Bondi View

Light rail on track for Bondi

Waverley Council has set the wheels in motion for a new light rail transport system in Bondi.

A proposed Council report has been canvassed on light rail, as Waverley looks to extend the State Government’s plans for a light rail network linking up the city with key sites in the Eastern Suburbs. A service incorporating Bondi Junction, the University of New South Wales [UNSW] and the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick is Council endorsed.

Waverley Mayor Sally Betts said the initiative will be of great benefit to the local community should it be implemented in Bondi.

“The home of Waverley has always been supportive of light rail,” she said. “Bondi Rd and Old South Head Rd are just a nightmare at the moment, so I think it will provide a quick, easy and affordable means of transport to get to work, school and community shops. People could still use their cars on the weekend and it would make [Bondi] a much more liveable place.”

The move comes in light of the recent announcement by NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, who has committed his Government to cutting congestion in Sydney’s CBD by calling on the advice of light rail planning experts. According to the Draft NSW Transport Plan, three potential light rail corridors have been identified as priority targets: The CBD, the University of Sydney and UNSW.

Bryan Nye, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association said the initiative highlighted the State Government’s willingness to address Sydney’s congestion gridlock.

“Introducing light rail along key routes will take cars off Sydney roads, reduce congestion and decrease travel time for all involved,” he said. “One tram can move 10,000 people an hour in one lane of traffic that could otherwise [only] move 800 cars.”

The project is seen as a solution to congestion and parking issues, which are viewed as a significant concern in the Waverley community. Waverley Councillor Leon Goltsmann echoed these sentiments, arguing light rail would provide a faster and more convenient mode of transport by improving the flow of traffic.

“It’s a lot quieter and of course it’s much cleaner [for the environment],” he said. “It will actually connect us with other neighbouring councils, our sister councils … so we will be able to link to their amenities, CBDs and hospitals as well, without having to change buses.”

Ms Betts earmarked Bondi Beach as the next move in expanding the light rail network infrastructure as part of Council’s long-term vision.

“There is a lot of work to do … we’ve got to talk to our community about which routes we would want, and then work out the gradient and if it is possible,” she said. “We need to plan for it … work out which option would be best, the feasibility of it, and of course get the funding.”

Local resident Sam Gutman said the greatest obstacle is financing the project.

“The State Government would need to spend four to five years on reports, assessments, plans, tenders etc,” he said. “One or two Council meetings could fix it [much] quicker. North Bondi to Bondi Junction via Bondi Rd should not take 40 minutes … Traffic is crazy down there.”