Government moves on light rail should be matched by moves on land zoning

11 March 2010

The Urban Taskforce has welcomed todays announced changes to planning laws to allow preliminary work to begin on the $500 million expansion of Sydneys light rail line but said they needed to be matched with an urgent review of zoning laws along the lines route.

The new tram line, announced in last months Metropolitan Transport Plan, includes up to 20 new stations and could run from the city to Dulwich Hill, much of it along an existing disused rail line, surrounded by low density housing and industrial land.


The governments announcement today means that early work to assist the delivery of the light rail – such as testing, surveying and other investigation work can be carried out without the need for a development application.


The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the planned light rail extension into Dulwich Hill provides an opportunity for more of Sydneys new housing to be accommodated around high quality public transport.


New compact, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use neighbourhoods should bring together housing, workplaces, shopping and recreation areas within walking distance of public transport, he said.


The government will be wasting its investment if significant apartment, retail and office development is not also permitted along any new light rail corridor.


The evidence consistently shows that the best way to get people onto public transport is to provide opportunities to live and work within walking distance of its transit stations.


For every 10-percent increase in population density at a transit station, there is a 6-percent increase in public transport patronage.


Work on reviewing the zoning of land in this corridor should start immediately.


We want this new transport infrastructure to be a success this means, from day one, there should be sufficient numbers of people living and working in close proximity to the line to ensure its well patronised.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


For every $1 million in construction expenditure, 27 jobs are created throughout the broader economy.


The construction activity made possible by property developers contributes $78 billion to the national economy each year and creates 849,000 direct jobs.



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