Better Transport for Sydney

We asked our Twitter readership what they would do to make transport in Sydney better. Below we synthesise and organise their responses below. Note, no one said “build more motorways”. The general sentiment was to prioritise those making shorter trips, prioritise safety, and prioritise people throughput above all else. We don’t endorse all of these of course (but we don’t not endorse them either).

Pedestrian Infrastructure

  • Every street with a speed limit above 30 km/h to have footpaths.
  • Crossings on all arms of all intersections.
  • Awnings on all buildings (And on pedestrian/cycle bridges ).
  • Fix Traffic Signals:
    • Halve pedestrian wait times at traffic lights;
    • Make the pedestrian phase automatic on every phase of traffic lights;
    • Are always set to walk by default, and only change to don’t walk when a car approaches.
  • Pedestrianise around schools:
    • No school car drop-off 100m radius from the school;
    • Build raised continuous footpaths (and wombat crossings) within walking radius of schools at every intersection, making it obvious pedestrians and mobility riders have right of way. 
  • No cut corners and lessen the distance for pedestrians to cross side streets.
  • Plan walking routes for pedestrian desire lines.
  • More elevators.
  • Pedestrianise major shopping streets
    • Start with King St / Enmore Rd in Newtown. Even if just for a section. It’s Sydney’s best High Street but it’s treated like a car sewer. 
  • Test Spanish style mega blocks without car access. Inner city suburbs like parts of Surry Hills & Manly are perfect.
  • Open more public markets, street markets, open streets, etc. (and develop a permanent high-quality fruit market like the QVM in Melbourne).

Bike Infrastructure

  • Build a complete, continuous, connected network of separated and protected bike lanes. Sydney is unique in leaving cyclists to fend for themselves, (among car traffic) when a lane just vanishes, like it does ahead of many intersections and roundabouts.
    • Protected bike lanes to all schools and stations in a 3km radius;
    • Protected bike lanes to all railway and metro stations and bus interchanges and ferry wharves;
    • Find the road space by removal of parking spots on roads;
    • Provide secure, undercover bike & scooter storage at major terminals.
  • Priority at intersections/ crossings for active and public transport. Private vehicles should be the lowest in the hierarchy of movement.

Public Transport Infrastructure

TRAMS

  • Bring back the trams and make them charming so people fall in love with them:
    • Start with Broadway/Parramatta Road and a route on the east side of the Sydney CBD.

Buses

  • Ensure high frequencies on all routes.
  • Open more  bus lanes:
    • Keep bus lanes open for 18-24h, not just in the peak.
  • Keep working to improve bus routes/getting rid of the old ‘replace the tram’ lines.
  • Roll out shelter improvements/PIDs/e-ink displays. (E-Ink displays at every bus stop;):
    • When there is a rail disruption, to make use of all the PIDs to show alternative transport routes available from the station to get to or near your destination in real time ie bus, light rail, Uber/taxi stops.
  • Construct proper bus interchanges. 
  • Make feeder buses to train stations in outer suburbs free (they raise no revenue anyway).
  • Plan or future proof adequate transport networks for new developments.
  • Perform similar bus network upgrades in all regions of Sydney similar to those conducted in the Northern Beaches & Eastern Suburbs regions.
  • Double the frequency of train station feeder buses in the suburbs (especially along the metro). Levy/tax on people who register a vehicle to a Sydney address that is within (say) 400m of the entrance to a station unless they prove their work requires it.

Trains

  • Upgrade all Tangara trains to modern standards of passenger information.
  • Add two more tracks to the corridor between Macarthur to Revesby for fast trains.
  • Electrify the Southern Highlands Line and Canberra Line.
  • Continue building more Sydney Metro and Sydney Trains lines.
  • Ensure alternatives are provided swiftly when there is disruption to service.
  • Integrate multi-modal pricing of transit (i.e. purely mobility-based, blind to mode used, trip breakages and chaining).

Ferry

  • Support the current trial of a ferry to Glebe (Blackwattle bay) with proper signage, updating all maps and info and make it accessible with Opal card.
  • Treat ferry like a serious mode, with high quality timed transfers, and integrated ferry/wharf designs to speed boarding and alighting (See Vancouver SeaBus).

Street Infrastructure 

  • Set a 30 km/h urban default speed. 
  • Perform road diets and streetscape upgrades (Dutch style) whenever a road is repaved- bike lanes, landscaping, trees everywhere, narrow road lane seating etc.
  • Fix parking:
    • Remove on-street parking for narrow major transport corridors in most residential areas;
    • Price street parking everywhere else;
    • End the expectation of free on-street parking from residents and businesses. This could allow streets like Military Road to have all day bus lanes and Rangers Road to have fully separated cycle ways.
  • Remove slip lanes from intersections.
  • Implement road pricing, weight-distance taxes for trucks, and vehicle efficiency standards. 
  • Enforce noise standards for cars, trucks, and especially motorcycles.
  • Cap motorways.
  • Implement a car-free CBD in all the major business districts.

We would love to see most of this, and encourage our elected officials to adopt this as part of their transport agenda.