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Sydney’s light rail could increase congestion

Plans to push ahead with a light rail line in Sydney’s CBD have raised concerns about increased congestion

December 18, 2012

Plans to push ahead with a light rail line from Sydney’s CBD to the eastern suburbs have raised concerns about increased congestion.

The New South Wales Government late last week announced a $1.6 billion light rail line would be built between Circular Quay and Randwick.

The government’s own infrastructure advisory body, Infrastructure NSW (INSW), and BusNSW both recommended against the rail in favour of an underground Bus RapidTransit (BRT) system in the CBD.

BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish says the proposed light rail development through the Sydney CBD could actually increase congestion.

“The proposed light rail development through the Sydney CBD raises concerns with transport integration and the possibility of restricted car and bus access causing more, not less, congestion outside the inner city zone,” Mellish says.

He says Sydney’s habits would need to change for the light rail system to work.

“Light rail is feasible if you remove the majority of car access, particularly from cross streets, however that creates a connection problem between the main transit corridors,”
Mellish says.

“Bus travel is the most sensible way to eliminate car congestion and promote integrated services with heavy rail and light rail in outer suburbs, such as the proposed extension to Randwick.”

Mellish says of particular concern is pedestrian safety risks resulting from the planned light rail extension.

“Government must consider plans to eliminate any risk to pedestrians if the plan is confirmed,” he says.

“Sydney roads do not have the desired infrastructure for such a project like other cities, such as Melbourne, and therefore, with narrower roads risk the safety of pedestrians and commuters accessing the service.”

The link will run along George Street past the Moore Park precinct and Randwick Racecourse to the Prince of Wales Hospital.

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