21 ST. GEORGES CRESCENT, DRUMMOYNE, NSW, 2047.
NSW Department of Planning and Environment
GPO Box 39, SYDNEY, NSW, 2001.
Attention: Director - Transport Assessments,
Dear Sir / Madam,
SUBMISSION, RE -
APPLICATION NO. SSI 15_7400 MOD 2.
SYDNEY METRO - CHATSWOOD TO SYDENHAM - "CENTRAL WALK"
Display advertisements in the Sydney press of 21 June 2017 invited public comment on a proposed modification to a current planning approval for Sydney Metro Central Station, which would incorporate a new eastern entrance and underground pedestrian passage, described as "Central Walk", and escalator access to the new and existing platforms. The closing date for submissions was to be 2 August 2017.
We support the proposal, with the following conditions.
1 - TOTAL TRAVEL TIMES, AND PEDESTRIAN ACCESS TO THE WEST.
Transport for NSW's Design Guidelines for Sydney Metro require that station designs "optimise timeliness" and "reflect pedestrian desire lines" (3.1.2).
Earlier public documents released by Sydney Metro confirmed the need to reduce door-to-door travel times, and not just the on-train travel times. Chapter 6 of the current "Central Walk Modifications Report" continues to refer to improving accessibility and connectivity. However, it only promises that "provision" has been made for extending Central Walk to the west, or Pitt Street end of the station at some indeterminate future date.
The Report records that, of customers leaving the station in the morning peak, 36% exit to the west (9.2.2, p.105). This figure is higher than that for any of the other exits.
The document's analysis of expected pedestrian movements in the underground passages is noted (Chapter 10). However, that analysis focuses on coping with anticipated congestion. It does not consider minimising passenger walk-up times, or pedestrian desire lines.
If this Modification is approved as is, pedestrians from the west of the station must continue to access the station via the northern concourse or the eastern concourse. Both routes are circuitous and therefore time-consuming.
There are, even today, at least four major tertiary institutions immediately to the west of Central Station. They generate large numbers of public transport trips. There is also a large bus interchange at Railway Square. These significant generators of train and Metro passengers deserve infrastructure which will minimise walk-up times.
Pedestrian access between the southern end of the Metro concourse and Railway Square must therefore be improved. One option would be a 150m long pedestrian tunnel between the southern end of the Metro concourse and Henry Dean Plaza. Given the density of current pedestrian flows to and from the west and south-west of the station, and the likelihood that those numbers will increase markedly over time, we believe such a pedestrian tunnel can be justified on cost-benefit grounds. It should be in place for the commencement of Metro services.
It should be a Condition of any Approval of this Application that direct pedestrian access be provided between the Metro concourse and Henry Dean Plaza.
2 - PROVISION OF "LOW-TECH" INFORMATION.
Quoting Metro's 19-page "Central Walk" brochure dated June 2017, "State-of-the-art technology will keep customers connected at all stages of their journey, from smart phone travel apps, to real-time journey information at metro stations and on-board trains". This enthusiasm for incorporating modern technology is understood and commended, but it should not be at the expense of making life more difficult for those passengers not immediately equipped to take advantage of it.
There is a need for a satisfactory level of "low-tech", or paper-based Metro information, required by those in the community who, for a variety of reasons, may not at any given moment have access to hand-held electronic devices.
The Legislative Assembly Committee on Community Services, in its December 2016 Report, said, in Recommendation No. 11, "That Transport for NSW publish travel information in paper format. It should be in locations where it is easily available to people who do not have access to
online information, such as community centres and doctors' surgeries in rural and regional areas."
The NSW Government, in its response dated April 2017, supported the Committee's recommendations.
We expect Transport for NSW and Sydney Metro to comply with government policy. Such compliance should be a Condition of any Approval of this Application.
3 - CESSATION OF THE "METRO" BRAND.
At an appropriate time, the "Metro" branding for this project should cease.
So far as the travelling public is concerned, this new railway is just that - a new railway. Retaining the Metro brand is unnecessary. It will be confusing for the thousands of travellers who will use Sydney's railway network over the coming years. It will complicate the provision of wayfinding and service information. The potential for this confusion is already illustrated by the unnecessarily complex destination signage depicted in the artist's impressions of Central Walk in the public promotional material. Also, the artist's impressions in the Central Walk brochure dated June 2017 clearly show Sydney Metro Northwest as part of the Sydney Trains network, which it is not.
Metro's ticketing and fares are to be integrated with the other modes of public transport in Sydney; specifically, Sydney Trains. The new railway's service information, wayfinding, stations and platforms should be similarly integrated. In particular, the Central Station Metro platforms should be numbered sequentially to reflect their physical location, and to conform with the platform numbers already in existence at Central, even if some existing platforms would need to be re-numbered. It would help in wayfinding.
4 - METRO WEST
In November 2016 the government announced plans for a second Sydney metro - Metro West, to be operational some time after 2025. There has been no public announcement as to whether, or where, the two metro lines will intersect. On the assumption that they will intersect, it is important to minimise overall travel times for passengers by minimising transfer times between the two lines. One obvious point of intersection to be considered would be Central.
Whilst it is too late for Metro West to be considered under this Application to Modify Approval, the Department of Planning (or other body) should promptly initiate measures to arrange for the Central Metro platforms, as currently planned, to be reconfigured into a "stacked" arrangement, one above the other, to leave open the option of having the two Metro West platforms arranged alongside, for "across-the-platform, same-direction" interchange between the two Metro lines.
It should be a Condition of any Approval for this Application that a cost/benefit analysis of the reconfigured Central Metro platforms be investigated.
5 - DECLARATION
No reportable political donations have been made by the authors of this document in the previous two years.
31 July 2017.
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