In response to Baird’s announcement today on the Mona Vale Bus Rapid Transport, we are reminded of the large body of work done in this area during the 90′s and favouring rapid rail over bus rapid transport.
It is more than 20 years ago that Conybeare Morrison architects, urban planners and designers teamed up with a ‘consultant team’ proposing a light train line to serve the Warringah Peninsula. This line connected the Sydney CBD to Mona Vale via French’s Forest. The limited stops commuter service traversed this journey in approximately 25 mintues.
The key feature of this scheme, which had a 1993 capital cost of $600m was its unique approach to funding. This involved the concurrent redevelopment of four town centres where public lands were aggregated along the route – “Urban Activation Precincts” in today’s terms. This ensured that the infrastructure spend was well covered by the project itself.
The line’s running costs, no longer a project burden, were accounted through fares and charges. Perhaps it is time to open up the lower drawers of Sydney’s Vision filing cabinet: the route remains an option for consideration now that the NSW Government is re-evaluating a project to bring proper public transport to this forgotten sector of Sydney.