City Hub

Q: Why did the light rail cross the road?

BY CHRISTOPHER HARRIS

The Greens have called on the government to stop work on the light rail east project, and says it should answer questions as to why the route was changed following a development application for a hotel.

The Greens say the planned hotel is situated where the previous planned route for the light rail is located. Moving the route has meant that hundreds of old trees will be cut down as well as transferred, sparking community backlash against the government.

Hundreds of locals gathered last Sunday to further protest the removal of the trees.

“This whole process stinks and is full of irregularities. How can a forty-four volume planning document identify the Southern side of Alison Road as the optimum location then one month after a development application for a hotel is received,

be overturned by flimsy reasons in a modification document,” Dr Faruqi said.

“The Government has never adequately explained why it changed the route, a decision that is leading to the loss of so many majestic trees, including one hundred year old Moreton Bay figs. If they changed the route purely so the

racecourse could build their hotel at the expense of the community and the environment then they need to come clean.”

“The realignment makes no transport sense and will result in a sub-optimal outcome for commuters and the environment “

She said that the DA for the hotel was approved in late 2014, but a modification report moving the route show that the previous alignment would have impacted on the proposed hotel.

The original EIS said the route meant “good inbound bus and light rail interchange opportunities immediately adjacent to the proposed Royal Randwick racecourse stop.” The Modification report said it would have had “potential impacts to the bus interchange area at the Alison Road entrance to Royal Randwick Racecourse.”

A Transport NSW spokesperson said “The revised location of the Alison Road alignment improves access for customers living north of Alison Road and those travelling to and from local educational facilities and Centennial Park.

“It prioritises ‘every day access’ to the area ahead of casual event access and also offers improved pedestrian safety during special events by providing a new fully signalised pedestrian crossing opposite Gate 1 of the Racecourse. This ensures safety and minimises conflicts between pedestrians, special event bus services and general road traffic.

“The alignment was changed after further consultation was carried out with the community and stakeholders in 2014 following the release of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).”