Discover more from Transportist
Southern Entrance Now Open
When I first arrived in Sydney in 2017, I lived southwest of Redfern station [OpenStreetMap of new station layout],1 and worked northwest of it, well within walking distance, but found the station and train tracks a barrier the required semi-circumnavigation. Within a month I suggested there should be a southern concourse.2 Lo and behold, 7 years and $160,000,0003 later, there is one.4
Setting the cost aside and ignoring the disruption of the 4?-year construction period, and the fact that there was a bridge here until the early 1990s, this is far better than its absence, and was well used even on the first days. Travelers figured it out quickly, having seen the construction for years. It is most useful for those working in South Eveleigh and at the University of Sydney. It will also greatly enhance the accessibility of North Eveleigh.
This is beneficial for BOTH meanings of the term “accessibility”. First, for those with mobility issues (wheelchairs, prams, bicyclists5, weak knees, etc.) the project adds lifts to most of the platforms. The lifts are narrow. This is undoubtedly due to the retrofit conditions and narrow platforms, but upon entering, the narrowness is claustrophobinating.
Second, it increases the station catchment area, making many more places within 5, 10, and 15 minute of Redfern station, knocking a minimum of 2 minutes each way off the commute to South Eveleigh, Waterloo, Alexandria, and points beyond. It would be similarly beneficial to North Eveleigh once there is something there.
Fortunately, there is an ungated entrance for those who want to use the bridge as an overpass of the tracks, and don’t want to use the trains. The community had to fight for this, and the community meeting I went to, and submissions we made, seemed to suggest this was far from a foregone conclusion, but fortunately, at least for now, there is Community Access, just as with bridges and tunnels elsewhere on the system, where people can cross the station without tapping in. This might cost the system a small amount of revenue, and deprive the police a cause for stopping bridge users, but my sense is that everyone over 18 (and most under) who uses the trains taps in anyway because of the random farechecks, and many stations have pylons rather than gates.
This project mitigates but does not negate the need for more rail line crossings, the Evelink project between North and South Eveleigh remains important, and should not be forgotten. Hopefully the cost is far less than $160M.
Sadly, this bridge is not especially useful for me anymore. I moved, and while I now use Redfern regularly as a commuter rather than a cut-through-er, my platforms (for the T4 line), numbers 11 and 12, are the only platforms not served by this new concourse, and are now the only platforms at the station without lifts, but do have escalators. We will need to wait for some future remodeling before a southern entrance is added to those platforms. Previous plans threatened an over-station high-rise above those subterranean platforms, so maybe they are waiting for that.
Photo galleries below.
Someone updated OpenStreetMap to be current. Google Maps and Apple Maps are now out-of-date. Go OSM!
I said “I am not going to make a list of the Sydney train stations where this issue should be investigated, but somebody should, and some assessment of their feasibility and cost would be warranted.” Ha, ha. In fact we did make a list, and published a paper on this:
Lahoorpoor, B., & Levinson, D. M. (2020). Catchment if you can: The effect of station entrance and exit locations on accessibility. Journal of Transport Geography, 82, 102556. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102556
I can’t find official documentation, but it is the number quoted in the newspaper. The transit cost disease epidemic is well-entrenched in New South Wales.
I’m not saying I’m responsible, but I’m not saying I’m not responsible.
From the point-of-view of bikes-on-trains, bicyclists have mobility issues at stations, as carrying bikes up and down stairs is a burden for bicyclists and non-bicyclists alike.