Monday: SWRL extension to Badgerys Creek in the planning

Planning has begun to preserve a corridor for a new rail line to the proposed new airport at Badgerys Creek. The new corridor will extend from the currently under construction South West Rail Link at Leppington through to Bagderys Creek Airport and then North to St Marys, with another line branching South at Bringelly to Narellan.

The proposed corridors for an extension of the SWRL through to Badgerys Creek and beyond. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

The proposed corridors for an extension of the SWRL through to Badgerys Creek and beyond. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

The Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian explained that this was more than just the airport, pointing out that This work isn’t just about servicing an airport, it’s about servicing Western Sydney communities with appropriate transport links, now and into the future”. The new line will pass right through the South West Growth Centre, which is expected to house an additional 300,000 residents in coming decades.

Consultations will run for 6 weeks from 28 April to 6 June on both the alignment and station locations. Currently there are no indicative station locations North of Badgerys Creek, despite one station in this area having been earmarked in a 2013 draft strategy.

Tuesday: NWRL brings 18 storey apartments to Kellyville

Plans for high rise residential buildings up to 18 storeys are being opposed by a local residents group, who want the project restricted to 15 storeys. The project, adjacent to the Kellyville station site that will form part of the North West Rail Link set to open in 2019, was originally proposed to have a maximum height of 25 storeys. Height reductions were achieved by converting the project from a mixed use residential/commercial/retail development into primarily a residential development. The 7,000 to 8,250 square metres of planned office space was removed entirely, the amount of retail space was reduced from 3,000 to 1,900 square metres, and the number of apartment units was cut from 746 to 660 (Source: Hills Shire Council, 29/04/2014 EGM Minutes, pp. 35, 40).

Plans for 18 storey residential apartments next to Kellyville Station on the NWRL. Click to enlarge. (Source: Hills Shire Council, 29/04/2014 EGM Minutes, p. 40.)

Plans for 18 storey residential apartments next to Kellyville Station on the NWRL. Click to enlarge. (Source: Hills Shire Council, 29/04/2014 EGM Minutes, p. 40.)

The Hills Shore Council has also designated areas around the proposed Bella Vista and Showground railways stations for high rise developments in order to house the expected 100,000 new residents expected over the next 25 years.

Wednesday: Ride sharing apps restricted to taxis and hire cars

Private drivers cannot use ride sharing apps like Uber to carry paying passengers according to a clarification by Transport for NSW. These apps can allow individuals to book a driver directly, bypassing the taxi booking companies which currently enjoy close to monopoly status in the market. A Transport for NSW spokesperson said that Under the [Passenger Transport] Act, [ride sharing] must be provided in a licensed taxi or hire car, by an appropriately accredited driver, authorised by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS)”. Any driver authorised by RMS undergoes a police check.

Thursday: Multiple incidents cause transport chaos

Sydney’s road and rail transport network saw significant disruptions after a number of incidents across the city. These included a fatal collision with a cyclist by a bus on Military Road in Neutral Bay, a car crash on the M1 on the Hawkesbury River Bridge, a 2 car crash in the Harbour Tunnel, and a power outage on the light rail line between Dulwich Hill and Lilyfield.

Thursday: School contest to name tunnel boring machines

School students from Sydney’s North West will have the opportunity to name the tunnel boring machines used to create the tunnels for the North West Rail Link. Given the long-held tradition that tunnel boring machines around the world are named after women, the theme will be “Women who have made a positive contribution to life in Sydney”. Competition entries close on May 25, and will only be accepted via the North West Rail Link project website, where there is also more detail about the competition.

Friday: ARTC listed as potential privatisation target

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has been listed for potential privatisation in the long term, with a predicted sale value of $500m. The ARTC is owned by the Commonwealth Government, which in turn owns and operates much of the interstate freight rail network on the East Coast of Australia. It has made a financial loss in all but one year since 2007, however these have all been primarily due to asset impairment write downs and not due to losses from ongoing operations. The ARTC has earned $200m to $300m per year in the last 3 years when measured from an operating cashflow perspective, a measure which strips out non-cash transactions such as asset impairments and depreciation (Sources: ARTC, Annual Report 2013, p. 58 and Annual Report 2011, p. 48).

Friday: Cyclists may require licenses, bike paths lead to more bike usage

Cyclists would be required to hold licences and avoid major roads under a proposal being considered by the Roads Minister Duncan Gay. Meanwhile, documents obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald show that bike paths in the Sydney CBD led to a doubling in the number of cyclists but a reduction in injuries. The documents also show that more bikes use Kent St, King St, and College St each morning peak hour than cars do. These are the 3 streets in the Sydney CBD with separated bike paths currently installed.

Sydney Strategic Cycle network, much of which is currently being planned or under construction. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW, Sydney City Access Strategy, p. 45.)

Sydney Strategic Cycle network, much of which is currently being planned or under construction. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW, Sydney City Access Strategy, p. 45.)

The government announced its preferred bike path network last year as part of the Sydney City Access Strategy (see image above). It involved removing the College St bike path, but adding new bike paths on Castlereagh St, Pitt St, and Liverpool St while also extending the existing bike paths on Kent St and King St.

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Comments
  1. QPP says:

    Dreadfully depressed at Duncan Gay’s comments on Friday (I cycle to work most days and do a few leisure rides)

    I hope it doesn’t get anywhere and the report his department will do for him suggests it will be unworkable, or a whole lot of bureaucracy for negligible gain, or, well, anything really to avoid licensing for cyclists. The knee-jerk response of politicians in NSW that more regulation is always automatically a good thing is, well, depressing.

    Unfortunately most debates where cycling is involved rapidly polarise into a binary two-camp shouting match. When I first heard the reports I tried to stay sober and objective; I guess there could be some sense in the proposal, *IF* accident rates really were on the up, and *IF* the root cause of the increase in accidents could be found to be down to rider competence (and, at a pinch, rider behaviour although the effect of licensing on that is likely to be pretty small)

    Those are two pretty big “if”s. On the other hand, if there isn’t really a statistically significant increase in accident/risk and it’s just a media furore then there’s simply no point to the proposal. And if there is an increase, but the issue isn’t rider competence, then it’s aiming at the wrong place so won’t get the outcome it’s supposed to be after.

    Either way, if it was brought in, it would be guaranteed to be a load of bureaucracy that comes with a substantial cost, and it would be guaranteed to put yet more people off cycling, especially for the sort of casual journeys that have already been put off by other restrictive legislation here, like mandatory helmets. So you’d definitely get less cyclists on the roads, which would probably mean less accidents……shame those cyclists would probably end up driving a car instead, increasing congestion, pollution, car-car accidents and the risk for the fewer cyclists who are left on the roads, but hey……..

  2. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > Dreadfully depressed at Duncan Gay’s comments on Friday
    Same here.

    I’m sure cyclists will stop deliberately being run over and killed for fear of losing 2 demerit points.

  3. Mark Newton says:

    Gay is a politician, so by definition he’s not very bright. The idea that licensing bike riders will somehow reduce the numbers of them injured or killed by motor vehicles just confirms his depths of his stupidity. But why stop at bike riders – pedestrians are also often injured or killed by motor vehicles. Are they next in line to be licensed?

  4. QPP says:

    On the Kellyville story, it seems from the residents’ facebook page that they reached an “amicable compromise” with the council for the development:
    https://www.facebook.com/StopTheKellyvilleHighrise?fref=ts

    That’s quite heartening if so. Most such residents’ actions tend to end up as very bipolar affairs leaving everyone with a sour taste in the mouth regardless of which way it ends up falling. I’m glad The Hills council seems to listen to its residents, and I’m glad its residents (at least in this case) recognise the realities of what the NWRL will bring and didn’t retreat into blanket NIMBYism

  5. AK says:

    A rail line into the area was always appropriate no matter what the plan was for the airport since they wanted to have an employment area there. I have to wonder whether that omission was on purpose – the strategy on the NSW planning website details freight rail upgrade, etc. Until flight paths and decisions about land use are made w.r.t the airport not sure how you can make a decision about where the other rail station should be. Some of the airport options require acquisition of more land in the area.

  6. QPP says:

    >>Gay is a politician, so by definition he’s not very bright. The idea that licensing bike riders will somehow reduce the numbers of them injured or killed by motor vehicles just confirms his depths of his stupidity. But why stop at bike riders – pedestrians are also often injured or killed by motor vehicles. Are they next in line to be licensed?<<

    Slightly macabre prescience there Mark. Two peds have now been killed in bus accidents in 2 days in Sydney CBD.

    Licensing for pedestrians the next shout from Gay? Or maybe he'll call for total segregation of buses and pedestrians, even at bus stops….

  7. MrV says:

    Reading between the lines of that media release tells you how inconsequential and lacking in ambition the second airport plan is – 3 million passengers/yr. They won’t get funding for rail for a long time with those kind of numbers.

    They talk alot about the future, so then the question of the rail line, is what sort of future proofing will they do?
    Surely with this ‘new airport’ to cater for future expansion there will be provision for at least some express trains. Or wlll they make the same mistake with the new airport and have no choice but standard all stoppers.
    Heres hoping they don’t fantasise about using it for airport terminal-terminal transfers and instead make provision for a proper people-mover for such a task.

    The map as it stands is incoherent as it infers extension of the single deck metro from Rouse Hill, but then also has the suburban rail system at Leppington. Will spend huge sums converting another line to single deck metro?
    Alternatively it could connect in to St Marys, but why here?

  8. @MrV –

    Right now the NWRL corridor only extends out to Marsden Park, with only the SWRL corridor set to be extended out to the Western Line.

    This is also very early in the planning stages, and ideally corridors would be preserved for flexibility in choice of options. For example, the line could link up to St Marys where the quad track currently ends and then continue through to Parramatta. Or the NWRL corridor could be extended to St Marys and then the portion between St Marys and Badgerys Creek could be single deck, with the two lines terminating at Badgerys Creek. Or it could be something else altogether.

    I think few people would oppose the idea of reserving the corridor until a decision on what to do with it is made in the future. My guess is your issue would be with a potential corridor use, rather than the reservation of a corridor itself.

  9. michblogs says:

    One thing you first map highlights there, is that if you are going to work in the so-called Broader Western Sydney Employment Area, you’ll probably need to be driving there.

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