So, here is a little information about the Light Rail to Randwick and why we are so interested and also, to some degree, concerned…
First of all: What is the problem?
There is a general lack of awareness surrounding the issue of implementing this light rail system, even concerning the people that will be affected should this proposal be accepted or denied. This can be clearly seen by the mediocre amount of responses on the forums of the official website dedicated to this issue, http://www.lightrailtorandwick.com.au/, set up by the Randwick City Council, University of NSW, and the Australian Turf Club. There is hardly any public debate and it is also an indicator that the current efforts to provide attention and exposure to this issue are not enough.
Based on an online survey conducted by us for UNSW students, only 50% of respondents know of or have heard about the light rail proposal plan, but when asked to clarify further, only 66% of these respondents know what the plan is actually about (refer to section 2.0 in the Appendix).
To make a decision on whether to support or oppose such a proposal requires one to be informed about it. We are a group of university students from UNSW who are in support of the implementation of the Randwick light rail system and are aiming to raise awareness of the issue to university students at UNSW specifically. We do not feel that the website dedicated to the Randwick light rail system at http://www.lightrailtorandwick.com.au provides enough attention and exposure nor is it able to generate substantial public debate and participation. There is also no official outlet for participation or discussion targeted to UNSW students other than the current generic official website.
The level of community support for the light rail proposal also seems to be low, judging from the limited public forum discussion on the official website (refer to section 1.0 in the Appendix). However, as the sample size of this discussion is small (a mere 196 comments as of 11th September 2011), it is difficult to ascertain the actual consensus of the Randwick community or students from UNSW without more participation from the public. Thus, the underlying problem is that there is a lack of awareness, exposure, as well as feedback and participation, from the Randwick public and UNSW students regarding the proposal of a light rail public transport system connecting Randwick to the City.
Second: How do we feel about the implication of the Light Rail to Randwick??
As a fellow commuter driving in and out of UNSW approximately four days a week to attend my usual studies requires me to drive for almost an hour from my place of residence. Yes I live almost interstate (French’s Forest), but for me, I was pleased to hear something about Randwick aiming to improve transport to UNSW for regular commuters…. HOWEVER, and this is a BIG HOWEVER…. the Light Rail to Randwick only accommodates for a limited route to and from the campus. And by limited I mean from Flinders Street to the University. Such proposed routes would allow me to ride to campus if I needed, because the light rail therefore applies to a select few lucky who reside near Surry Hills, Moore Park or any similar near city locations.
For me, the premise of a light rail is nearly superfluous. Buses are plentiful and car traffic is already a problem. So, why eradicate one transit lane for vehicles for a light rail that wont necessarily provide better ease for commuters who must travel such a short distance……….? Something to ponder…..