Well, it’s inevitable that the next few posts will be dominated by Sydney public transport and planning issues. On Tuesday the public hearings for the Sydney Morning Herald’s independent public inquiry headed by transport expert and former Director-General Ron Christie kicked off with a meeting in Castle Hill.
It’s fitting that the hearings started in the north-west, an area that is starved of public transport and which also seems to be continually short-changed by governments. Around eight hearings are being held through September and October, leading up to the deadline for submissions to the inquiry on 8th October 2009.
I would encourage everyone with an interest in Sydney’s future to attend a hearing and to make a submission. Ultimately the inquiry isn’t just about transport, but also and more importantly about how the decisions we make about transport will impact on the sort of future this city will have (go to http://www.transportpublicinquiry.com.au/ for more details about the hearings and the inquiry process).
The Castle Hill meeting was well-attended and it was interesting how many of the audience had clearlyy read Garry Glazebrook’s A 30-year public transport plan for Sydney, which is one of the references cited by the transport inquiry. This lead to a lot of questions regarding the respective virtues and deficiencies of metros, single-deck trains and double-deckers.
Fortunately there was also a range of comments on other topics, including the importance of cross-regional transport between the northwest and the southwest, as well as the frustrations imposed by the almost complete lack of rail transport in the region. Not surprisingly this meant there was little feedback on issues such as the state of services on the current system, which will certainly feature more strongly in the hearings in those areas which actually have trains.
I have just had a paper accepted for the State of Australian Cities conference to be held in Perth in November which looks at Sydney’s pattern of development and provision of public transport infrastructure – and the lack thereof in Western Sydney (click here for further information about the SOAC conference). I’ll talk a bit more about the issues I explore in this paper in future posts, as well as sharing some of the ideas I am thinking of raising in my submission to the inquiry.