Major active transport improvements around Sydney’s Central Station have been foreshadowed as part of an $11 billion Central Precinct Renewal Program announced by the NSW Government.
‘Central Precinct’ is a project led by the NSW Government to transform up to 24 hectares of land in and around Sydney’s Central Station into a state-of-the-art business and community space.
This month’s announcements by the Minister for Active Transport, Rob Stokes, included pedestrian bridges, and a giant deck over regional and metro rail lines to accommodate up to 15 buildings, three new parks and improved active transport connections. They included enhancing the Goods Line, a key pedestrian connection from Ultimo, to extend it from Railway Square to the historic Mortuary Station.
That extension incorporated repurposing an ancient underground railway tunnel.
The sandstone railway tunnel lies beneath Central Station and was originally used to transport goods from Darling Harbour.
The Minister says the tunnel could become one of Sydney’s newest active transport links and a key tourist attraction.
Bicycle NSW Continues Challenge of Re-Routed Sydney Trail
Stage 2 of Sydney’s Sutherland to Cronulla Active Transport Link (SCATL) is being progressed by Transport for NSW, with the State’s peak cycling advocacy body raising concerns about the proposed location of sections of the link.
Bicycle NSW says its “very concerned that optimal routes continue to be overlooked”, with portions of the link earmarked for routes outside an adjacent rail corridor.
“The current ‘preferred alignment’ risks creating infrastructure that is dangerous and falls well short of Transport for NSW policy standards,” according to Bicycle NSW.
“The current proposals are very different from the SCATL promised to the community in 2015, which used land within, or very close to, the rail corridor for a majority of the 11km route.
“SCATL was conceived as a direct, off-road regional ‘spine’ route that avoids steep gradients.
“In 2021, a decision was made to progress SCATL as a narrow shared path along the traffic sewer of Kingsway.”
Sutherland Shire Environment Centre and Bicycle NSW produced a video highlighting their claims a shared path in the road environment would have poor safety and amenity outcomes because of conflict with pedestrians, driveways and side streets. A petition was launched to gather hundreds of signatures from community members supporting the use of the rail corridor.
Transport for NSW has adhered to the 2021 plans and last June announced construction of the eastern section of a Kingsway/Denman Avenue alignment from Jackson Avenue to Gannons Road will begin in early 2023. The June 2022 announcement breaks the SCATL Stage 2 into three sections and commits to starting work on the Miranda to Caringbah section (Source: TfNSW).
“It is no longer acceptable to put the delivery of quality cycling infrastructure in the too-hard basket.”
“Bicycle NSW undertook a very detailed visit of the area with staff from Sutherland Shire Council. It was clear that the reasons provided by Transport for NSW to abandon the rail corridor SCATL are not valid for long sections of the corridor.
We have prepared an issues paper to drive future advocacy. The document clearly sets out the background and planning history of SCATL, collates feedback from Council, community and advocates on the current proposals, shines a light on the problems of shared paths and makes recommendations for the next steps.”
Bicycle NSW CEO Peter McLean said: “It is no longer acceptable to put the delivery of quality cycling infrastructure in the too-hard basket.
“The NSW Government now has a mandate to find future-proof solutions that address barriers created by infrastructure, topography and contested road space. We urge Transport for NSW to work closely with local experts at Sutherland Shire Council to return SCATL to the rail corridor alignment that the community wants and needs.
“This project provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver bike riding infrastructure that the Sutherland residents have advocated for since the early 2000s.”
Delivery of SCATL was a NSW Government election pledge in 2019.