On the day that the Sydney Morning Herald runs an intelligent editorial showing a grown-up attitude to the disruption that comes with important infrastructure builds…
The Herald remains a strong supporter of the light rail project to run through the inner city and eastern suburbs, and urges the Baird government to prosecute the case forcefully for the line.
Construction of the project, due to start on George Street in October, will be painful and frustrating. Mistakes will be made, and they must not be excused.
But any conception of the transport needs of central Sydney must begin on the basis the status quo is unsustainable.
That status quo represents an over-reliance on bus transport through crowded city streets.
The streets are so crowded that the buses are unreliable. They consistently fall behind timetable well before they have left the city and entered the suburbs.
…AT has released more LRT images:
Note in both images all cars are gone, and there is a sort-of cycle lane, that in practice will really be part of the big shared space, yet indicated. Personally I think this is a good arrangement for this pedestrian dominated place and means that it is a slow speed and take care place for riders. The parallel routes of Nelson and Grafton Gully are for getting places at pace; good crosstown cycling connections will be needed to link these all together.
This would be a spectacular upgrade to the Queen St valley in terms of access but even more so in place quality. And just at the right time, or at least the proposal certainly isn’t ahead of the need; downtown is booming and development is spreading up the hill. We will be able to taste the sea air again in the city! I just can’t wait to get the fume-belchers out of our main spine.
Also from a purely transport capacity angle this will add a whole new access point for people into our uniquely motorway severed City Centre, as currently buses have been restricted on Queen St to the local access only City Link, and the AirBus, because of the unattractiveness of too many diesel buses in core pedestrian places. Adding Queen St to those other two north-south streets of Albert and Symonds as a route to move high volumes of people, while reducing the total bus numbers.
As the SHM goes on:
The Herald does not support any one mode of transport over another. In a metropolis like Sydney, trains, buses, the private car, light rail, cycling and walking all obviously have their role to play.
But the government should invest money in the mode of transport that fits the particular need of a particular space and of a particular travelling public.
And in central Sydney, the use of a growing number of buses to get people to and from work is no longer fit for purpose.
Without major changes to the city – without replacing some of those buses by new rail links – it will be impossible to increase the frequency of bus services to those areas not served by rail.
This argument represents much of the benefits inherent in the CBD light rail project down George Street, as well as the North West Rail Link and its eventual connection to the inner city.
This is exactly the situation Auckland finds itself in; the City Rail Link for connection to and through the core and the further out West, East, and South, and buses upgrading to LRT when capacity limits are hit on surface routes elsewhere. Including, in my view, across the harbour from Wynyard in tunnels to a balancing North Shore network, instead of the bloated and destructive third road crossing. Or a bridge, either way it would be direct, fast, and way way cheaper than NZTA’s current, yet last century, plans:
All up it renders Queen St just like Bourke St in that other Australian city:
I have requested an image of Dominion Rd LRT too, so will follow up with that and other info in the days ahead.