WalkSydney is pleased to make a submission on the Redfern Station Southern Concourse.
WalkSydney is a community group working to make it easier, safer and more pleasant to walk in Sydney. With a growing population we need to ensure people can easily walk to public transport, local shops and services, and shared transport options.
Historically there was a pedestrian crossing of the railroad tracks south and west of Redfern station, which unfortunately was removed in the 1990s. We are encouraged to see any improvements in this area, as almost any crossing is better than no crossing, and additional entrances help increase accessibility to public transport and thus ridership, but we hope that the improvements can be as valuable as possible for as long as possible, so the community can maximise the value for the expenditures involved.
TfNSW has provided a good start with alternatives, but we believe the community generated Option 5 (illustrated below) better achieves the goal of maximum connectivity to the station and across the tracks.
We believe the following principles should guide the design of the bridge:
- Connect Directly: The new bridge should connect South Eveleigh and Alexandria with North Eveleigh, Darlington, and the University of Sydney with a minimum of circuity. This will help maximize access for the community. It should serve not only users of Redfern station, but also pedestrians crossing the barrier created by the railway tracks. This ensures convenient walking access between north and south Eveleigh with the southern footing located at Cornwallis /Margaret Street
- Bicycle Solution: A distinct solution should also be provided for bicyclists crossing the tracks, and additional pedestrian and bicycle crossings to the west are needed.
- No Payment Gates: The bridge should not be controlled by payment gates, pedestrians crossing the tracks should not need an Opal or equivalent to cross the bridge. Many crossings throughout the Sydney Trains system are open to the public, and we do not see why the residents and workers of Alexandria and Darlington should be discriminated against. Payment pillars, rather than gates, are even now used at Redfern at the current Australia Technology Park (South Eveleigh) entrance and the northwest entrance on Lawson Street. The use of the “criminals” bogeyman (that criminals will be able to use the bridge) by TfNSW staff (presenting to Alexandria Residents (ARAG) August 14, 2019), presumably quoting police, is especially problematic and an attempt to breed fear in the community. Rest assured that criminals can get smartcards too, even if they steal them.
- Wide Platform: The platform should be at least 20 metres wide to accommodate future population growth and transit patronage.
- Wide Stairs and Lifts: The new connection should include wide direct staircases to the platforms and ground level as needed, and large lifts for prams, shopping carts, bicycles .
- Weather Protection: The new connection should have weather protection, particularly on the staircases.
- Pedestrian Signals: A pedestrian signal should be installed at Gibbons Street and Marian Street so people can walk to Regent Street/Botany Road, the Indigenous Excellence Centre, new development in Redfern and Waterloo, and other activities of importance.
- Wider Footpaths at Station Entrances: The left turn lane from Gibbons to Lawson is barely used and yet people pour out of the station and wait at the traffic lights. The left turn lane needs to be closed and the footpath widened. If counts were done at almost any time of day of cars turning left and people waiting at the lights, the need for footpath space would win by far.
- Safe Bicycle Access: A two-way north-south separated and protected bicycle facility should be provided in the Wyndham Street/Gibbons Street/Regent Street/Botany Road corridor from Green Square Station to Waterloo Station to Central Station, which connects to Redfern Station.
- Align Entrances and Exits with Actual Pedestrian Demands. We are disappointed with the so-called “Gibbons Street entrance” which does not actually enter on Gibbons Street, and increases the exiting time for pedestrians traveling to Redfern, and would not want to see a repeat of that mistake. Care should be taken to minimise the travel time for pedestrians. Accessibility increases non-linearly with reach. A 1 minute (out of 30)increase in travel time is 6.5% fewer jobs reachable in 30 minutes, in direct contravention of the 2056 plan that clearly endorses “30-minute cities”.
- Relocated Bus Stops: We believe the bus stops should be relocated to better connect to the station entrance, rather than worsen connection, as has been recently done on Gibbons Street, as shown in Figures 3 and 4.
- More Honest Communication about Future Development: In justifying their design, Transport for NSW staff indicated (ARAG meeting, Aug 14, 2019) that a high-rise building would be constructed in the triangle between platforms 10 and 11. While we don’t oppose development, and if it occurs, adjacent to public transport is an excellent location, we believe that such forward looking information should be included on public planning documents, at least in indicative terms, because such changes affect the optimal design, and clearly that community of relatively informed people was not aware of this development.