The uncertain future of the Cooks River GreenWay

I recently wrote an e-letter to the NSW Minister for Transport regarding the GreenWay and I’ve written about it before. Briefly it’s a cycling and pedestrian green corridor that will create an important cycle/commuting link between the Inner-West and the city and city-west areas.

I’ve received a response so I thought I’d publish it here on the blog. The Greenway isn’t dead yet, but it also hasn’t been funded. I’m happy the light rail is going ahead but I hope that the GreenWay will be approved too. The fear is that because the light rail has gone ahead it’ll be too costly go then go back and create the GreenWay after the light rain has been done. I’ll be waiting for the Active Transport plan to see if it includes funding and a time for the GreenWay.

What do you think? Poly double-speak or some small sign it might happen?

The NSW Government has allocated $141 million in the 2012−2013 State Budget towards the development of light rail, including continued work on the Inner West Light Rail Extension, as well as the development of a Light Rail Strategic Plan. The Plan will examine the feasibility of extending light rail through the CBD, to the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney.

While I acknowledge your views on the GreenWay, the NSW Government’s decision to defer the GreenWay project was based on significant design issues that would have delayed construction of the Inner West Light Rail Extension.

The NSW Government’s decision will simplify the negotiations and contractual arrangements required to build the light rail extension and will reduce the risk of further delays. It will also ensure the Government can integrate the possible future construction of the GreenWay into a wider active transport network as part of an integrated transport master plan.

In the meantime, the Light Rail Project Team will continue working to deliver the Inner West Light Rail Extension as quickly as possible.

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6 thoughts on “The uncertain future of the Cooks River GreenWay

  1. I suspect the problem is not about funding and infrastructure planning but politics. The Greenway has been planned for years so its integration into a overall strategy shouldn’t be a problem because it was designed BEFORE the new government’s Light Rail Strategic Plan. The Greenway will be much more difficult to construct AFTER the light rail is up and running. The O’Farrell Government’s obfuscation is a delaying tactic to ensure it is never built without saying so (much to the shock-jock’s delight). The next excuse we’ll hear will be the “technical difficulties” in building the Greenway or “the disruption to existing light rail services” which we wouldn’t want to create would we? Then there is political pay-back the two major parties play when they swap governmental battons by ignoring those electorates they have no hope of winning. If you look at the map the Greenway stretches through ALP / Green’s territory. I know this sounds very cynical but we are dealing with a Government that has allowed shooting in national parks and appointed Nick Greiner to head the infrastucture development of NSW – mostly by roads. A huge thanks to all those wonderful Greenway supporters who continue to fight the good fight to get what the community desires.

    • The GreenWay would be an easy bit of infrastructure to create and gain the government credit for helping to create better transport and commuting links. So much easier than building roads, tunnels and new rail lines. But I feel you’re right about the many reasons they won’t do it.

  2. The Active Transport study into the Cooks River to Hawthorne Canal to Anzac Bridge “corridor” is being set up now through the Dept of Planning, with a consultant recently appointed (Contessa Hadjinikitas). It doesn’t so far appear to be terribly consultative, but hoping that they will open it up.

    Matt Faber, the DoP Active Transport Manager, has said they would be looking at more “cost effective” options than the original off road path along the railway. Significantly, he said they would or could include some of the Greenway route, such as the proposed shared path over Parramatta Rd on the rail bridge. Also, at least they are looking at a connection to Anzac Bridge, something bike groups wanted added on to the Greenway as of great value to commuters to the CBD.

    If the idea of a bike path through the Leichhardt rail cutting (BikeSydney’s CWCL) is not supported then it would seem an on road route or possibly routes through Leichhardt would be the likely outcome. This could be of value if it connected Ashfield and Summer Hill etc to the Anzac Bridge and at the same time improved routes in Leichhardt.

    Just how they do this will be critical, as it needs to be direct, safe and have good grades. Looking at maps you can pick out several possibilities for onroad routes. If Councils and RMS cooperated and the Govt supplied some funding a network of cycle routes could result that would be quite good, both in the corridor sense and for local trips. The Greenway included some of this anyway, as the “Trellis” that is needed to provide access to and across the Greenway. Now the Trellis would become the through links as well.

    • There’s great potential, isn’t there Bob, in this area in terms of cycling infrastructure. I hope all the options and possibilities are on the table to get the best outcome for both commuting and local trips. I just hope it’s not all ‘considered’ and then dismissed as too expensive without proper consultation. Are you involved in this process?

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