Station upgrade plans falling short?
Transport for NSW (TfNSW) held a short consultation for a proposed new six metre wide southern concourse for Redfern Station in the second half of May and early June.
It proposes an additional set of stairs and lift access onto each above ground platform. It does not include a lift for platform 11 and 12, nor does it provide a second exit to address the safety issues on the underground platforms, so it falls short of the full accessibility upgrade Redfern rail users seek.
The proposed concourse goes from the top of Marian Street to the UrbanGrowth owned building, occupied by Big Issue at 125-127 Little Eveleigh Street.
Unlike earlier plans, Little Eveleigh Street is proposed as the only exit towards Sydney University from the new concourse. Little Eveleigh Street is a one way street with narrow footpaths. As it is also the major access to the Wilson Street cycleway, bikes travelling west share the roadway with cars; there is parking on one side with a marked bike line for easterly bike flow on the opposite side. University buses already use this proposed shared space station exit. TfNSW says, “Traffic and pedestrian movements as well as parking on Little Eveleigh Street will be considered in consultation with City of Sydney and key stakeholders”.
TfNSW has rejected the option for an exit through North Eveleigh going behind the Little Eveleigh terraces to Wilson Street at Ivy Street. TfNSW argues that “This option was not preferred from a customer perspective with a less desirable access across the rail corridor and the pedestrian pathway. [It] … would also require more footings to support the bridge and take longer to construct with the increased distance between Marian Street and Wilson Street”.
On the Marian Street side, there is no proposal to address the increasing pedestrian use of the shared roadway between the station and the former Australian Technology Park, now known as South Eveleigh. In the heyday of the Eveleigh workshops, platform 10 connected to Eveleigh via a tunnel and an overhead walkway connected other platforms at the southern end.
Future access to Redfern Station is now proposed from both the southern and the northern concourses. Redfern’s narrow platforms mean the new stairs will be to the north of the new southern concourse. They will start near the existing platform buildings so many travellers are expected to still use the northern exit onto Lawson Street unless they are travelling to South or North Eveleigh.
One consequence of the proposed design is that the heritage platform buildings are retained.
To use the Southern Concourse as an east-west crossing point you will need to tap on and tap off as there is no separate public concourse in the initial plan. In addition, the southern concourse may be closed when trains are not operating.
Of major concern is the lack of any indication of how the proposal will link with other developments around Redfern Station. Mirvac and the Commonwealth Bank have lobbied to have the southern concourse separated from the broader redevelopment plans so they can get the earliest possible delivery of the exit to their development.
As a consequence we have no indication of how the proposed concourse interacts with the building proposed above platforms 11 and 12, platforms 11 and 12 themselves or how the new exit feeds into whatever long-term rail bus interchange is proposed on Gibbons Street. On the western side, there is no indication as to how people will move from the proposed North Eveleigh redevelopment into the station.
While the formal exhibition ended on 2 June, TfNSW says it will take feedback into early June, as it will present the proposal to a REDWatch public meeting at 6pm on Thursday 6 June at The Factory Community Centre 67 Raglan Street Waterloo.
TfNSW says it will ensure that there are opportunities for the community to be involved in the development of plans for the precinct. REDWatch has proposed a broad based reference group to advise TfNSW on how to consult broadly with the area’s diverse communities.
Redfern Station is the sixth busiest station in Sydney with 70,000 combined movements a day between platforms and to and from the station. The Commonwealth Bank and Mirvac developments alongside the redevelopment of North Eveleigh and expected growth of Carriageworks attendances will drive a significant increase in new travellers wanting to exit to the south of Redfern Station.
The Southern Concourse was announced as a Transport Access Upgrade in February 2019. The short consultation provides feedback on the early concept plan. This will be used for an application to the Department of Planning for the State Significant Infrastructure study requirements. TfNSW will then prepare its studies and final designs for an Environmental Impact Statement, which will be publically exhibited before a final determination.
Subject to planning approval, construction of the $100 million project is expected to start in mid-2020 and will take approximately 15 months to complete.
Geoff Turnbull is a Co-spokesperson for REDWatch and was active in the Lift Redfern Campaign.
From the TfNSW website you can find consultation details and a Redfern Station Upgrade – New Southern Concourse FAQ (PDF, 763.91 KB), There is also a Redfern Station Upgrade Newsletter – May 2019 (PDF, 680.25 KB). The newsletter references the proposed redevelopment of the 10 hectare railway precinct around Redfern Station and North Eveleigh and flags a new TfNSW Redfern and North Eveleigh Precinct Renewal page indicating that wider renew of the 10 hectare surrounding site is also on the move.