Here are just some reasons why these people probably need to think again:
We petition your government to immediately approve and fund light rail from Central railway station to Circular Quay, transforming George Street into a clean, attractive, pedestrian- and cycle-friendly light rail boulevard.
Will light rail on George Street guarantee it becomes clean, attractive, and friendly to pedestrians and cyclists? What will happen to the traffic that normally travels down George Street? Will that traffic just make streets like Pitt Street and York Street more congested? Are most of the vehicle trips up and down George Street trips that can be substituted by light rail services? Will all the buses that currently terminate at Circular Quay still do so or will some or all of them now terminate at Railway Square? Will traffic around Railway Square become more congested with a large number of buses terminating there?
Teamed with light rail extensions to the south-eastern suburbs, Green Square, and the inner west, the proposal will initiate the vital task of decongesting and revitalising the CBD and inner city.
So your proposal isn’t “Light Rail and Pedestrian Boulevard for George St, Sydney” as you claim in the title of your petition, your proposal is for an extensive light rail network across much of the lattebelt. Why won’t you tell the whole truth about your proposal?
Modern trams [compared to buses] have superior levels of comfort and accessibility. They can generally double the carrying capacity of routes on which bus services struggle to cope.
I’ll come to the accessibility argument later, is the level of comfort on a tram going from Central to Circular Quay the most important factor here? If people need to travel even from Central to Town Hall, wouldn’t they be better off catching a heavy rail train than waiting for a tram? How frequent and fast would tram services have to be in order to make up the few minutes it takes to walk from Railway Square to Central platforms 16 and 17 and then wait no more than 7 minutes and usually around 1 for a train heading north? If people are only to use trams for short trips of a few blocks is this really about comfort?
You say that buses currently struggle to cope with the passenger numbers on some routes now. How many of the buses travelling down George Street, where you say you want trams to go, are packed to capacity, and how many have spare capacity because they service a wide range of suburban termini? Isn’t at least part of the problem that there are just too many buses travelling through the CBD? I think this argument actually helps your cause; we probably need less vehicles with higher capacities, especially in peak hour, but this hampers your comfort argument. If you want to run CBD trams to deal with peak hour you want the kind of trams with more standing room and minimal seating. Probably even a fair bit of bum-rest style “seats.”
That said, the length of peak hour trams, when compared to buses, doesn’t really fix the problem of limited curb side real estate. Perhaps if you really want to put your enthusiasm and energy into campaigning for the reintroduction of a transport mode from days gone by you might like to consider the cause of double-decker buses? They too come in hip modern looks. (In fact, just from looking at these pictures and from writing this post, I think I’m having some feelings right now about double-decker buses with only standing room, bum rests, and wheelchair spots with flip up seats on the bottom level. But I’m going to think on it some more.)
Look, working out how to deal with the large volumes of people using public transport at peak hours while not over engineering your transport options at other times is a complex issue. I’m not an expert and those that are would probably shake their heads at what I’ve just written. What I think we can all agree on is that these are serious problems which require serious thought by serious people.
Which brings me to your next point…
Light rail vehicles are much more pedestrian-friendly than buses because their paths are constrained by rails and are entirely predictable.
You must be trolling. The rates of bus drivers driving up onto the footpath to get around traffic or to take a short cut, and thus inconveniencing pedestrians with their unpredictability, are much lower now than they were under the previous government.
Studies of tourist behaviour in world cities by the University of Sydney have shown tourists travel more widely on rail lines. Light rail will encourage more tourists to travel beyond the CBD and to regional attractions.
Ummmm, when people talk about tourists travelling to regional attractions, I don’t think they’re talking about the buskers at Circular Quay, the putrid toilets at the 24hr George Street McDonalds, or (accepting that the light rail will extend into the lattebelt) the drug dealers outside the Hub in Newtown. Don’t get me wrong, all of these are great Sydney attractions and key planks in the GLORIOUS SYDNEY (swt) tourism campaign, but I don’t think that’s what these studies are about.
Modern low-floor trams will be universally accessible for passengers in wheelchairs. Sydney Buses are not universally accessible by everyone.
Here you almost have a point. Yes, newly built trams would all meet the highest standards of accessibility, and yes there are still some buses that cannot be accessed by all who wish to do so, but these numbers have been steadily improving for a number of years now. How much quicker would Sydney Buses be able to transition their entire fleet to meeting accessibility requirements if the money that would need to be spent on infrastructure for trams was instead spent on accessible buses? Given that Sydney buses are able to deploy any bus on any route in any part of their Sydney network, would the quicker introduction of more accessible buses just be of benefit to people travelling in the CBD as the light rail would be, or would it benefit passengers across the entire city. Also, how long do you have to currently wait at any George Street bus stop to get an accessible bus to where you want to go compared to waiting somewhere in the suburbs?
I am not an expert, and a light rail line in the Sydney CBD may well make sense to those that are. I just wish people with feelings similar to mine would take a little more time to process those feelings.