A plan that will get Sydney moving  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

The SMH has an article on the recommendations from an independent public inquiry into Sydney's public transport system (with the inquiry including ASPO Australia's Garry Glazebrook, amongst others) - Finally, a plan that will get Sydney moving . Related articles include - European transport model to cost $71b, Linking the network to where the jobs are, This is too important to be left to the politicians, And never the trains shall meet and MyZone has sting in the tail for people living in the west.

THE Keneally government should delay building an expensive underground metro network for at least 10 years and focus on new heavy and light rail projects across Sydney, an independent inquiry recommends.

Not only would taxpayers save billions by postponing the metros, but reallocating money to a new heavy rail line through the central business district and across the harbour would provide at least 25 per cent more passenger capacity on the CityRail system for decades.

The inquiry, headed by the state's former rail and roads boss Ron Christie, and backed by the Herald, proposes huge benefits for the transport-starved north-west and south-west suburbs, by building rail links to connect commuters to the job-rich arc between North Ryde and Mascot.

Mr Christie says the government should start work immediately on lines between Epping and Rouse Hill, in the north-west, and Glenfield and Leppington, in the south-west. At a total cost of $5 billion, these lines are cheaper than the seven kilometre CBD Metro, and should be completed by 2015.

Based on market research that measured people's willingness to pay for better public transport, and using financial analysis by Allen Consulting, the 450-page report proposes $36 billion worth of new transport infrastructure be built over 30 years, and another $35 billion in operating and financing costs.

Mr Christie, who oversaw the successful transport operation during the 2000 Olympics, urges the government not to sign contracts for the $5.3 billion CBD Metro and $8 billion West Metro until it consults voters.

Mr Christie supports the proposed West Metro but only between Westmead and Barangaroo, not to Pyrmont or Rozelle and, critically, not using a corridor under Pitt Street, which should be reserved for CityRail. But he also says its construction should be deferred until 2020.

In the most searing critique yet of the metro proposals by a respected expert, Mr Christie warns: ''The proposed routes would jeopardise, perhaps fatally, future heavy rail capacity expansion and congestion-relief options within the CBD and across the harbour.''

While the government argues that the CBD Metro is the ''core'' of a future Sydney-wide metro system, Mr Christie has found no overall network plan or system of fares has been made public.

The report reveals that the government has quietly abandoned its five-year-old metropolitan strategy, which was to create a European-style ''City of Cities'' by encouraging jobs and medium-density housing in centres such as Parramatta and Liverpool.

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