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Light rail transit loop to link Green Square to city

MORE than 22,000 future residents of Green Square are to be moved around the massive urban renewal site on a high-capacity bus or light rail service under plans being considered by the State Government and the City of Sydney Council writes Linton Besser Transport Reporter in the Sydney Morning Herald of October 23, 2008.

A long transit loop would encircle the site between Moore Park and Eveleigh, and between Surry Hills and Zetland, feeding thousands of commuters to the Airport Rail Link and to Redfern station.

The site is set to rapidly expand over the next five years as Landcom finalises a deal with a development consortium, with the Green Square population set to rise from 9000 people in 2006 to 28,000 by 2031.

The Ministry of Transport is developing the concept and is understood to be considering a high-capacity bus network.

But if the council gets its way, the proposed "transit loop" would eventually be constructed as a light rail system, which would link to the existing light rail network at Central station.

Figures prepared by the Government's consultant on the project, Parsons Brinckerhoff, show at least 22,650 residents of the new town centre and surrounding suburbs would use the transport system to either travel to the shops or access the CityRail network.

About 10,500 local workers, including those working in 7000 new retail and commercial jobs, would use the network.

In a submission to Infrastructure Australia, the council claims it is "critical" to install world-class transport for "the nation's largest urban renewal area".

"In the short term, the Green Loop would be operated by dedicated buses, but the design of the transit priority corridors should be suitable for later incorporation of higher-capacity systems."

The loop has been designated around four corridors. North-south services would run along a new road to be constructed through the middle of the Green Square development site and along Regent Street, then either Wyndham Street or Botany Road.

An east-west route would be built through the southern part of the site, just north of Epsom Road, and the loop would be closed with a transit link running east-west through Surry Hills along Foveaux or Albion streets.

"A 2031 forecast of 'business as usual' trends based on 2001 census travel data indicated that, without policy and management intervention, total private vehicle trips to and from the renewal area would increase significantly [and] there is little available capacity in the regional road network to accommodate increased traffic," the submission reads.

Instead of a single direct link between Central station and Green Square, Parsons Brinckerhoff recommended a circular loop to limit the growth of car numbers as residents move in.

"Over time, supporting infrastructure measures, including new links, dedicated bus lanes and transit-only streets, would be developed along the Green Loop route to deliver average service speeds of 25 kmh [including time spent at stops]."