Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sydney: monorail soon to be scrap metal?

The state government that rules Sydney is giving signs that it's ready to tear down the city's monorail, ostensibly for a rebuild of the convention centre but also to remove some obstacles to surface light rail, including game-changing new line down the middle of Sydney's CBD spine, George Street.  Jake Saulwick has the story in today's Sydney Morning Herald.
A source from one consortium [bidding to build a new convention centre] said no decision had been made ''but the word from the government is 'don't let the monorail constrain your thinking' ''.
''Conversely they say the light rail is quite important.''
This could be read as a story about big bad developers destroying a crucial transit resource, but it's not. The Sydney Monorail, opened in 1988, is the red line in the map below: a one way loop connecting the CBD to the nearby tourism-entertainment-convention district of Darling Harbour:
Like many transit toys, it was built cheaply on the assumption that the joy of the technology itself would transcend its lack of usefulness.  Its most obvious use is for travel between the convention/exhibition area on the west side of the loop to the city centre in the east, but the key stations on the west side of the loop, serving the convention/exhibition area and Paddy's Markets, are attached to parking structures, offering an unattractive walk to the destination itself.   The fare is $5.00.  Meanwhile, it's less than 1.5 km (1 mile) walk from one side of the loop to the other, mostly along reasonably pleasant paths that lead to the front door of your destination, though to be fair there is one elevated waterfront freeway in the way.

Sydney monorail, photo by puuikibeach

Sydney monorail, photo by Craig Jewell Photography

Sydney monorail, photo by Gary Hayes

Sydney monorail, photo by Alberto OG

Sydney monorail, photo by jezarnold
Sydney monorail, photo by Michael Davie

more about urban transportation in Sydney:

7 Ways to Improve Sydney’s E-Ticketing System

Evaluating urban ambience – an investigation into quantifying the qualities of the walkable city

Sydney Cycle Strategy: Building a Bicycle Friendly City

1 comment:

  1. It's very sad to hear that monorail system in Sydney is going to be scrapped. I hope this won't happend because it's such an important transportation utility for residents and tourists alike.