June 6, 2018
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Author: Matt Wade
06 June, 2018
Sydneysiders want new public transport infrastructure to take priority over big road projects, polling shows.
When a representative sample of 1000 adults from across the Sydney basin was asked to prioritise eight future infrastructure projects, the public transport options came out on top.
Nearly one in three rated Sydney Metro West, a high-frequency, underground railway planned between the central business district and Parramatta, number one. A total of 63 per cent ranked that project among their top three priorities, by far the highest share according to the Ipsos poll conducted for advocacy group the Committee for Sydney.
The second most popular project was the Sydney to Newcastle fast rail – it was ranked in the top three by 42 per cent.
Separate unpublished Ipsos polling conducted last year showed 88 per cent of Sydney respondents felt the city needs more public transport, with 55 per cent agreeing “a lot more” is required.
“There is clearly demand for better public transport and more of it – we really see that coming through in the data,” said Ipsos research institute director, Stuart Clark.
The least popular project was the F6 Extension, a motorway planned between St Peters and Waterfall – only 7 per cent of respondents identified it as the top priority while 25 per cent rated it among the top three.
Eamon Waterford, the Committee for Sydney’s acting chief executive, said the results showed there is public appetite for prioritising new rail projects over the building of new roads.
“There has been a cultural shift in Sydney as more people are leaving their cars at home and realising the benefits of using public transport,” he said.
“These polling numbers show that there is a greater demand and expectation from the public for an efficient and integrated transport system and for the government to continue investing in public transport infrastructure. It shows strong public support for mass public transit projects like West Metro.”
Census data shows the share of Sydney workers taking public transport to work climbed from 23.3 per cent in 2011 to 26.3 per cent in 2016, easily the highest proportion for any Australian city.
Grattan Institute transport program director Marion Terrill said the pace of Sydney’s growth meant more public transport capacity is needed.
“Sydney’s population has increased by 20 per cent in a decade; with such rapid growth, it’s not surprising that people notice the crowding and the need to relieve pressure on the whole transport system,” she said.
The North South Rail Link proposed to run from St Marys via Badgerys Creek Airport to Campbelltown polled relatively strongly – it ranked in the top three for 40 per cent of respondents. The Parramatta light rail was ranked in the top three by 36 per cent.
The West Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link was the most popular road project – it was the top pick for 12 per cent of respondents and ranked in the top three by 34 per cent.
Improving the CBD cycle network was a priority for many residents in the eastern suburbs and inner-west but was only ranked the top priority by 9 per cent overall.
Fewer than half of respondents (47 per cent) said they were satisfied with the public transport system and just 17 per cent think Sydney’s public transport compares well with cities of a similar size.
There was also a high level of discontent with Sydney’s traffic with only one in three saying they were satisfied with the city’s roads. Among respondents from western Sydney the share satisfied with the city’s roads was just 25 per cent.