Parties get aboard light rail

In a development likely to have positive flow-on effects on Sydney's central business district as well as its south-east precinct, the NSW government recently signed supporting agreements with three key stakeholders in the CBD and south-east light rail project.

In a development likely to have positive flow-on effects on Sydney's central business district as well as its south-east precinct, the NSW government recently signed supporting agreements with three key stakeholders in the CBD and south-east light rail project.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Randwick City Council, Centennial Parklands and the University of NSW (UNSW) for the 12-kilometre, $1.6-billion project, which will extend through the CBD and into several south-east education, sporting and health precincts. This welcome news follows a similar agreement made between the state government and the City of Sydney Council, which has committed $220 million towards the project.

Due to its size and scope, the project is considered to be a significant commitment from all related parties. The development is expected to transform Sydney by providing high-capacity, reliable commuter services and may well act as catalyst for urban renewal along the proposed route.

The new service should greatly improve access to Moore Park for sports fans, park users and concert goers who visit the area every year. The light rail service should also allow easier travel and improved journeys for the staff and students at UNSW's Kensington campus by opening up access to the university for many students around Sydney.

The announcement of the signing of the memorandum of understanding was accompanied by the launch of a redesigned bus network in the area. The reworked schedule was premeditated with a view to reducing the amount of buses entering the CBD - particularly during morning peak hour - by more than 220.

This news would also be welcomed by the Urban Taskforce, which is keen to see more retail outlets across Sydney benefiting from a reduction in car and bus travel into significant centres such as the CBD.

Given the current subdued retail environment, owners of small businesses in and around the CBD and the south-east corridor should be pleased with the progress as it should enhance "people traffic flows" into their catchments as well as help to stimulate growth by making the area more liveable for residents.

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