On May 8, The Major of City of Ryde hosted a symposium to discuss the Parramatta to Macquarie Park Light Rail.
Ryde Business Forum threw its considerable weight behind the symposium to ensure that a riveted business audience of more than 60 people were in attendance.
A range of keynote presenters contributed to the success of the symposium. Amongst these were Dr Michelle Zeibots, Research Principal, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures and Vaughan Paul, Vice President Human Resources at Optus Australia.
Dr Zeibots presented superb data in regard to transport in cities and spoke of the rapidity with which people change their transport habits as a result of changes to transport options. According to Dr Zeibots, the evidence shows that people make transport choices based on two principal factors, speed of getting for A to B and the cost involved. With higher prices the norm for fuel, well designed public transport infrastructure is well supported and the recent extension of the Sydney Light Rail service through inner west suburbs to Dulwich Hill, which is securing high patronage, is a case in point.
Dr Zeibots presented the meeting with evidence of her “favourite city intersection in the world” – an intersection in Zurich. The intersection is controlled by non- delayed traffic signals and is a five ways which has light rail, normal city road traffic and pedestrians all traversing the intersection, with speed and efficiency. This is a far cry from the interminable traffic light sequencing induced delays that we all know is the norm in Sydney.
Dr Zeibots is a fan and supporter of ‘street based’ Light Rail and she stated that the Parramatta to Macquarie Park proposed Light Rail is a ‘no brainer’.
Also supporting the Light Rail line was Vaughan Paul, Vice President Human Resources at Optus Australia but for different reasons. Optus like the many other businesses in the Macquarie Business Park and in North Ryde increasingly rely on the populations to the north and west for their employees. Having a Light Rail will ease commuter congestion, make employees less stressed when they report for work and ensure that access to the potential workforce of the western and northern regions is made as easy and as accessible as possible. The Parramatta to Macquarie Park Light Rail is a crucial aspect of workforce planning for the corporations and businesses that operation in the Macquarie Park / North Ryde area which is actually the largest business precinct in NSW after the City of Sydney.
Mr Paul stated ominously that if access to the workforce was too hard for Optus to the point where their business was affected, then Optus would not hesitate to relocate to preferable sites where employee access to transport was better. Having employees commence work daily stressed out of their brains from horrendous travel to work was simply counterproductive to businesses like Optus.
The majors of both City of Ryde and Parramatta’s City addressed the symposium and provided total support for the Light Rail Line stating that this piece of infrastructure is absolutely essential to the future prosperity of the Macquarie Park and Parramatta districts.
The Federal Member for Bennelong The Hon John Alexander MHR also addressed the forum providing support for the Light Rail citing that five of the State’s busiest roads pass through the electorate and that public transport infrastructure is an essential element of future planning. Mr Alexander said that the proposed Parramatta to Macquarie park Light Rail would absolutely compliment the North West (heavy) Rail Link and provide commuters and travellers with vastly improved transport options throughout the Bennelong electorate.