Friday, 01 September 2017 09:48

Sydney's West needs north-south rail

Train pulling into Blacktown Station on the Western Line. Train pulling into Blacktown Station on the Western Line.

An integrated rail and road plan is needed immediately to support projected growth of one million people says the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC).

“Greater Western Sydney is set to absorb two-thirds of Sydney’s population growth by 2036, half of which will occur in the north-south corridor between Hawkesbury and Campbelltown,” said WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali.

“It is a question of whether you want these extra people on public transport heading to colleges, sporting events, employment centres or recreational activities, or whether you want to cram them onto roads.

“If the NSW Government continues down its current course of intensive residential development without appropriate public transport they will be creating transport dead zones,” said Cr Bali.

“Western Sydney Airport should not be the sole driver for new rail connections. If we wait until after the airport opens there will already be half a million extra people living along the north-south corridor.

“Rail has the power to significantly shape a city’s development. It shouldn’t be tacked on as an afterthought,” he said.

“For example, if we built a rail station every two kilometres along the 65km corridor between Hawkesbury and Campbelltown, and increased residential density around those 32 stations we could house over 500,000 people within walking distance of the rail line.

“Investment in the town centres surrounding these stations could easily match the employment projections of Western Sydney Airporti, even before we account for the benefits of connecting existing employment centres along this ‘innovation corridorii,” he said.

“Currently, only 23 per cent of Western Sydney residents live within walking distance of a rail stationiii. By focusing on this particular corridor, we could ensure that half of the West’s growth has public transport access – completely transforming the way the region operates.

“All it takes is a bit of foresight to fast-track a project that is going to happen anyway,” he said.

“Along the way, we would improve access to health care, education and employment for a number of disadvantaged communities. We would increase walkability in a region with shocking health statistics, and improve quality of life through shorter, more affordable commutes,” said Cr Bali.

“The alternative is waiting ten to twenty years and paying the accumulative costs of traffic congestion, land buy-backs and systemic disadvantage.

 

i The creation of just 2,000 jobs around each of these 32 stations would equal the 64,000 direct and indirect jobs projected for Western Sydney Airport.

ii Existing employment zones along the north-south corridor include: Sydney Business Park, St Marys Industrial Estate, Western Sydney University’s Kingswood and Campbelltown campuses, Werrington Park Corporate Centre, Kingswood TAFE, Penrith Health Precinct, Oran Park. Future employment zones along the north-south corridor include: Luddenham Science Park, Badgerys Creek Employment Precinct.

iii Table 11: LGA population proximity to train stations. Western Sydney Job Deficit Analysis (September, 2016). Available from: https://www.rdasydney.org.au/imagesDB/news/Report-WSROC-JobDeficitAnalysis13September.pdf

Last modified on Monday, 04 September 2017 16:44