Saturday, 1 June 2013

Roll out the Juggernauts

Pedestrian traffic in Eddy Avenue
Pedestrian traffic in Chalmers Street
These photos were taken with an iPhone before yesterday evening's sell out game between the Sydney Swans and Essendon at the SCG. The weather had set in and it would rain throughout the game, so not all the seats were occupied. The weather was gloomy but the Swans shone - at times the crowd was chanting Goodesy instead of Sydney.

Information on walking to the SCG from Central suggests a marked route along Foveaux Street which is quite steep. Too steep for trams and they have never used this route. There is a shorter route for those with local knowledge. Leave the rail platforms from the Devonshire Street tunnel end and walk up Devonshire Street and along Parkham Street in front of Olivia Gardens then cross South Dowling Street using the pedestrian crossing and bridge. Public-spirited students at Sydney High have removed a panel in the pedestrian barrier along the centre of Anzac Parade in order to access a Randwick-bound bus stop in Anzac Parade, then a pedestrian crossing of the exclusive bus roadway places you right outside the SCG.

Stakeholders in Randwick put on a breakfast for the Deputy Director General of Transport for NSW, Chris Lock at the end of April. The brochure on Sydney's Light Rail Future asserts the potential to physically couple two carriages would double the capacity to 18,000 passengers per hour in each direction, exposing the infantile modeling that has been done for this Project. Chris Lock told his hosts that there could be a spur line or a loop in Moore Park - they are making it up as they go along.

Two carriages coupled together would create a silent juggernaut almost the length of an Olympic swimming pool. Chris Lock said these behemoths would operate "as well as the normal services", and they would reverse direction, presumably in Chalmers Street or Eddy Avenue, and cycle back at speed. He said of the tram system in this part: "It is fast".

Reversing rail carriages along a track that is carrying carriages passing in the correct direction is mind-numbingly irresponsible and this will take place in streets that carry some of the highest pedestrian densities in the State. Pedestrians wont know if they are coming or going. They will not know which side of the tracks the next tram will be leaving from until the last minute.

We have not been informed if the reversals will take place in Chalmers Street or Eddy Avenue - they are working on this as well. In any case, any signaling will be in a public street and will be vulnerable to vandalism and tampering, and a driver will not be able to see what is coming round the corner.

The coupled carriages will not stop at Ward Park and woe betide anyone who walks behind a regular service tram when a juggernaut is passing through. We have no information on the weight of the carriages so can not calculate the minimum stopping distances but they would be between 400 and 600 metres. Things could get sticky for emergency workers who come to the assistance of people.
The missing panel in the pedestrian barrier

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