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Light Rail Interchange Causing Concern

By Marcus Braid on April 8, 2015 in

Photo: Randwick City Council

Photo: Randwick City Council

Randwick Council has released its proposed alternative light rail interchange location, but worries remain that the state government will fail to heed community feedback.

The alternative option proposed by Council moves the light rail route from High Cross Park to High Street, Randwick. The route protects the park’s 90-year-old war memorial, more than 30 trees and existing parking in surrounding streets.

Randwick Mayor Ted Seng said the proposal complements the state government’s vision to improve public transport and create a quality customer experience.

“The High Street alternative provides a solution that is better integrated with the Randwick Junction town centre,” he said.

“The terminus and bus drop-off and pick-up zones allow users to take advantage of the shopping facilities and the improved public spaces while waiting or moving between the bus and tram.

“The proposal is also surrounded by businesses and the hospital, which provides tram users with a more live and safe experience with greater surveillance.”

Council is asking Transport for NSW to consider the alternative proposal, which has been analysed by a council working party. It would see the tram lines end on the eastern side of High Street, merging into one single platform at the top of the street, avoiding the need to cross the Avoca Street intersection or disturb the park space.

However, Labor Councillor Tony Bowen believes that if history is any guide, the state government will ignore the proposal.

“This is actually the second time the proposal has been shopped to the state government,” he said.

“I’m hopeful that we can save High Cross Park, but it will take political will. High Cross Park is the height of Randwick’s heritage.

“We’ve had sand kicked in our face on this. To rub salt into the wound, the government wants to run the line through Centennial Park. No longer is there going to be a stop at the racecourse. It’s going to go into Centennial Park where there’s dozens of trees and they’re going to put up a retaining wall.

“Clearly the government doesn’t worry about what Randwick Council thinks. I just don’t think they feel any pressure.”

Greens Councillor Murray Matson noted that Council has never supported an interchange at High Cross Park.

“Our emphasis is on what is feasible,” he said. “Apart from the caretaker government, there isn’t any real obstruction to the government giving a commitment moving the light rail line from High Cross Park to High Street, Randwick.

“Our main emphasis is on ensuring the government makes a commitment to Council’s ideas and resolutions.”

Council’s proposal means there will be one eastbound traffic lane only between Clara and Avoca Streets. Currently, Transport for NSW has approval to construct the light rail line through High Street and up to an interchange at High Cross Park.

Council’s consultant estimates this new option would save the state government up to $25 million. Construction of the $2.2 billion light rail project is due to begin later this year, with completion by 2019.