Park and unit block stop trams in their tracks
Date January 17, 2013 72 reading now
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Tram plan distresses residents
Owner occupier Sid Hickman is concerned that the new Sydney tram line will go through the Surry Hills unit block he lives in.
THE route for the planned tram line from Circular Quay to the eastern suburbs is pretty easy to understand – with one exception.
From the Quay, trams will head along George Street to Central Station, turn left and pass along Eddy Avenue. They will then turn right to run along Chalmers Street on the eastern side of the railway. They then turn left into Devonshire Street and run eastwards into the heart of Surry Hills.
But Devonshire Street stops at Bourke Street, right by that street’s eponymous and popular bakery.
Mystified … unit residents Henry Chou, left, and Syd Hickman. Photo: Tamara Dean
So before the planned tram line can get to South Dowling Street and cross into the eastern suburbs it somehow needs to pass from the end of Devonshire Street through a park and probably some Surry Hills apartment blocks and terrace houses.
The trouble is, no one knows what houses or apartment blocks will need to be demolished for the light rail line, announced by the O’Farrell Government in December. The uncertainty has owners and residents unnerved.
”It is pretty crazy,” said Syd Hickman, the chairman of the owners’ committee of Olivia Gardens apartments, a block of 69 that stands right in the middle of where, on the government’s maps, the line needs to go.
What the light rail will look like near Martin Place.
Mr Hickman wrote to the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, late last year asking if his apartment block would need to be torn down. He has not heard back. ”They put out these glossy brochures … they must have a plan,” he said.
Mr Hickman is not against the light rail line. But he would just like to know if it will mean knocking down the block, or if another route is planned.
He said some older Olivia Garden residents were particularly nervous because they might have to sell their apartments to move into aged-care.
”Most of us are not wanting to go to the barricades,” he said.
In a statement, Ms Berejiklian said that more design work was needed before she could confirm the route through Surry Hills.
”I can appreciate that local residents are keen to know what the route will be and the government will make sure they are notified as soon as possible once the preferred alignment is confirmed,” Ms Berejiklian said.
There might be alternatives to knocking down the Olivia Gardens block. Trams could pass through a narrow laneway that runs parallel to the block, Parkham Lane. But that would need to be widened to fit twin tracks, possibly at the expense of the backyards or terrace houses on adjacent Parkham Street.
”I just don’t know how they are going to do it,” said James, a self-funded retiree and home owner on Parkham Street.
”I just thought it would be all crap so I ignored it.”
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/park-and-unit-block-stop-trams-in-their-tracks-20130116-2ctsl.html#ixzz2ICjSktZ1