Urban planning presents an enormous challenge for Sydney’s development industry. In a city that is notorious for its terrible traffic congestion, as Sydney continues to grow and expand, issues surrounding urban density and inefficient public transport infrastructure are only going to multiply.
In hopes of tackling these already pressing issues, the Urban Taskforce has released plans for the urban renewable of the dilapidated Parramatta Road area. The plans promise to convert the area into a ‘liveability corridor’ – with the sustainability of projects prioritised so to assure their long-term success – which will link the city centre and Parramatta to western Sydney.
The plan outlines the redevelopment of 12 major sites along the major road.
As expected, public transport infrastructure will be high on the list. According to Hassell’s Matthew Pullinger, who has been a key member of developmental planning, “transport infrastructure is essential to viable urban renewal and the Taskforce recognises this.”
Pullinger adds that transport links are being discussed that take into account roads as well as heavy, light and metro rail.
The architect says that using Sydney roads more efficiently and transferring some of the traffic onto public transport will play a key part in urbanising this particularly run down and wasted land package.
“Some of the new transport links would take vehicular traffic off the road and others would serve people living along it,” says Pullinger. “The Parramatta Road corridor needs both if it is to become a vital, mixed use urban neighbourhood where people want to live and work.”
The plan has its share of critics, however, some of whom say the plan does not make enough progressive moves. Elizabeth Farrelly of the Sydney Morning Herald has said the plans do not go far enough in tackling the ‘NSW disease’ of traffic congestion.
Furthermore, one design group has called it ‘plagiarism’ of plans they devised over 10 years ago. SydneyCENTRAL claims the new plans are identical to their competition-winning proposal from over a decade ago. Farrelly concurred, saying the former plans from SydneyCENTRAL were ‘pretty much the same idea, only higher, denser and more exciting’ than the Urban Taskforce’s ideas.
These are the first of many conflicts likely to surround the large-scale urban renewal plans. With so many Sydney-siders displeased with the current state of urban land and infrastructure planning, this is a high stakes arena that is sure to take a lot of heat before positive steps in the right direction can be agreed upon.