The northern section of The Goods Line, a proposed cross-city pedestrian and bicycle corridor connecting the inner city to Sydney’s foreshore, is now in the preliminary stages of construction after work initially began in March.
Work on The Goods Line has been split into two stages. The northern section will be approximately 250 metres long and will run parallel to Harris Street, from the Ultimo Rail underbridge to the Powerhouse Museum.
The Goods Line North is currently in the process of being built, and its projected completion by November this year is set to coincide with the opening of another anticipated piece of local architecture. The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) will house teaching, learning, research and office accommodation facilities for the University’s Business School, and will be the first building in Australian designed by award-winning architect Frank Gehry when it is completed near the end of the year.
UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor Patrick Woods is optimistic about the cultural ramifications for The Goods Line and its potential to transform Sydney into a creative and technological hub. He believes the corridor will cement UTS as the epicentre of the city’s digital and creative precinct, a project proposed under the federal Innovation Precinct Program.
““It will allow the community to experience our exciting facilities, provide over 35,000 UTS students, and thousands of staff, with a place to enjoy and connect with our buildings as well as Darling Harbour and Central Station,” said Mr Woods.
“UTS is very excited by the opportunity that this wonderful project creates.”
However, the future of the Innovation Precinct Program remains unclear with Sophia Mirabella, then shadow spokeswoman for research and science, calling the program “a cruel hoax [that] is being played on tertiary institutions” in the lead-up to the federal election last year. The Coalition has not updated its position on the matter since, with no plans announced to scrap the Program yet.
Nonetheless, The Goods Line is an initiative led by the state government’s Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA). Spokesperson for the SHFA and director of The Rocks and Circular Quay Precinct Debra Dawson stated that the corridor will be much more than just a thoroughfare for pedestrians and cyclists.
“Its unique design features a series of elevated spaces or platforms which can be used for an endless variety of entertainment, recreation, study and other pursuits,” said Ms Dawson.
“The ‘public space spine’ in the heart of Ultimo will connect people as never before, in a wireless environment.”
Sacha Cole, director of ASPECT Studios, which led the design of The Goods Line alongside CHROFI Architects, echoed the SHFA’s grand vision for an elevated network, much like New York City’s High Line, connecting more than 80,000 students, visitors and locals with the arts, cultural and educational institutions situated on Sydney’s Cultural Ribbon (a walking trail project planned as part of the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 initiative), including the ABC, TAFE – Sydney Institute, and the Powerhouse Museum.
“SHFA and the design team are working towards creating a digitally connected place which enables outdoor study, 3D augmented reality, interactive way finding and storytelling apps,” said Mr Coles.
“The aim is to have every second light pole contain a Wi-Fi hot spot for public use.”
Work on The Goods Line South is expected to commence early next year.