Planned changes to the CBD and South East Light Rail (CSELR) project between Circular Quay and Randwick will result in additional on street parking for some residents along its route, but falls short of requests by Randwick Council for a stop directly next to the Prince of Wales Hospital which would allow the full retention of High Cross Park in Randwick. The Randwick light rail interchange is currently set to be built in High Cross Park, which would lose about half of its grass surface to the interchange.
The changes are part of Transport for NSW’s responses to the 487 submissions to the project’s Environmental Impact Statement. Additional parking on Wansey Road in Randwick, which was to have its parking spaces removed in the original project design, would instead become a one way street in order to retain an unspecified number of on street parking spots. Current plans would see almost 900 on street parking spaces lost along the full 12km alignment in order to accommodate light rail. Both light rail stops along Wansey Road will also be shifted off Wansey Road, onto Alison Road and High Street. Meanwhile, 5 parking spaces would be removed adjacent to High Cross Park in order to maintain additional green space in the park, which will now keep about half of its green space, three times as much as originally proposed.
Other changes include a movement of the Moore Park stop South to be adjacent to Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls High Schools as well as a pedestrian bridge to link the stop to the schools across Anzac Parade. It will also see the overhead wire free zone restricted to the pedestrian only portion of George St, meaning that overhead wires will be imposed between Wynyard and Circular Quay. Special event platforms at Central and Moore Park will be removed, with turnbacks near each stop deemed sufficient to turn trams around at each stop during special events, while the Central Station stop at Chalmers Street will be pedestrianised, with no vehicles allowed between Eddy Avenue and Devonshire Street. The UNSW stop, which was previously proposed to be on UNSW property, will now be located in the median of Anzac Parade, requiring students to cross half the road, but reducing traffic impacts.
The biggest point of contention appears to be with High Cross Park. Murray Matson, a Greens Councillor on Randwick City Council, opposes a stop on High Cross Park, saying that “while I supported the light rail project in general I could not see how the loss of any of the park area could be justified while High Street is an option”. Geoff Stevenson, a Labor Councillor, went as far as to suggest a completely new alignment through Randwick Racecourse terminating at Prince of Wales Hospital that would replace the current branch structure that splits out to both Randwick and Kingsford.