We are delighted that Better Streets has been part of an important recent win for local street-related decision-making in NSW.
Thanks to the persistent efforts of some of our members over a five-year campaign, local councils are now empowered to directly influence their local streets without needing state approval. This monumental change, effective on local and regional roads until at least June 2026, includes the power to control on-street parking, pedestrian crossings and refuges, adding (but not removing) cycleways, outdoor dining and parklets, trees and vegetation, new and widened footpaths and so on. The works can be permanent or temporary, and no longer require Road Safety Audits, making them cheaper and faster to implement.
Cutting red tape also means that councils can delegate a staff member to implement works that have been agreed by a Local Traffic Committee (LTC) without waiting for a full council meeting. For example, if the LTC reviews a temporary road closure for an event, it is no longer necessary to wait for full council endorsement of the LTC report before the work is done.
Back in April 2023, we reported on new temporary delegations to councils, but with significant restrictions. For example, they didn’t apply within 100m of a traffic signal, nor on bus routes or light rail. This situation has now changed again to give even more power to local government – they can now make changes to bus routes and light rail routes with some limitations, and the distance from traffic signals is reduced to 20m.
This means community members can approach their council and get much faster approval to install pedestrian crossings and other changes without layers of unnecessary bureaucracy. This change came into effect in December 2023, just before the holiday period, so not all council officers or elected councillors will be aware of these latest changes – you may have to point them to the link above for clarification.
This represents a significant shift towards more community-centric planning in NSW, allowing councils to tailor streetscapes to the unique needs of their residents and businesses. It doesn’t apply to state roads, traffic signals and roundabouts, as these still require sign-off through traffic committees.
Better Streets' success in advocating for these changes demonstrates the power of community engagement and the importance of collaboration with all levels of government to create better practice. It’s a testament to what can be achieved when community leaders and government bodies come together for the common good.
By bringing decision-making closer to home, we're not just paving the way for better streets – we're fostering stronger, more connected communities. Let's celebrate this achievement and continue to work hand in hand with our local governments to create the neighborhoods we and our children deserve to live in.
For more details of the changes: link