By TILEAH DOBSON
The Friends of Erskineville (FoE) community group, with the support of other local community groups, is calling for a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists between Carriageworks and South Eveleigh, to provide greater connectivity between neighbourhoods on both sides of the railway lines.
The proposed bridge would connect residents, students and workers in Darlington, Chippendale and the University of Sydney on one side with those in Erskineville, Alexandria, Redfern and Waterloo on the other.
While the proposed bridge has been mooted for a couple of decades, it gained traction recently with the privatisation of the Australian Technology Park and tens of thousands of Commonwealth Bank workers moving into the area.
President of Friends of Erskineville, Andrew Chuter, spoke with the Sentinel about the current campaign.
“Both the number of residents and the number of workers in the area are growing rapidly and more and more people are walking and cycling in the area. There is a separated cycleway around most of the corridor from Redfern to Erskineville but no way to get across between Darlington and Alexandria without going all the way around,” he said.
“Long ago there was a narrow underpass tunnel built and an overbridge but the first is disused and the latter was removed.
“Now with the Waterloo Metro station under construction, there will be thousands of students daily trekking from the new station to Sydney University and it would save 15 minutes if a bridge was built.”
Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney, Jess Scully, has voiced her support for the campaign.
“We support community groups in calling for a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the rail line near Carriageworks. Improved connectivity between the station, university and North and South Eveleigh is crucially important. Transport for NSW should seriously consider the proposal as part of its plans for North Eveleigh renewal,” Scully said.
Newtown resident and Labor Councillor Linda Scott also shared her support for the proposed bridge.
“As both a City of Sydney Councillor and a long-time resident I support a new footbridge being built that would connect not only North and South Eveleigh but communities from Camperdown to Alexandria,” Scott told the Sentinel.
“I’m committed to ensuring that Sydney has more active transport options so we can be a 20-minute City for the future.”
FoE has written to the new Sydney University Vice-Chancellor, Mark Scott, asking for his support on the campaign but has yet to receive a response. FoE has also sought out meetings with Transport for NSW but has stated no concrete plans have been made.
The Sentinel reached out to Transport for NSW and received a response from a spokesperson.
“The NSW Government is transforming the Redfern North Eveleigh Precinct into a great new place for Sydney. The project will support the delivery of Australia’s biggest technology and innovation hub, known as Tech Central,” the Transport for NSW spokesperson told the Sentinel.
“Redfern North Eveleigh renewal has commenced with the upgrade of Redfern Station to improve the station’s accessibility, including a new concourse at the southern end of the station that creates new pedestrian and cycling links.
“Transport for NSW is investigating the feasibility of a direct pedestrian and cycling link from North to South Eveleigh across the rail corridor. More information will be available in future phases of the project.”
For more information about the FoE campaign or to add your signature to the petition, visit https://actionnetwork.org/letters/build-a-bridge.
Tileah Dobson is the news editor of the Sydney Sentinel.