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Action for Public Transport (N.S.W.) Inc.

COMMENT: Peculiar choice for Planning Institute's public engagement award

posted Tuesday 25 March 2014
On 18 March, the Planning Institute of Australia announced that the North West Rail Link had been awarded the PIA's "Public Engagement and Community Planning Award" for 2014.

Action for Public Transport questions the judges' choice. Observers of the NWRL project would be aware that its major features were chosen without (or even despite) public involvement. For example, the Environmental Impact Statement for the major NWRL tunneling specified a tunnel bore of almost 7 metres, suitable for the double-deck trains long used everywhere in Sydney's train network. Without any public consultation, and despite the elaborate consultation then in progress on the Long Term Transport Master Plan, the trains were altered to single-deck on 20 June 2012. The tunnel bore was reduced soon afterwards, again without public involvement, in an "industry briefing". Simply, Sydney's passenger rail network is being changed to two networks, with serious consequences on reliability and extensibility, without public involvement.

Many people are aware that the NWRL plan requires large numbers of passengers, perhaps 5000 per peak hour, to change trains at Chatswood onto North Shore services that won't be able to accommodate them comfortably. Again, there was no public consultation on this matter.

Action for Public Transport would be interested in the PIA's response to this criticism.

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