Laying it all on the line over light rail plan

EMBRACE IT: Transport Minister Andrew Constance talks light rail in Newcastle on Tuesday. Picture: Marina Neil.
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ACCORDING to Transport Minister Andrew Constance,if you have a different opinion to the state government on light rail you’re being negative(‘Driven out’, Herald, 6/4).

If the government had accepted the bureaucrat’s report and used the heavy rail corridor, there would be surplus funds to burn to extend light rail almost everywhere.

But no, that’s being negative.

Besides, what a waste of the only land in the city area not subject to mine subsidence problems.

One day we might learn what this government has in mind for this valuable corridor.Meantime, we are asked to also embrace council mergers without access to the KPMG experts report.

Age of enlightenment and transparency indeed.

Penton Sutcliffe,CorletteMess, MinisterANDREW Constance says “we’re not spending over half a billion dollars here to build public transport that no one uses”. Nonsense.That’s exactly what they are proposing.

Getting people out of their cars requires fixing the broken Newcastle public transport system. That means many more buses, routes that are more direct and more frequent than at present, and buses that take people to railway stations. It also means an expansion of the rail network to cover more suburbs.

The light rail proposal, even if it goes ahead, is largely irrelevant because it covers only a short section of a typical commute. You can get people onto public transport with a better bus system, but if you force them off the bus for the final stretch then they will go back to cars.

The only good short-term solution is to move public transport back onto the rail corridor. That won’t be as good as restoring the heavy rail, but it would be a start.

Peter Moylan,GlendaleReclaim the corridorIT is commendable that the governmentacceptsthatlight railismore effective whenit runsin a dedicatedcorridorfree from motortraffic.

Given thatthe existing rail corridor isavailable andwould be ideal to carry light rail vehicles separate from road traffic,the government could movenow, to installthe light rail systemin the existingcorridor,without waiting until 2019.

Howeverthe government is still persistingwith Hunter and Scott streets as the ‘dedicated corridor’ for light rail.

LeakedDocument 71predicts significant increases injourney time which will deter commuters and force them into carsadding to traffic congestion and parking problems.

There will be substantial disruption to business during construction of light rail.Transport for NSW recommended that light rail in the corridor would be far superior and cost about $100 million less.

The independentexperts report failed the Hunter-Scott streets project on 7 out of 9 criteria for success.

Iftheexisting corridorisdedicated for light rail then the street trees, cycling, wider footpaths, parking and street diningcould be introduced to Hunter Street.

The problemswill only go away if the government usesthe corridor to Newcastle Station for light rail.

Only two tracks would be necessary for light rail on the corridor.There could be scope for some reasonable development beside or over the rail tracks.

In the interests of improving thesituation for more stakeholders, compromise will be necessarybut the outcomes will be better.

Alan Squire,Hunter Transport for Business DevelopmentWill we be strandedOUR town now has significantly reduced capacity to move large numbers of people via public transport in and out of the foreshore precinct and parks, our beaches, our city workplaces, our university city campus, our law courts, our theatres, our gallery and museum and other inner city venues.

I was interested to learn that the proposed Newcastle light rail sets have the capacity to move just 200 passengers per vehicle movement.

Contrast that with theeight-car NSW TrainLink V sets which have an approximate capacity of 2000 passengers, depending on configuration.Assuming a large event in the city area is being held, that’s 2000 people that could have been using heavy rail into Newcastle Station who will now have to transfer to a vehicle that can hold just 200 people.

With pretty pictures and poetry Newcastle has been conned.

Nick Rippon,NewcastleA little bit moreWHY terminate Newcastle’s light railat Pacific Park, just one block further than our former railway station?

If it was extended to Parnell Place at the end of Scott Street, people could more easily walk to Nobbys Beach especially surfers with theirboards, Fort Scratchley and the Newcastle Ocean Baths

I hope the Minister for Transport will consider this.

Suzanne Martin, NewcastleBridge brakesDOES anyone know what is happening with the second bridge being built at Tourle Street?

There weretwo mounds of dirt placed along the sides of the road, both sides of the river, before Christmas and nothing since.

It has been designated as a roadwork zone and 60kmh speed limits have been brought in from the Mayfield side of the existing bridge and halfway along Cormorant Road atKooragang.

It is slow enough as it is with the bottleneck of two lanes going into one on the bridge but restricting the speed to 60kmh only slows the traffic flow even more and no work has taken place in four months.

Brett Lee, NewcastleOwl and the pussycatIN response to the powerful owl story (Topics, 5/4) , some yearsago I had a young male cat who was always bringing home these headless possums.

I remember picking up at least fiveover a fairly short period of time.I was furious with him and was going to have him put down, but as things turned out he died of pneumonia which the vet couldn’t understand as he was a really strong and healthy cat.

So it seems that I may have wrongly blamed poor puss. RIP Gizmo.

Olwyn Edmonds, Eleebana

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