‘Shortsighted in the extreme’: Clover Moore rails against NSW government’s Metro West decision | New South Wales #Shortsighted #extreme #Clover #Moore #rails #NSW #governments #Metro #West #decision #South #Wales

Sydney’s lord mayor has blasted the New South Wales government for adding stations to a key metro line in the western suburbs but failing to extend the route eastwards through the city.

On Wednesday, the government announced it would build up to two new stations on the Metro West line between Olympic Park and Parramatta, and likely move the Rosehill racecourse to make way for tens of thousands of new homes.

The premier, Chris Minns, said it was the first time the city was “marrying” public transport development with new housing.

The government’s announcement also included the revelation that plans to extend the line from the CBD to Zetland and potentially eastwards through Moore Park and Randwick will not be part of its initial opening, which has been delayed by two years to 2032.

However, the government did not rule out extra stations being added in the future.

The City of Sydney lord mayor, Clover Moore, who had advocated for extending the line through her council area, said on Thursday that “dropping plans for a Metro stop in Zetland is deeply disappointing and shortsighted in the extreme”.

Moore acknowledged the government’s approach of linking public transport investment to new housing, but that that should not mean areas which have already begun densifying without extra train services couldn’t have them retrospectively added to help with future growth.

Moore was particularly frustrated that the Green Square precinct next to Zetland, which she noted successive governments have demanded increased density for, would not have a station when the Metro West line opened. The Green Square area is projected to reach 63,000 residents by 2036.

“It is welcome news the Metro West is going ahead, but continuing the line out to Green Square is essential and must be delivered as soon as possible,” she said.

“You can’t build housing, encourage people to move in, then deny basic services like adequate public transport. You can’t build homes then abandon the people who live there.”

While the government has not ruled out future extensions of Metro West – which is designed to allow for further tunnelling out of the CBD – in the future, Moore said “with the rate of growth in Green Square, that line needs to be constructed on the same timeframe as the initial Metro West works”.

Metro West was announced by the previous Coalition government as a 24km rail line that would move up to 40,000 people an hour in each direction from the newly built Hunter Street station in the CBD through Parramatta and Olympic Park to Westmead. The project has been touted as a way to alleviate pressure on the existing western line of the city’s train network.

After coming to power in March, Minns ordered a review into the state’s metro projects, citing concerns of a projected $25bn price tag for the Metro West line – an overrun of $17bn on its initial budget.

The government has justified proceeding with the costly project by maximising potential for infill housing along its route.

The NSW transport minister, Jo Haylen, said the review of the project had recommended further investigations for “future expansions of the metro to deliver more housing”.

But the premier said extensions to the east would probably not be greenlit under his government.

“We expect metro lines and the public transport infrastructure to grow over time but I have to be really realistic about the amount of revenue and capital and debt that we have,” Minns said.

“I expect future parliaments to make decisions about extending metros west and east in the future.”

On Thursday, Minns said adding the station at Rosehill would cost more than $500m, but was considered value for money given the ability to add in 25,000 homes.

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Prof David Levinson, a transport analyst at the University of Sydney’s civil engineering school, said adding stations in the 7km gap between Olympic Park and Parramatta made sense, but that adding too many stations risked diminishing the speed savings of the route.

Levinson noted that Metro West was initially heralded as a way to get from the city to Parramatta in 20 minutes, which is just five minutes shorter than the express service on the existing heavy rail network.

“If you add in a station now, it’s going to be 21 or 22 minutes, so it’s a tradeoff,” he said. “Adding a station is good for the people who live next to it, but bad for people already on the train. You’re adding lost time.”

Levinson said extending the line south of the CBD then eastwards in future would be logistically easier, while infill stations, especially on underground sections of the track, are “much trickier”.

The government also announced the rezoning of land around dozens of railway stations to allow taller, denser buildings to be erected, as well as the 25,000 homes at Rosehill.

The changes were largely welcomed by planning reform advocates, including Committee for Sydney chief executive Eamon Waterford, who said new housing in walking distance of stations was good news.

But he said ensuring at least 15% of the developments around stations included affordable housing was “a floor, not a ceiling” in other countries.

“We need to push our ambition higher,” Waterford said.

Yimby campaigner and executive director of Business Western Sydney, David Borger, described the housing and metro developments flagged for Rosehill as “the big daddy of development sites”.

But he said the government still needed to increase housing in the eastern suburbs.

“These places in the east have so much amazing amenity, great public transport, close access to jobs in the Sydney CBD – we’d like to see more of this over there,” Borger said.

The premier insisted there was more to come in the east of the city.

“We’re not done yet,” he said.

#Shortsighted #extreme #Clover #Moore #rails #NSW #governments #Metro #West #decision #South #Wales

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