Still no plan for Redfern station upgrade
REDFERN: The only notification of impending changes to the eastern entrance to Redfern station has come via small signs attached to bike racks around the station and between bikes chained to the pedestrian barrier along Gibbons Street. The signs announcing “Removal of bike racks at Gibbons & Lawson Street corner – a new bike storage facility at Redfern station coming in 2018” warn cyclists that from March 2 the racks will be removed along with any remaining bikes. Incidentally, the signs also mention “A new station entrance at the corner of Gibbons & Lawson streets to replace existing Gibbons Street entrance”.
In addition to other well documented safety concerns within the station, the narrow footpath on Gibbons Street near the station entrance allows little room for pedestrians leaving the station to safely wait before crossing at the traffic lights.
Representatives from Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW attended a REDWatch meeting on March 1. Images were shown of the new entrance to be completed by the end of 2018, which will be the next stopgap measure to patch up Redfern station. About 10 gates will replace the Gibbons Street entrance which will be closed off completely. The new entrance will feature a perforated metal and glass wall with murals designed by Aboriginal artist James P. Simon. Passengers will leave the station onto a larger holding area on the corner of Lawson and Gibbons Streets, but this will not resolve issues for people with mobility difficulties who will have to walk further to negotiate journeys to the east or south of the station.
REDWatch was informed by Jenny Leong that her office has lodged a GIPA [Government Information (Public Access) Act] request about the upgrade of Redfern station to find out “how far advanced the government plans are; how the project will be funded; and if there have been any talks with private developers”.
Since 2009 the number of people going through the gates at Redfern station has increased 67 per cent to 64,000 each working day. This does not include the additional 20,000 who already change between lines at Redfern.
The ATP (Australian Technology Park) will be the destination for many new passengers with 10,500 finance workers who will be commuting to the soon-to-be completed Mirvac development for the Commonwealth Bank. A report in The Australian (March 1) refers to a merger that will see media workers relocated from Pyrmont to Channel 7’s ATP Media City in numbers not previously included in projections. Also not included are workers at future developments in North Eveleigh as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald (March 3) where Mirvac is pitching a technology hub with Google’s Australian headquarters as the anchor tenant.
The seven cranes on the skyline south of the train lines bear witness to the extent of developments with Mirvac’s first building “topping out” ceremony in the last week of February.
With the development of the Metro line, which will see trains from the Bankstown line go via the new station in Waterloo, from 2024 two lines at Redfern station (Platforms 8 and 9) will become redundant.
Despite assurances that the need for a full upgrade for the station is well recognised by Transport for NSW, the well-worn excuses were again cited. Difficulties that the site presents, being in a cutting with no firm anchor points; the problems of development on a station with so many tracks passing through it, with narrow, curved platform lines.
The only indication of a way forward given to the REDWatch meeting was an image from the past – a 2010 plan for lifts from existing platforms to a bridge between Little Eveleigh Street and Marian Street.
The full report from which the image is taken can be found on the REDWatch website along with a comprehensive set of documents about Redfern Station