Randwick light rail forum rails over a lack of detail
Transport for NSW felt the full force of community rage over the lack of detail around the CBD and South East Light Rail (CSELR) project at a community forum at Randwick TAFE last night.
There were calls for the project to been sent back to the drawing board amid claims in its current form it is an “absolute shambles” and the ”logic is stupifying”.
The weight of public concerns was significant and many questions remain unanswered.
CSELR project director Jeff Goodling told the audience they just did not have the level of detail being sought because the government was waiting on two tenders to provide the specifics, stating TfNSW had only provided the framework.
Topping the long list of concerns was the call for a full public transport picture for the southeast, including how the buses will link up with the trams as well as how the area is placed in terms of traffic and population growth projections.
There was also a lot of concern from residents whose homes back onto the proposed Randwick stabling yard on Randwick Racecourse.
One resident who was trying to ask about the impact on the quality of life of residents had her question pulled up and she was called into question over the man sitting next to her. The woman denied knowing the man. Mr Goodling then made the extraordinary remark that he thought he had recognised the man, implying he believed the man was part of the Hong Kong consortium now in control of the land earmarked for the stabling yard.
Minutes earlier Mr Goodling confirmed the 1.7 hectare block adjoining the North Western side of Randwick racecourse had been on-sold and he said the issue was now in the hands of the attorneys and he could not speak further to it. When pushed further Mr Goodling said the matter had been referred to the Land and Environment Court.
One of the most emotional pleas was from a hospital worker who said the state government had forgotten about the pregnant women, the mums with children and the elderly who needed a stop outside Prince of Wales Hospital.
Mr Goodling said the road gradient on High St rendered a stop outside the hospital impractical.
Mr Goodling said this light rail project was about future-proofing Sydney.
“Light rail is the most cost effective way to expand our transport capacity,” he said.
After the meeting Margaret Hogg said there was a real lack of knowledge in the community about the impacts of the project and she is trying to address this through grassroots campaigning.
■ Peter Richardson joked he was trying to plan his holiday and he wanted to know when they were planning to start ripping up Wansey Rd. Mr Goodling said he would be shocked if there was any significant construction in Wansey Rd before this time next year.
■ Richard Walsh asked for answers to the suggestion that you will not be able to park of even hail a cab on Anzac Pde. Mr Goodling said the details around the tenders were not in yet but currently all parking would be removed on Anzac Pde from the Alison Rd intersection south to Kingsford. But he said through the community forums there would be discussions around “trade-offs” including footpath widths and parking.
■ Margery Whitehead expressed concerns about the pedestrianisation of Wansey Rd under which there would be no cars from High St to Botany St. She also raised Wansey Rd to Clara St, opposite POW hospital, as another possible pedestrian zone. Mr Goodling said the push for pedestrianisation of areas was not coming from the state government, it is a suggestion from UNSW but he confirmed it was something the government would look at.
■ Peter Lipman from the Need Alison Rd Parking Group said many residents on Alison Rd had no off-street parking and under these plans would lose all of their parking: “My question is where will we park?” Goodling said: There is no doubt with the current plans there will be significant impacts on parking”.
■ John Buchanan said his main issue with the project was at the junctions of Alison Rd and Cleveland St and suggested flyovers may be a solution. Mr Goodling admitted that the Alison Rd junction was already at capacity and, at some point, the government would need to consider if it wanted to build a flyover.
WHAT WE LEARNT
1. They want to shift the oval where the Sydney Swans currently train at Moore Park 9m to the left to create enough room for the undergrounding of the light rail tunnel. This needs to be done as soon as possible to give time for the grass to grown so the Swans can start practise as per their regular schedule
- The state government will provide money to the ATC to build a parking station to offset the loss of parking from the construction of the light rail stabling yard on the western side of Randwick Racecourse, on the gravel lot near Doncaster Ave. A sound barrier will be constructed near the property line.
- The site of the stabiling yard has been onsold to a consortium of Hong Kong business people. The matter has been referred to the Land and Environment Court
- Expect to see buses travelling along the light rail line on Anzac Pde
5. Express buses will continue along Anzac Pde but there will be some loss to local buses. The state government will start a dialogue “shortly” about changes to the bus system.
- They predict 17 per cent of people riding trams will switch from their cars
- Bikes will be allowed on the light rail but there will be some peak hour restrictions
- The number of right hand turns on Anzac Pde will be reduced
9. The planning approval granted on June 4 comes with 131 conditions
Mr Goodling repeatedly told the audience at the Randwick information session that traffic and parking will be a real challenge during the construction phase
There were 13 design changes as a direct result of the “robust” community consultation including:
• UNSW High St stop upper campus: moved from Wansey Rd into High St
• High Cross Park design changes have increased the green space to three times that in the original EIS document. They have also managed to retain a number of significant trees.
• Lower UNSW Anzac Pde stop. This originally swung into UNSW but due to the significant impact on Anzac Pde they have modified the design to keep this interchange on the medium strip
• In terms of Wansey Rd they have moved this stop into Randwick Racecourse land and have managed to retain a number of significant trees.