Sydney – my reflections – June,2016

Spending time in Sydney and the busy metropolises of Australia is always a mixture of good and bad. I love to visit my family, spend time with the grandchildren and see friends at church and other meetings. But the traffic and constant quiet noise of the cities is a cause for unrest of the soul.

Sydney’s roads are clogged with vehicles of every kind including thousands of huge cumbersome trucks carrying cargo to who knows where. Cars contend with those huge engines, dozens of wheels and exhaust fumes while being squeezed into narrow lanes on the urban roads. Hundreds of people scurry around railway stations and congregate at bus stops searching for a way to get somewhere or back to their hideaway houses in the suburbs where few know their neighbours.

While visiting my niece in the north-western suburb of Kellyville I was shocked to see the long rows of brand new houses in narrow streets. On one side of the street towered the double storey mansions set side by side with a narrow space between, no front yard and a square of grass at the back surrounded by tall green tin fences, blocking out any view of the neighbours. On the other side, modern brick and stucco bungalows stood similarly – spacious inside, beautifully furnished but somehow hollow. Until very recently, for 100 years, on this land there had been small farms of 5 and 10 acre blocks growing fruit, vegetables with chooks and a few pet animals. The city had expanded considerably and continues to do so every day. This phenomena surrounds Sydney in an urban spread curve on the west side from the north to the south. It seemed like turning the clock back to how inner Sydney was in the early 20th Century and which had become slums before being re-gentrified. I wondered what Kellyville would be like in another 100 years?

To get anywhere in Sydney takes considerable thought and planning. One must choose the route carefully and decide on an appropriate time to avoid congestion. That usually means one must drive at a certain time and make turns and twists into streets that avoid the main roadways. If one has to get to the airport at a certain time, it can be fraught with anxiety if there has not been a very early start.

If it rains at a peak hour the roads can be dangerous, especially if it is dark. The lights are a mass of colliding colours dazzling the eyes and brain. It is very difficult to see the marked lane ways in the shimmering haze. Fortunately for the Aussies, they seem to be a disciplined bunch of drivers and few mishaps happen although I’m sure if those drivers were as carefree as some I know in other countries, there would be chaos and tragedy.

Fortunately Sydney is expanding and upgrading their traffic ways. New roads, railways, freeways and tunnels are constantly being built. This will no doubt help for a time. At the same time more vehicles are appearing on the roads. More L and P plates are appearing. More senior people are continuing to drive to an older age. Thus – more noise, more fumes, more chaos, more danger, more clutter. It’s all a recipe for disaster and decline in the comfortable life Australia is known for.

Which brings me to the topic I am feeling agitated about – POPULATION – and what should be done about it. This must be addressed.

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