Metro preferred project report reveals ongoing impacts to Dulwich Hill
1 July 2018
Dulwich Hill residents will still suffer significant noise and travel disruption by the proposed construction of the new Metro line to Bankstown, despite changes made by the NSW Government to reduce its impact.
The question is: will be the pain be worth the gain from a new Metro service?
Below is an analysis of some of the key issues to inform community discussion.
According to the government’s Preferred Infrastructure Report, Dulwich Hill will continue to have the highest number of residents on each precinct along the line with noise impacts.
According to the report, 126 ‘noise receivers’ – that is residents’ homes - in Dulwich Hill are likely to be given night-time alternative accommodation (such as in a hotel) during the project’s life during periods of 24/7 construction works. This is down from 191 receivers anticipated requiring alternative accommodation under the original plans exhibited in September last year.
Residents in streets such as Bedford, Ewart, School, Wilga, Kays, The Parade and Challis will be among those likely to be offered alternative accommodation because of excessive noise impacts.
Noise monitoring will happen at the homes of another 186 Dulwich Hill receivers, down from 334 in the original environmental impact statement.
Here is a map showing the residents who will be offered monitoring and alternative accommodation:
Yellow shows residents who will be offered alternative accommodation, blue shows residents whose homes will be given noise monitoring
However, the preferred project report indicates that the NSW Government will still only be offering alternative accommodation if a resident suffers night-time noise impacts a full 30 decibels over background noise.
The Save Dully Action Group last year requested that all residents who suffer potential sleep disturbance be offered alternative accommodation (which is 15 decibels above background noise level) but this was denied.
Noise impacts though are being generally reduced along the corridor because of moves by Transport for NSW to retain existing tracks, platforms and bridges.
This differs to the approach outlined in the environmental impact statement (EIS) which was exhibited last year, which was proposing major works to bridges and platforms, caused by track reconstruction and realignments.
The preferred project report also states there are going to be less closures of the Sydney Trains Bankstown line, while the new Metro line is built – although the impacts on commuters will still be significant.
Instead of a six-week line closure each year from 2019 to 2024, there will now be only a two week closure during the Christmas school holidays.
However, there will still be a tortuous major final line closure of up to six months in 2024, along with additional weekend closures and individual station closures for up to two months.
The preferred project report doesn’t indicate how commuters will offered alternative transport during these periods, however it is likely that Dulwich Hill commuters will be shuffled to Sydenham on buses or on to the light rail line.
The retention of existing tracks also means that Transport for NSW will no longer be building a cycling and walking path along the Metro.
Given Transport for NSW will no longer be straightening Dulwich Hill platform, it is now proposing to retain the 1935 historic wooden overhead booking office, which will continue to be used as a station entrance. This is an improved heritage outcome.
It will also be constructing a new station entrance from Bedford Crescent, which will allow people to more easily interchange with the light rail (and importantly a lift directly to the train platform). The exact design of this piece of infrastructure is yet to be confirmed.
However, the concept of a station entrance from the Ewart Lane commuter carpark is now no longer confirmed and subject to “future design”.
Overall Metro advantages and disadvantages
While the Metro will deliver high-frequency services in the corridor, it will also mean Bankstown Line commuters will lose direct access to City Circle stations and also Metro trains will have less seats than existing Sydney Trains services.
Comments on the Preferred Infrastructure Report are due by 18 July. More information is available at http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=8256