unique. But then” – the grand Beatle tossed the next bit over his shoulder – “you knew that.” Everyone roared. Oh boy did we know it. Sydney? Glorious.

There was much roaring that night, several pyrotechnic encores from the 75-year-old who refuses to act or sound over 50 and much rapturous, 20,000-strong singing along. We were all letting it be, giving peace a chance, waiting for the moment to be free. Then, fully peaceniked up, we poured out into the sultry dark. Out into the war zone that is Sydney.

It was a gradient of depacification. Past the Olympic stadium to be demolished for fewer seats than it had when new, into an extraordinarily inadequate train system, through a city in the grip of a massive knock-down rebuild. Back to our private wealth and public squalor, the exploitation of everything for purposes of nothing, and the acquiescence that has settled on us like smog.

Romantic idealism? When E.F. Schumacher wrote Small is Beautiful, when Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, when Jane Jacobs wrote The Death and Life of Great American Cities, they were warning against a world of aggressive bigness and sameness. Warning of globalism. Yet here we are – eating synthetic food in synthetic buildings, increasingly obese, depressed, excluded, unequal – living it out. We’ve forgotten their teachings as surely as 8th-century peasants forgot the Romans.

It’s not that we don’t crave romantic idealism. Every grainy horse-drawn tram image that cloaks some vast mean-eyed resi-development, every bearded hipster, craft beer, farmer’s market, maker’s movement, pickling party and broth bar reveals this need for lost belief. Every shoe-shop muzacking its way to higher sales with Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger and Leonard Cohen evinces this loss.

But somehow the trappings don’t translate into purpose. When the kids go to work, the beliefs stay home. Indeed, if you Google “romantic idealism” it’s all about expecting perfection from your lover, which shows just how far we’ve schlepped down the road of solipsistic narcissism.

The movement we now know as “the sixties” – for all its hedonism, sexual silliness and love-not-war-ism, for all its foibles and contradictions – yearned to change the world. It wanted principled change – love, fairness, freedom, respect. It wanted to reinstate history, revere truth, collaborate with nature. Most extraordinary of all, its empowering medium was poetry.

Dylan and Cohen, Hendrix and Joplin, Jagger, Simon, Lennon and McCartney were prophets and poets, singing us to a better world. Today, they’d likely sink without trace. Even when they sang about sex, it wasn’t about sex – it was about a new world order, a radicalism so close to Jesus’ as to be indistinguishable; a world where last is first, where the times are a’changing, where small is beautiful and beauty is revered; where the Mercedes Benz is known as a self-satirising commodity.

To extend this romantic idealism to the ground of the city is to recognise our planetary dwelling-place, as humans have since the earliest times, as the locus of sacred meaning. This respect for place is essential to our humanity. Continuing to desecrate it, trashing our home-city and home-planet, can only yield, in philosopher Roger Scruton’s words, “not hatred, but an ever-expanding heartlessness”.

Which returns us to Sydney. Our city is in danger. As neighbourhoods are demolished, parks sliced, avenues moth-eaten by the development juggernaut that delivers wealth to the few and slums to the many, we are losing the very texture of the place. The lanes and alleys, the knotted, clotted, nature-gnarled fabric of the place, the layered story that animates this fabric: this is the city’s soul. Now, for the first time, it’s under threat.

The Planning Department – presiding withal – says we’re suffering “development fatigue”. This is like telling a person with invasive cancer they’ve got life fatigue. No, we’re not tired of development. We’re tired of a regime that hears no one, respects nothing, desecrates everything for ends that are strictly cynical.

Despite four years of record housing approvals, a further 69,700 dwellings were approved in the year to October. With the 725,000 they propose in the next 20 years Sydney will be unrecognisable.

I’d be less upset if it had a chance of being beautiful; vertical gardens, leafy streets, zero carbon, traversable towers, cooperative communities a-thrum with energy.

But the awful irony is that, even in its own reduced terms, it won’t work. It won’t make housing cheaper. Three reasons, all products of neo-liberal dogma. One, a global market means that mum-and-dad purchasers – “vertical families” – must compete with international investors who see a rental market with virtually no tenant protections as easy pickings. Two, if prices do drop, developers stop building.

Three, because let-rip development exacerbates geographic inequality, rather than relieving it. A recent report co-authored by US Nobel laureate Edward C. Prescott found that strict development control, often thought to worsen inequality by restricting supply, in fact reduces it. By dampening building activity in the most sought-after locations, it spreads economic energy around. The alternative is “winner-take-all urbanism” which concentrates wealth where it already exists and stuff the rest – as in Britain after Thatcher.

Forty thousand Australian children sought help from homelessness services last year. This is a disgrace. But letting developers destroy our city and its meager public housing for profit will make it worse, not better. Love? Perhaps it’s true. Perhaps love is all you need, but you gotta follow through.

The tiny home revolution told in pictures and floorplans – from ABC